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Review of FOD /Psychology of

Planned Change theories

What is OD?
(some definitions)

• OD is an effort (1) planned, (2) organization-wide, and (3)

managed from the top, to (4) increase organization
effectiveness and health through (5) planned interventions in
the organization’s “processes,” using behavioral science
knowledge (Beckhard)

• OD is a planned process of change in an organization’s

culture through the utilizations of behavioral science
technology, research, and theory (Burke)
What is OD?
(some definitions)

• OD is a system-wide process of data collection, diagnosis, action

planning, intervention, and evaluation aimed at
(1) enhancing congruence among organizational structure, process,
strategy, people, and culture
(2) developing new and creative organizational solutions; and
(3) developing the organization’s self-renewing capacity. It occurs
through the collaboration of organizational members working with
a change agent using behavioral science theory, research, and
technology. (Beer)
What is OD?
(some definitions)

According to French and Bell (1999), these are the common

themes among definitions:
• OD applies behavioral science to achieve planned change
• Target of change is total organization or system
• Goals are increased organizational effectiveness and
individual development
5 Core Theoretical Bases that Shape OD practices
(Cheung-Judge, 2011)

What is the implication of these • Berger
• Wheatley theories in OD Intervention?
• Black • Vygotsky
• Morgan • Watkin
• Cooperrider

• Von Bertalanffy
• Lewin
Systems Theory
• In order to study and understand how systems operate,
we have to see them in relation to each other
• “System as a set of elements standing in interaction” (Von
Bertalanffy, 1956)
• May be individuals, units, division, organization

• One of the most powerful conceptual tools for

understanding the dynamics of organizations and
organizational change (French & Bell, 1999)
Action Research Theory
• Cornerstone of OD; underlying both the theory and practice
of the field
• “no action without research; no research without action”
• Iterative, cyclical four-step process



Action taking
Change Theories (Lewin)
 Field Theory
 b = f(P,E)
 Group Dynamics
 “forces operating within a group”
 foundation for Group Process
 Three-step model of Change

Unfreezing Movement Refreezing

Social Constructionism Theory
All reality is socially constructed
 Stresses the importance of discovering how people make sense of the world,
not what the world is
 There are multiple realities, and what people focus on becomes their reality
Origins of this work by Mead (1934) and Vygotsky (1930’s)
Complexity Theories
• Pascale et al (2000)
“We are entering another scientific renaissance… also known as
“complexity science,” this work grapples with the mysteries of life itself, and is
propelled forward by the confluence of three streams of inquiry: 1) breakthrough
discoveries in life sciences eg biology, medicine, ecology; 2) insights of the social
sciences eg sociology, psychology, economics and 3) new developments in the
hard science (for example, physics, mathematics and IT). The resulting work has
revealed exciting insights into life and had opened up new avenues for
• Holds that leaders and change agents need to accept that they cannot manage change. All they
can do is to support the organization to move towards the “edge of chaos” and self-manage
their change journey.
OD Process:
General Model of Planned Change

Entering &

Evaluating &
Institutionalizing Diagnosing

Planning &
Where is intervention
housed in this model?
OD Interventions
Task and skills required in the intervention phase
Part 1: Part 2:
• Given your previous knowledge and • In your small group, share your
experiences of OD interventions, what is
your definition of an INTERVENTION?
metacards to the small group.
• Come up with one definition of
• Get 3-5 metacards . Please write out 5 INTERVENTION
words or phrases that come to mind in
relation to Intervention.
One word/phrase per metacard.

Activity time: 15 minutes

Definition of Intervention
• The term intervention refers to a set of sequenced planned actions or
events intended to help an organization increase its effectiveness.
Intervention purposely disrupts the status quo; they are deliberate
attempts to change an organization or sub-unit toward a different and
more effective state. (Cummings and Worley, 2001:142)

• An intervention is a change effort or a change process. It implies an

intentional entry into an ongoing system for the purpose of initiating
or introducing change. (Rothwell et al, 1995:11)
Definition of Intervention
• OD interventions are sets of structured activities in which selected
organizational units engage in a sequence of tasks that will lead to
organizational improvement. Interventions are actions taken to
produce desired changes. (French and Bell 1999: 118)

• To intervene is to enter into an ongoing system of relationships, to

come between or among persons, groups, or objects for the purpose
of helping them. There is an important implicit assumption in the
definition that should be made explicit: the system exists
independently of the intervener. (Argyris 1970:15)
Composite Definition of Intervention
• To intervene is to:
• Enter into an existing system;
• With a structured and planned activity;
• Directed at a targeted person, or group, or inter-groups or an
entire organization;
• To disturb the status quo and to shift the system towards a
different state;
• With the goal of improvement and development.
Source: Cheung-Judge & Holbeche, Organization Development: A practitioner’s guide for OD and HR,
2011, p. 82-83
End of session