3. Where Did Organization Development Come From?

Evolution is a better term than birth to characterize the beginnings of organization development (OD) as a singular event. This chapter thus traces the evolution of OD from its forerunners and selected theoretical roots.

Before OD

Even in evolution, we must start somewhere. There was no “big bang” or “blessed event” in OD, but considering three forerunners or precursors will help us to understand the beginnings; that is, where OD came from. These three precursors are sensitivity training, sociotechnical systems, and survey feedback.

Sensitivity Training

From a historical perspective, it would be interesting to know how many events, inventions, and innovations that occurred around 1946 had lasting ...

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