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Practicing Organization Development: A Guide for Leading Change: A Third Edition by Arielle Sullivan, Roland L. Sullivan, Jacqueline M. Stavros, William J. Rothwell

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DEFINING GESTALT

Oddly, the most difficult aspect of Gestalt OD theory has been to translate the word Gestalt from German to English as well as from the various theoretical uses in Gestalt psychology, Gestalt therapy, and Gestalt OD. Ehrenfels, who coined the word in the 1890s, simply referred to Gestalt and form interchangeably. “He insisted that the real essence of any perception was to be found in the Gestalt [in] the immediate experience…. (Pillsbury, 1933, pp. 484-485). Later the Gestalt School noted that “experience [and therefore] all truly characteristic phases or processes of mind were just these gestalten or forms” (Pillsbury, 1933, p. 485). Although this may seem like complex and potentially circular thinking, the gist of Gestalt ...

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