Chapter OneOrganization Development, Transformation, and Change

William J. Rothwell, Jacqueline M. Stavros, and Roland L. Sullivan

What are organization development (OD), transformation, and change? Why should you care about them? What key terms are associated with OD, transformation, and change? What is systems thinking, and why is it important to OD practitioners? This first chapter addresses these concepts and related questions.

What Are Organization Development, Transformation, and Change?

Organization development (OD) helps people in organizations plan how to deal with changes in their environment. Before we define it more precisely, try the following exercise. Get paper and write down the first thing that comes to your mind in response to each question:

  1. Who should be involved in an organization change effort, and how should they be involved?
  2. Who should decide about how a change effort of any kind is launched? Implemented continually? Evaluated?
  3. What do you believe about change in the world and today's organizations?
  4. What does transformation mean to you?
  5. What do you believe are the biggest challenges facing decision makers in organization change efforts?
  6. What do you believe are your strengths and developmental needs in enacting the role of helper to others in a change effort? What do you do especially well? What do you wish to develop to become a more effective change agent? On what basis do you believe as you do?
  7. When do you believe that a group of people might need ...

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