Show Summary Details

Page of

Printed from Oxford Research Encyclopedias, Psychology. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 07 October 2022

Organization Developmentlocked

Organization Developmentlocked

  • W. Warner BurkeW. Warner BurkeTeachers College, Columbia University


Organization development (OD) is a process of planned change that involves an entire organization with a particular focus on the organization’s culture and leadership. OD has the dual purpose of first to help the leadership and management of the organization address a particular need for change such as dealing with new technology, if a business confronting the competition in the industry, delivery of services more effectively if involved in the world of healthcare, reducing bureaucracy if a government institution, improving the quality of food and service if a restaurant chain, or providing an increase in safety and equity in the enforcement of the law if in the legal system, to name some examples. The second purpose of OD is to change an organization in the direction of increased involvement of organizational members in decision making that directly affects them in their daily work. This second purpose helps to strengthen organizational members’ commitment to the first purpose.

OD is based on open system theory and a particular set of values. Regarding theory, we begin with the organization’s external environment, for example, its competition, and its impact, input, on the organization, the consequences of that impact on the organization, throughput, followed by what management does in dealing with the competition, output, completing the theoretical cycle of input-throughput-output followed by a continuation of the cycle. With respect to values, a premium is placed on humanism, participation, collaboration, growth, and development. The OD practitioner intervenes in the organization with suggestions for organizational members' involvement, but the bulk of the practitioner’s work time is devoted to diagnosis and providing feedback to management accordingly.


  • Organizational and Institutional Psychology

You do not currently have access to this article


Please login to access the full content.


Access to the full content requires a subscription