What is OD? Defining the practice and profession of Organisational Development

There was a fascinating discussion during the first meeting of the St Albans AMED group about what connected us as OD practitioners. For one thing, we mostly didn't call ourselves OD practitioners, but felt we might be thought of in that way from time to time.

When we discussed what OD was, I certainly recognised some of the practices.

It was said:

When organisations have complex, intangible problems that are difficult to articulate, those problems belong to OD.

You are in OD if:
• You find your intervention goes beyond a simple training course and starts to spread elsewhere in the organisation
• You are an internal HR consultant and get yourself promoted to deal with anything that takes an organisational approach
• You are in an internal HR team that goes beyond personnel and into strategy

OD is:
• An art, in which skilled practitioners are facilitators to the whole organisation
• A spurious term invented by academics to sell books
• Connecting initiatives to the organisational strategy

OD practitioners:
• Help organisations to adapt to their changing environment and mitigate the effects of those changes
• Help task-focused people to see the bigger picture and make decisions on how better to relate to their environment
• Are those who are hired by the client to be blamed when things don’t work out, allowing clients to step away from problems

You might also be practising OD if you:
• Use diagnostic or analytic tools as a lead-in to further work
• Are unsure who to talk to next in the organisation, but you suspect it isn’t your immediate client
• Notice that your client organisation is distinctive and you have to do something different here

If you offer an intangible service that could be called OD, the customer may still fix on something tangible even if it’s not the most important part of the offer.

Talking about OD is distinctive from doing OD.

Views: 52

Add a Comment

You need to be a member of The AMED Network to add comments!

Join The AMED Network

Comment by David F McAra on September 14, 2009 at 0:37
Anyone know The Organization Development Institute? Can appear a little dated but it's an interesting body.

Latest Activity

2 events by AMED Admin were featured

How do we collaborate to make a difference? with Rowena Davis at Roots and Shoots

April 4, 2019 from 1:45pm to 4:30pm
Feb 13
An event by Bob MacKenzie was featured

Discovering your unique purpose and talent through Core Process, with Nick Heap at Roots and Shoots, Lambeth

April 26, 2019 from 1:15pm to 4:30pm
Jan 30
Bob MacKenzie posted an event

Discovering your unique purpose and talent through Core Process, with Nick Heap at Roots and Shoots, Lambeth

April 26, 2019 from 1:15pm to 4:30pm
Jan 30
An event by AMED Admin was featured
Jan 23

O&P News

O&P back issues now for sale. 

We have a rich library of O&P issues and individual articles in electronic format going back to 1994, just waiting for you. Copy of order form for back issues of e-O&P in MS Word format.


Make sure you can reach the Full AMED Members' page or the O&P Subscribers' page to download the latest edition.

Not yet a member or subscriber?
Click here for synopses of recent editions.

© 2019   Created by AMED Admin.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service