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Practicing Organization Development: Leading Transformation and Change, 4th Edition by Roland L. Sullivan, Jacqueline M. Stavros, William J. Rothwell

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Chapter SeventeenTransformation and Change in Large Systems

Thomas G. Cummings and Ann E. Feyerherm

Organization development (OD) interventions can help large systems change themselves to keep pace with the challenges of rapidly changing and highly competitive environments. Building an organization capable of change and agility or creating a network organization comprised of different organizations that join together to tackle complex problems are both examples. This chapter describes a coherent set of OD practices for large systems, which generally proceed from assessment and action planning to change implementation. It defines interventions in large systems, describes their characteristics, and presents examples of these change methods.

Defining Transformation and Change in Large Systems

OD interventions in large systems involve changes in organizational entities that are relatively large in size (e.g., members, budget, or sales), such as a large global firm or government agency, one of their major divisions, or an alliance they might enter with other organizations. These change programs include significant transformations in large systems' character and performance. The character of a large system includes the pattern of exchanges between the system and its environment as well as the design of the system's internal structures, processes, and procedures for producing products or services. The performance of a large system concerns how effective and efficient those outcomes ...

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