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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 Twenty-Two

Exploring the Relationship between Organization Development and Change Management

Tim Creasey, David W. Jamieson, William J. Rothwell, and Gail Severini

In the past decade, change management has emerged and grown significantly. We all recognize the acceleration of continuous change, increased need for change implementation help, and generally poor results across many change approaches. However, why change management? This chapter explores the dynamics between the two fields of organization development (OD) and change management (CM).

As often happens with many emergent groups, they tend to create new identities, highlight their differentiation, create separate associations, and find fault with closely related fields. CM advocates often describe OD as:

  • Too high-level, conceptual, soft, and touchy feely
  • Not pragmatic enough
  • Does not pay enough attention to on-the-ground implementation
  • Too disconnected from delivering real traction/ROI

While OD advocates often describe CM as:

  • Just a rebranding of what we have been doing and on the more critical side
  • Too mechanical and too focused on tools
  • Too structured and “one size fits all”
  • Too focused on the project and not enough on the people and the system

We came together to explore the differences and similarities in the two fields. We began by acknowledging that our unique perspectives, as shaped by our deep individual experiences and scholarship, probably led us into biases. This realization liberated us to speak ...

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