Organizational Development Psychology
Richard Carson


Organizational Development Quotes

It is not the strongest of the species that survives nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change. – Charles Darwin (1859)

There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things. - Niccolo Machiavelli (1532)

If you want to make enemies, try to change something. - Woodrow Wilson, 28th U.S. president


Organizational Development is:

1.  The system-wide application and transfer of behavioral science knowledge to the planned development, improvement, and reinforcement of strategic instructions, and processes that lead to organizational effectiveness.

2.  An effort to deal with or initiate change in organizational culture through Action Research (AR).
   Manifest a normative-reeducative educational philosophy because it encourages individuals and groups to reexamine core values, beliefs, and operating assumptions about themselves, other people, and the way their organizations function.
    A  social technology that helps human systems remain competitive in an era where organizational operating domains are turbulent and all labor systems are wide open to the forces of change.

3. Planned, long-range, involves a change agent or agents, focuses on organizational processes, tasks, and structures; addresses the development of individuals as well as organizations; and uses behavioral science techniques to generate valid data for both individual and organizational decisions.

4.  A deliberately planned effort to increase an organization's relevance and viability.
   Referred to as, future readiness to meet change, thus a systemic learning and development strategy intended to change the basics of beliefs, attitudes and relevance of values, and structure of the current organization to better absorb disruptive technologies, shrinking or exploding market opportunities and ensuing challenges and chaos.
   The framework for a change process designed to lead to desirable positive impact to all stakeholders and the environment.
   Can design interventions with application of several multidisciplinary methods and research besides traditional OD approaches.

5. A long-term effort led and supported by top management, to improve an organization's visioning, empowerment, learning, and problem-solving processes, through an ongoing, collaborative management of organizational culture-with special emphasis on the consultant-facilitator role and the theory and technology of applied behavioral science, including participant action research.


The three systems that must be integrated fitting one into another are Policy Governance, Strategic Planning and Performance Management.
Board Policy - is the single most important job of any governing body. When developing policy, elected officials should focus on these four areas:  1) policies that direct the governing body; 2) policies that direct the City Administrator; 3) policies that provide boundaries within which all staff activity and decision-making will take place and be monitored; and 4 policies that direct the city's strategic planning process.

Strategic Planning – is a process that puts frontline employees, management and council on one page around common goals and objectives.  Strategic planning should not be an annual goal setting event. It should begin with councilors setting broad, organizational goals that will serve the city for many years. Then, each year, the City Administrator and staff create an Annual Performance Plan that demonstrates to council how the city intends to achieve the broader goals established through policy. The Annual Performance Plan encourages teamwork and establishes clear targets for what needs to be accomplished. 

Performance Management – is closely aligned with the Annual Performance Plan and the broader goals set by council. There is a connection between each person's daily contribution and the over all direction set by the governing board. Progress is monitored and results get measured. Performance reviews depart from the traditional format and focus on past accomplishments, core competencies, and planning for next year! The Performance Management System is about accountability, excellence and measurable results. © 2004 Caryn Tilton Consulting, LLC
My personal and professional journey brought me to this! I started out wanting to be an archaeologist, then an architect, then an urban planner, then a writer and government manager. Throughout it all, I was lucky enough to never know what I wanted to be when I grew up. My children always asked me the same question on a road trip. " Are were there yet?" The answer is NO. There is no finish line ino yur liut we do get there.

The good news is that my 35 years of work experience in public administration brought me to my interest in public sector organizational development. I started this journey in high school (1961) when I heard
John F. Kennedy say “And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.” That was good advice and I took it.

You can also call this organizational I/O, organizational sociology or OCM
These are a few of my most recent organizational audits:

Organizational Development Report for OODN (CCP 2014)

Organizational Development in the Public Sector (WSU 2013)

Solano County, California Organizational Audit (Citygate 2010)



The Socratic Debate - the primary problem is that organizational development, as an academic and professional field, has done a poor job of defining itself. When I started as a practitioner and academic, I was shocked to find out that people in human resources and training and development thought OD was some offshoot. To me it was like saying the sun revolved around the earth. I admit my personal and professional bias is that sociology, I/O psychology, anthropology, business management, political science, human resources, training and development, strategic planning and performance measurement are all subsets of organizational development. The research question, as a doctorate student, is what are the basically authentic and actionable elements of civilization? But I am very biased. We can argue all day long about the genesis of any academic field. These days I work with all these academic professionals. It is the proverbial chicken-and-egg question. The field of urban planning found a similar dilemma in the academic battle with architecture and engineering.  I would argue that they are all professional equals.
A Talk with Nicholas Taleb - I am always the inquisite human being -- not just academic or practitoner. -- so I asked a question of Nicolas Taleb. The man of all things organanizationally developed. And what he told me is all well documented on my correspondence with him. In this case it was is my review of his book The Black Swan called The Black Swan - A Case Study.

The Polymatheia Project... this is an experimental project I am working on as part of my doctorate. It is a work in progress. You can add to it, ask me about it, but don't be too critical... yet. Wait for it! As my boys used to ask "Are we there yet." And as my girls said, "You get what you get and you don't throw a fit." My advice?  Listen to the girls.
You need to have a plan to start with. Organizational development is not  entirely an improv session at the local comedy club. Even though it may feel like it at times.
This is new. These are the funniest videos I have collected on organizational development, I/O psychology and human resources. I have sat in graduate university classes and these are amazing. If you don't laugh, then you get your money back. Or at least you will listen to Alice's Restraurant as punishment for your not getting it.