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The past, present and future of organization development: taking the long view

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

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  • Bernard Burnes
  • Bill Cooke
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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>11/2012
<mark>Journal</mark>Human Relations
Issue number11
Volume65
Number of pages35
Pages (from-to)1395-1429
Publication statusPublished
Early online date4/07/12
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Organization development has been, and arguably still is, the major approach to organizational change across the Western world, and increasingly globally. Despite this, there appears to be a great deal of confusion as to its origins, nature, purpose and durability. This article reviews the ‘long’ history of organization development from its origins in the work of Kurt Lewin in the late 1930s to its current state and future prospects. It chronicles and analyses the major stages, disjunctures and controversies in its history and allows these to be seen in a wider context. The article closes by arguing that, although organization development remains the dominant approach to organizational change, there are significant issues that it must address if it is to achieve the ambitious and progressive social and organizational aims of its founders.