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Organizational Development English Library

O.D. Institute Newsletter

 December 2005




Don W. Cole, RODC DonWCole@AOL.COM

 In 1981 I thought it would be great if we could build the field of Organization Development into a profession. I was on the Board of the OD Network at the time. I asked them if they would be interested in helping and they said they would not be interested. So, I decided to do it myself with help from The O.D. Institute.
If O.D. wants to be a profession it has to have a code of ethics. So, I asked Dr. Bill Gellermann in the fall of 1981 if he would like to help write a code of ethics for the field of O.D. He said he would. He has done a terrific job interviewing hundreds of people around the world writing and re-writing what became “The International O.D. Code of Ethics”. It is based on comments from key O.D. people from all over the world. Since 1983 The O.D. Institute has been providing its members with The International O.D. Code of Ethics, which has now been translated into Russian, Polish, German, Spanish and Romanian. The OD Network likes to think of itself as providing leadership to the field of O.D. but after 20 years, it has still not yet adopted The International O.D. Code of Ethics for use by its members.
If O.D. wants to be a profession it has to have a unique body of knowledge and skill. So, in 1983 I asked Roland Sullivan, RODP if he would like to write “A Statement on the Knowledge and Skill Necessary for Competence in O.D.”. He said he would and he has done a terrific job of canvassing hundreds O.D. practitioners and O.D. academics all around the world for their comments and suggestions. Every year the most recent revisions have been published in The International Registry of O.D. Professional and O.D. Handbook.

If O.D. wants to be a profession there has to be some boundaries around the field. Not everyone who has attends a weekend workshop should be qualified to do O.D. So, I established some criteria for becoming a Registered O.D. Professional (RODP) and Registered O.D. Consultant (RODC). In 1984 I asked Dr. Warner Burke if he would develop for us a written test.
O.D. cannot be a profession if the field consists of numerous little tribal groups each with its own value system and each with its own way of doing things. In order to keep from re-inventing the wheel over and over again, we need to be in contact with one another. The O.D. Institute sends its monthly newsletter to every O.D. network in the world that would like to exchange their mailings with us. In addition to a monthly newsletter, four times a year we publish The Organization Development Journal. At about 120 pages per copy, it has now become the most frequently cited O.D. publication in the world. We have published Organization Development: A Straightforward Reference Guide for Executives Seeking To Improve Their Organizations as a marketing tool for O.D. Practitioners and Improving Profits Through O.D. which provides a method for computing the bottom line dollar return on an O.D. investment. 

 If you would like to help build the field of O.D. into a profession, we would welcome your participation determine if people applying to use the initials RODC after their name had certain basic O.D. knowledge. This test was later revised and brought up to date by Dr. Donald VanEynde, RODC.
If O.D. wants to be professions there have to be learning programs where certain basic knowledge and skill can be learned. I asked Dr. Terry Armstrong, RODC if he would like to develop Criteria for the Accreditation of OD/OB Academic programs. He has done a terrific job. We began accrediting OD/OB academic programs in 1990 and we have now started re-accrediting OD/OB programs that were accredited more than 5 years ago. Dr. Arthur Freedman, RODC has taken over this very important task. We have started gathering information on whether OD/OB academic programs are teaching the full range of skills necessary to be competent in OD/OB or only “entry level” skills which are easier to teach.

 If O.D. wants to be a profession, we must do something more than just make more money for our members. So, The O.D. Institute has been active in going to world trouble spots of see if O.D. could help. We went to the front lines during the war in Nicaragua. We went to Poland and Russia when they were under Communism. We went to South Africa during the apartheid years. We met with the parties to the conflict on Cyprus. We visited the front lines in Croatia during that war. We met with people in Northern Ireland to see if O.D. might be helpful in some way with their troubles. You will find more details on our homepage at: or you can contact The O.D. Institute at:

Peter Drucker Leaves a Legacy to Management & OD

Terry Armstrong, RODC

Everyone reading this newsletter knows by now that Peter Drucker has passed away at 95.  It’s hard to think where the field of modern management would be without his influence.  If he had done nothing more than developed the concept of MBO he would have been a major contributor to OD.  How many of the early OD Programs didn’t use some version of MBO?  Probably very few explicitly called it MBO but many of Drucker's early concepts became part and partial of both OD and management.  His belief that an organization should articulate a clear purpose is now an accepted truth and many agree with his concern for specific measurable goals.  His keen ability to see the tribal characteristics of organizations along with his philosophical probing assumptions and cherished beliefs has now become standard OD practice.

Peter Drucker had clear concern for what has come to be known as human values.  His concern for all workers as well as management has become a central core of OD.  Peter never wrote for the Organization Development Journal nor attended one of the O.D. Institute’s meetings.  He wasn’t actually a practitioner or scholar.  He considered himself simply a writer.  Yet, his influence has been felt in and outside of academia.   I remember mentioning Peter Drucker back in the early seventies and an academic colleague questioned why I bothered reading him.  At that time he just wasn’t seen as an academic.  Just a few years ago he was the Keynote speaker at the Academy of Management’s Annual Meeting.

Professor, senior counsel to numerous corporations, and non-profit firms, writer and modern management philosopher Peter Drucker left his mark on both management and OD.  A humble man with a strong Austrian accent he changed the management and OD landscape.





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