The Organization Development program operates on a cohort model, with students moving together through the program as a learning community. The courses have a specific sequence designed to build skills and student confidence.

Each cohort group of students takes all classes in the same sequence. The first semester emphasizes core skills and knowledge. In the second semester teams of students apply that knowledge in a supervised consulting engagement. A class on interpersonal and group process dynamics spans the first and second semesters. In the third and fourth semesters, students participate in classes focusing on advanced theory and practice, and carry out professional practice work.

Organization development is not a standardized field of study, and every program is unique. Our strengths are our emphasis on field experience and mentoring. We were featured as an exemplary program in a recent issue of Vision/Action, the Journal of the Bay Area OD Network, because of these characteristics. We also have a strong emphasis on personal awareness and interpersonal competence as a core of effective professional work and leadership.

Training is aimed at increasing the ability of individuals to perform job-related functions. It is often part of an OD project. But not all problems are solved by training. Often people know how to do the work, but they don't do what they know well. Other factors get in the way, such as work flow, technology, organizational structure, the reward system, and the corporate culture. OD addresses these as well.

Again, these terms are not universally defined. OD consultants often work with managers (and others), so they function as management consultants. Their work often results in improved management systems and methods, as well as other changes.

But there are many management consultants, business consultants, and others, whose orientation and methods are very different from ones used in OD. They use a "doctor-patient" approach, in which the client tells them what the problem is, and the consultant performs some kind of analysis, delivers recommendations, and leaves.

None of the classes in this program focus primarily on the business aspect of organizations--such as accounting, finance, or marketing. That is more typical of an MBA program. Our goal is developing understanding and skill in guiding self-directed change in organizational settings, including businesses, non-profit organizations, schools, hospitals, etc. We do require a foundational understanding of the business aspect of organizations through employment experience and course work as a prerequisite for admission.

Human Resources is primarily about managing the recruitment, selection, training, and compensation of employees. Organization Development is about leading whole organizations in self-managed improvement areas such as strategic change, competitive effectiveness, innovation products technology, responsiveness to changing markets social environments, etc.


Subscribe to RSS - Curriculum