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OD emerged from human relations studies in the 1930s, during which psychologists realized that organizational structures and processes influence worker behavior and motivation. More recently, work on OD has expanded to focus on aligning organizations with their rapidly changing and complex environments through organizational learning, knowledge management and transformation of organizational norms and values. Organization development as a practice involves an ongoing, systematic process of implementing effective organizational change.
OD is known both as a field of applied science focused on understanding and managing organizational change and as a field of scientific study and inquiry. It is interdisciplinary in nature and draws on sociology, psychology, particularly industrial and organizational psychology, and theories of motivation, learning, and personality. Although behavioral science has provided the basic foundation for the study and practice of OD, new and emerging fields of study have made their presence felt. Organization development, as a growing field, is responsive to many new approaches.
OD, although he died before the concept became mainstream in the mid-1950s. MIT, which moved to Michigan after his death.
T-groups and group-based OD emerged. Kurt Lewin played a key role in the evolution of organization development as it is known today.