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The professionalization of organization development: A status report and look to the future

Research in Organizational Change and Development

ISBN: 978-0-76230-627-5, eISBN: 978-1-84950-041-8

ISSN: 0897-3016

Publication date: 3 February 2000


The chapter asks whether organization development (OD) should be professionalized and submits for consideration several ideas relating to professionalism, professionalization, and organization development. First, we provide an overview of the issues related to professionalization and organization development. Next, we examine three meanings attributed to professionalism and the process of professionalization. We also explore the advantages of professionalism for individual practitioners, clients, organizations, and society, and the relationship between professions, the state, and capitalism. We use the medical profession as an illustration of each of the foregoing concepts. In the second portion of the chapter, we explore the changing focus of organization development practice toward strategic thinking and whole-system change, and discuss the current status of organization development in terms of its identity, professionalization, and professionalism. We examine potential action steps for the future of organization development, including clarification of its body of knowledge, and the use of professional liability insurance as a means to increase professionalism.


Weidner, C.K. and Kulick, O.A. (2000), "The professionalization of organization development: A status report and look to the future", Research in Organizational Change and Development (Research in Organizational Change and Development, Vol. 12), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 319-371.



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