In a series of articles in the journal in Autumn last year, aspects of organisation development were explored. These included ‘The Role of Organisation Theory’, ‘Intervention and the Management Trainer’, ‘Approaches to Organisation Analysis’, ‘The Contribution of Action Research’ — all relevant articles, helping us to understand more of the dynamics of organisation development. In this article, however, I wish to set out one example of intervention, warts and all, to highlight some of the difficulties experienced in actually conducting an OD review, paying particular attention to some of the problems inherent in the training officer's role on such occasions. It involves the preparation for and conduct of an organisation review workshop for a large local authority Social Services Department. I intend to take the reader through the pre‐workshop activity and thereafter to look at events during the workshop. As a lecturer/consultant in organisation development, I am often confronted with the phrase ‘It's all right in theory, but…’. Here, I wish to concentrate on the ‘buts’ and, where appropriate, indicate some ways in which I counteracted these in an actual situation.
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