Cheung-Judge, M. (2012), "Organization Development – a Practitioners Guide for OD and HR", Human Resource Management International Digest, Vol. 20 No. 1. https://doi.org/10.1108/hrmid.2012.04420aaa.017Download as .RIS
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Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Organization Development – a Practitioners Guide for OD and HR
Article Type: Suggested reading From: Human Resource Management International Digest, Volume 20, Issue 1
Mee-Yan Cheung-Judge and Linda HolbecheKogan Page2011ISBN: 9780749460945
Although Organization Development – a Practitioner’s Guide for OD and HR most obviously targets OD and HR specialists, it could also be useful for any manager interested in change. It describes the kind of help that OD consultants can offer and the strategic role of HR in supporting OD initiatives.
Part 1, written by Mee-Yan Cheung-Judge, covers the development of OD as a specialism and how the constituent parts of an OD intervention fit together. Part 2, by Linda Holbeche, is a study of how OD and HR can work effectively together.
The history of OD takes us through the key texts and key people that built up the body of knowledge and the system of working that became known as organizational development. The rest of the first section of the book is the OD practitioner guide, with a chapter on the four phases of the OD cycle – the entry and contracting phase, the diagnostic phase, the intervention phase and finally the evaluation phase.
There are explanations of the competencies and skills required by practitioners. These can be divided into the work OD consultants need to do themselves, and the work they need to be able to do with others. The use of “self as instrument” is explained in some detail and is clearly one of the key competences in Mee-Yan Cheung-Judge’s toolbag.
The diagnostic phase includes lots of things that the OD consultant might need to take into account. This would be useful reading for any consultant planning work with a new client.
The intervention phase contains a list of tasks and accompanying OD practitioner skills, and a table showing how a typical presentation session can be divided into processes for gaining participant engagement.
The evaluation phase takes the reader through techniques that OD consultants can use for their own purposes and to help the organization to understand the effectiveness of OD interventions, including formulae for calculating the return on investment.
The first half of the book ends with a chapter on power and politics in organizational development. Given that this is the area where many OD specialists come unstuck, this is a good overview of the kind of things a consultant should take into account and watch out for.
The second part starts with a chapter on organizational design, a topic which is often done exclusively by senior leaders, but fits within the remit of strategic HR. This and the subsequent chapter – on organizational culture – cover topics that HR specialists have not always found easy to address, but which are of great interest to organizational developers. Linda Holbeche also provides a couple of case studies of organizations that have undertaken successful culture-change programs. The chapter concludes with a comprehensive list of things to do in order to lead culture change.
There then follows a chapter on managing transformational change. This looks at why change programs fail. These are grouped into three categories – the content of the change, the process of change and the people aspects of change. It is the people aspects that are most often overlooked by senior managers, but the ones where adept HR specialists and OD consultants (internal or external) are most likely to make an effective contribution. This is an area where the author feels it is crucial that HR lead from the front. The chapter contains a list of things that HR needs to do. Quite how people in HR will respond to the style of this list is difficult to predict, but it will probably be heartening reading to those in OD who would like a more effective OD role for their HR colleagues.
The final chapter is on developing effective leadership. This is the culmination of the OD processes that the book has provided the background for, and gives examples of how OD interventions have helped organizational development through encouraging and building effective leadership.
In all, Mee-Yan Cheung-Judge and Linda Holbeche have done a good job in creating a book that gives the background to, and the practice of, organizational development. The first part has a mainly historical and descriptive feel to it, while the second part has more of a campaigning style.
As a textbook and reference book for people interested in OD, this book is good value, and worthy of a place on the practitioner’s bookshelf.
Reviewed by Pete Sayers, formerly of the University of Bradford, UK.
A longer version of this review appeared in Industrial and Commercial Training, Vol. 43 No. 4, 2011.