And now for something different! A book recommendation!

Organisation Development, A Practitioner’s Guide for OD and HR by Mee-Yan Cheung-Judge, Linda Holbeche

I have just completed the Post-graduate Certificate in the Psychology of Organisation Development and Change with the British Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development (CIPD), accredited by Herriot Watt University.

To get through this programme, I had to read literally dozens of books and articles about OD.

Having just read this book, I must say that it is the best on this subject that I have come across todate.

It is concise and incisive. It covers the entire OD curriculum with refreshing clarity and authority; and, sums up even the most complex aspects of OD in a layout that is easy to read and aesthetically pleasing. (The one improvement I would suggest is the inclusion of a CD containing summaries, tables and diagrams.)

Apart from being a brilliant addition to the OD/HR literature, this book adds value two ways:

  • It covers topics not normally included in other OD books and does this with great insight, eg, power and politics in organisations; and, the inter-relationship and interdependence between HR and OD.
  • In every chapter, you get the sense that the authors are not only academically able; they are also highly experienced practitioners. It’s like having a textual coach or mentor at your side!

Like all the latest books on this subject, the authors have begun to recognise the post-modern turn by positioning social constructionist methodology as the latest development in OD. While I welcome and applaud this, my caveat is that the range of methodologies stemming from social constructionist thinking and relational models go way beyond the popular approaches cited, eg, Appreciative Inquiry and Future Search. My sense is that an exploration and collation of ‘systemic’ or ‘relational’ approaches would be a very useful next book.

Who should read this book? Well…

  • Obviously, anyone who works in (or thinking about going into) HR or OD.
  • Generally, anyone interested in how organisations work (theory); and, how to organise people (practice) in any human system. I love the word coined by the authors themselves, anyone who want to make their organisation “change-able”.
  • Specifically, anyone who has a leadership role. The book makes a great point that the “real” OD practitioners are the leaders of any organisations wanting to facilitate change.


Oh, and if you do read it, please post your comments about it here. Small and big nuggets welcome!

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