How I Became an OD Guy

Recently, someone asked me how I got into the organization development field?

In thinking about it for a few weeks, I'm realizing that it's a multi-part story. So here is Part 1.

Though I didn't quite realize it at the time, I studied OD when I was an undergraduate at Rutgers (1973-77) in a major called Human Communication which encompassed such topics as . . .

- organization development (especially Schmuck and Runkel's handbook)

- communication theory (e.g. B.Ruben, H.Lasswell, Schramm, Shannon & Weaver, Weiner, McLuhan)

- general systems (von Bertalanfy)

- general semantics (Korzybski, Wendell Johnson)

- organizational and group dynamics (e.g. Bennis, Berlew, Schein, Steele, Gibb, Dyer)

- mass communication

- interpersonal interaction

- therapeutic relationships (e.g. Carl Rogers, Rothlisberger)

- non-verbal communication (Mehrabian)

- commmunication effectiveness

- persuasion (including influence, power, negotiation, and selling)

- change (Paul Watzlawick, Kurt Lewin)

- information theory (D.Davidson)

- symbolic interaction

- sociology of knowledge (Berger and Luckmann)

- inter-cultural communication

The mind-opening thinkers I studied included Irving Rein, Saul Alinsky, David Berlo, Erving Goffman, Will Schutz, Elliott Aronson, Lee Thayer and many more.

It was (and is) fascinating stuff. I couldn't get enough. When people asked me what I was studying, it was hard to put it into a nutshell.

But I knew it was transforming me.

I have been using it (and adding to it) ever since.

More to come on this topic.....

Posted by Terrence Seamon, 04/29/06


Astha said…
Your blog just doubled my already long reading list!! But then I guess when one signs up for OD- feeling like there's always more to learn is part of the charm.
Terrence said…
Sorry about that, astha.

But you are right that OD folk value lifelong learning.

Astha said…
Meant that as a always looking for new material to read up and you gave some great references.

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