The research is subsumed under a much larger project planned by the following organizations: "Organization Development Institute (ODI), Organization Development Network (ODN), and International Organization Development Association (IODA) called the Global Committee on the Future of Organization Development" (Wirtenberg, Abrams, and Ott, 2004, p. 466). This committee is composed of a wide ranging population of leaders in business, corporations, non-profits, academia, and government. The overarching goal of this project is to identify strategies that will promote the efficiency and professionalism of the field of organizational development.
The themes and positions taken in this article can be summarized by the results of the returned surveys and interviews. These results gave a thorough overview of the strengths and weaknesses inherent in the field. These variables will be thoroughly discussed throughout the remainder of the paper. Basically, Wirtenberg et al (2004, p. 465) found that the weaknesses are that the field of OD:
'(a) lacks a clear, distinct definition; (b) needs greater quality control/effectiveness and business acumen among OD Practitioners; and (c) lacks clarity around its return on investment and perceived value of the work performed'.
They also found strengths. OD's systems orientation is a strength. OD as a field stresses change management, teamwork, and leadership development. The research results also included 'the values OD brings to its practice' (Wirtenberg et al, 2004, p. 465) as a strength. It is the opinion of this student that this is both a strength and a weakness. Confusion around these values is part of the dilemma inherent in OD's lack of definition as a profession. Further discussion on this idea will follow within the discussion of each individual strength and weakness.
This is a landmark work in that most available writing on the field of OD does not mention these issues in any organized or thorough fashion. Their use of open ended surveys and follow up individual interviews seems quite appropriate for this initial stage of the large project. Their decision to send surveys to all members of every organization connected to OD lead to solid information. This information is forming the foundation of future work in the field. Because the aim is practical, the researchers are calling this an initiative.
This is both positive and negative. On the one hand, the initiative is practical and utilizes the strengths of the OD professionals to eventually design strategies that can improve the circumstances. On the other, the field needs solid academic research to assist in solving the problems essentially related to clarity of definition discussed in the results of the work. More on this topic is included later in this paper.
Material thoroughly discussing these issues can only be obtained from professional organizations whose focus is to support the work of OD practitioners. These organizations are the same organizations participating in this initiative listed above. These organizations have created a strong web presence with a lot of valuable information. For the most part, they have integrated the findings of this work and are cooperating fully with the opportunity phase of change management.
Many people believe that the qualities found within the OD professionals themselves are a strength. Specifically, OD professionals have a strong set of usable ethics and values. In