The field of organization development (OD) has emerged from efforts to improve the performance of organizations, largely in the for-profit sector but more recently in the public and not-for-profit sectors as well. This paper examines how OD concepts and tools can be used to solve problems and foster constructive change at the societal level as well. It examines four areas in which OD can make such contributions: (1) strengthening social change-focused organizations, (2) scaling up the impacts of such agencies, (3) creating new inter-organizational systems, and (4) changing contexts that shape the action of actors strategic to social change. It discusses examples and the kinds of change agent roles and interventions that are important for each. Finally, it discusses some implications for organization development intervention, practitioners, and the field at large.
This publication is Hauser Center Working Paper No. 25. The Hauser Center Working Paper Series was launched during the summer of 2000. The Series enables the Hauser Center to share with a broad audience important works-in-progress written by Hauser Center scholars and researchers.