1st Edition

Organisation Development in Healthcare A Critical Appraisal for OD Practitioners

By John Edmonstone Copyright 2022
    216 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations
    by Productivity Press

    216 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations
    by Productivity Press

    216 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations
    by Productivity Press

    Organisational development (OD) as a practice involves an ongoing, systematic process of implementing effective organisational change. OD is both a field of applied science focused on understanding and managing organisational change and a field of scientific study and inquiry. It is interdisciplinary in nature and draws on sociology, psychology, particularly industrial and organisational psychology, and theories of motivation, learning, and personality.

    Organisation Development in Healthcare: A Critical Appraisal for Practitioners provides both an overview of the evolution of OD in healthcare as a field of practice and as a challenge to its future development. It examines the underlying assumptions behind OD and tracks its historical growth in healthcare, with special attention devoted to the UK’s National Health Service.

    The unusual nature of healthcare organisations delivering human services through the work of professionals who are subject to emotional labor and are addressing society’s wicked problems provides a unique context. A range of challenges for healthcare OD are identified, including questions of conformists or deviant innovation; organisations as machines or systems; hierarchy versus democracy; the importance of power and emotion and possible future ways forward for healthcare OD are suggested. Examples and short case studies from both the UK and the US to illustrate the benefits of OD are included.


    List of illustrations

    Who should read this book?



    1. What is OD?
    2. The historical development of early OD
    3. The development of OD in healthcare in the UK
    4. An NHS case study: The Trent Regional Health Authority Organisation Development Unit
    5. The changing context for OD activity: A VUCA/RUPT world
    6. The unusual nature of healthcare organisations
    7. The challenges facing today’s OD in healthcare
    8. Into the future: The possible next steps in healthcare OD development

    An OD practitioner code of practice

    Further reading


    John Edmonstone is a leadership, management and organisation development consultant with extensive experience within the public services both within the UK and internationally. He has some 30 years’ experience of successful consultancy work in the human resource management and organisation development fields in the United Kingdom National Health Service, and within local government, higher and further education in such areas as leadership and management development, coaching and mentoring, evaluation research, partnership working and team development. He has worked regularly with action learning since meeting with Professor Reg Revans in the 1970s, largely with health care managers and clinical professionals, but also in multiagency contexts, principally within the UK, but also in Ireland and Indonesia. He runs a successful consultancy business based in Ripon, North Yorkshire and is Senior Research Fellow at the School of Social Science and Public Policy, Keele University; Research Fellow at the Institute for Global Health and Development, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh and Associate at Skills for Health. He is on the editorial boards of the journals Action Learning: Research and Practice, Leadership in Health Services and the International Journal of Healthcare. He is the author of the books Action Learning in Health Care: A Practical Handbook (2011) and The Action Learner’s Toolkit (2003) and is author of many journal articles on action learning.