1st Edition

Radical Organisation Development

By Mark Cole Copyright 2020

    Contemporary organisation development (OD) in practice draws on sophisticated theory and tools to advance organisational change, using a range of concepts and techniques including positive psychology, appreciation, and active engagement with the workforce. OD is considered to be humanistic and, as a result, progressive. Mark Cole's original and thought-provoking treatise points at a hole at the heart of OD practice: it fails to consider the role of power in the workplace – and the result is disempowering.

    Drawing from critical theory as a radical means to redefine practice, Mark Cole exposes this paradox and reveals the significant limitations and negative impacts of current OD practice. We need to replace the idea of the organisation with a focus on active human organising to enable individuals within systems to effect change from the grassroots up: this concept is Radical OD.

    Essential reading for students, practitioners, and academics of OD; the wider HR community, and all with an interest in developing their understanding of organisational life, this ground-breaking manifesto offers unique and challenging insight into the corporate presence of OD – and challenges the willing reader to reimagine the focus and intent of this work.

    Acknowledgements, Chapter 1 – Introduction, Chapter 2 – A Foucauldian preamble, Chapter 3 – A genealogy of the organisationally developed workplace, Chapter 4 – What does OD achieve? Chapter 5 – Towards a truly radical OD practice, Chapter 6 – And we land, where? Epilogue, Index


    Mark Cole is an OD practitioner with over 30 years' experience working with people and change management in organisations. A published author in both books and journals, he currently works at the NHS London Leadership Academy, where he focuses on organisation and leadership development; systems thinking in the workplace, and supporting meaningful and impactful workforce engagement.