PS462      Half Unit
Theory and Practice of Organisational Development

This information is for the 2015/16 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Caryn Solomon QU.3.15


This course is available on the MSc in Human Resources and Organisations (Organisational Behaviour), MSc in Social and Cultural Psychology and MSc in Social and Public Communication. This course is not available as an outside option.

Course content

The organisation is a social system that is complex, dynamic and ever changing. This course attempts to explore the management of organisational change and development in a practical way. It does this by recognising that there are research-based methodologies for ensuring that the potential inherent in change is harnessed, and that the capacity and potential of the organisation, in the pursuit of a broad range of organisational objectives, are enabled. While it is informed by a number of key theoretical frameworks, Organisation Development comes into its own in application. The aim of the course, therefore, is two fold: first to explore the body of core theory underpinning the practice; second, to examine the practice of Organisation Development as a 'process' (not a 'product' or a 'programme') which fundamentally influences and is influenced by the specific organisational context within which it takes place. Drawing on key theoretical frameworks and the approaches of major practitioners, the course also examines a range of current, best practice socio-psychological interventions. Students will be actively encouraged to relate key theoretical perspectives to organisational challenges covering a range of contemporary issues and contexts.


10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of seminars in the LT.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 piece of coursework in the LT.

Indicative reading

C Argyris, On Organisational Learning (Malden, Mass: Blackwell Business, 1999); Richard Beckhard, Organisational Development: Strategies and Models (Reading, Mass. Addison-Wesley Publishing Co, Inc, 1969); W Bennis, K Benne & R Chin, The Planning of Change, (New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 4th edn, 1984); P Checkland, Systems Thinking, Systems Practice (Chichester: Wiley, 1981); W Isaacs, Dialogue and the Art of Thinking Together (New York: Doubleday 1999); P R Lawrence & J W Lorsch, Developing Organisations: Diagnosis and Action (Reading, Mass. Addison-Wesley Publishing Co, Inc, 1969); M L Tushman & P Anderson, Managing Strategic Innovation and Change (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997); Edgar Schein, Process Consultation: Its Role in Organisation Development (Reading, Mass. Addison-Wesley Publishing Co, Inc, 1988); Edgar Schein, Organisational Culture and Leadership (San Francisco: Jossey Bass, 1992


Essay (75%, 3000 words) and presentation (25%) in the ST.

Student performance results

(2011/12 - 2013/14 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 25.3
Merit 56.3
Pass 18.4
Fail 0

Key facts

Department: Social Psychology

Total students 2014/15: 28

Average class size 2014/15: 13

Controlled access 2014/15: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills