Peter Sorensen, Ph.D. – International Man of Mystery?
Actually, there is no mystery to the impact Sorensen has had on the field of organization development (OD) in the United States and abroad. An invited, distinguished scholar to the first Academy of Management Conference on Global Change, Sorensen is universally considered a leading expert in the field.
He brings that expertise to every class he teaches at Benedictine University.
“I really enjoy the opportunity to work with students who have in a major way made important contributions to the field and to the organizations in which they work – students who are literally changing the world for the better,” Sorensen said.
Sorensen’s own contributions cannot be overstated. He was integral to the development of one of the country’s first master’s level programs in OD in 1967, and one of its first Ph.D. programs in OD some 30 years later. He has authored more than 200 articles, papers and books, including several best paper selections.
He has worked with more than 100 organizations including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Steel, DuPage County Health Department, Commonwealth Edison and CAN. He is chair of the Organization Development and Change Division of the Academy of Management, and serves on the editorial boards for the OD "Journal", the OD "Practitioner" and CCASTD’s "Training Today."
Sorensen is a board member of the Midwest Academy of Management Journal, and a few years ago was named the recipient of the “Outstanding OD Consultant of the Year Award” from the OD Institute.
“Being active in these organizations helps me to provide them with current information related to the field, access to the best minds and contributors in the field, and to find additional ways to contribute and learn and to help develop and guide their future,” Sorensen said.
“It is essential for a teacher to be familiar with major and important work that is currently being done in the field,” he said.
Although he is an acknowledged leader in OD research and development, Sorensen’s biggest joy still comes from teaching.
“I really enjoy teaching introductory Ph.D. and Master of Science in Management and Organizational Behavior courses because I get to meet the new students,” he said.
His message to those students is that Benedictine University is committed to helping today’s leaders generate a professional environment where people work together toward better solutions, where change is not only accepted but encouraged, and where high performance is achieved by building trust, valuing teamwork and fostering employee development.
“Students need to learn that we know a lot today about creating better organizations, better organizations in terms of performance and better organizations for human beings,” Sorensen said. “It is important that managers and future managers are familiar with what we know.”
There is no better resource from which students can learn those lessons than Sorensen.
“I want to help them to do their best, to help them understand, and provide them with the knowledge, incentive and ways for making things better in the workplace and in their organizations,” he said.