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Ph.D. in Organization Development
Ph.D. in Organization Development

Career aspirations in corporate world, higher education find commonalities in Ph.D. in OD pursuit

May 18, 2017

Freedom and increased opportunity. Those are incredible things for a degree to give you. But a Ph.D. in Organization Development (OD) can give working professionals freedom, increased options and autonomy.

For some, a Ph.D. in OD also fulfills a personal need to deepen their understanding of organizations and effective organizational change, and the need to contribute to the knowledge of the field. Having an elevated understanding of OD provides unique insights applicable across career genres.

Beyond the important theoretical jousting to identify the implications for the practice of organization development and practically apply learned principles for best practices within organization development, individuals seeking personal and organizational improvement must understand the complexities inherent within an organization.

Cultural differences and values must be identified and defined “in terms of differences in resistance to change, the nature of leadership roles, organizational structure and the application of such organization development techniques as team building.” (Yaeger, Head and Sorensen, 2006).

A degree in OD can help organizations explore success in both developed and developing countries, analyzing and adopting measures that are “best fits.” It can provide an extension to skillsets and knowledge base, improving individual and organizational competencies. Graduates will understand how to match organization development interventions and national cultural values, learn the roles played by economic development and legal and political structures, and properly identify the impact of culture specific issues versus universal organization development techniques.

If you want to teach at college or university, you must have a terminal degree plus published work that promotes not only your knowledge base but also adds to scholarly research. Benedictine University’s OD program gives our students the opportunity to contribute to this dynamic field as pioneers in their field.

As stated by Therese Yaeger, Ph.D., one of the OD field’s leading scholar practitioners, the purpose of OD is “to strengthen one’s understanding of everyday organizational issues, such as team challenges, change efforts and cultural disconnects. Understanding the everyday issues within organizations. How can we make what’s good better? That’s OD.”

In my conversation with my colleague, Dr. Yaeger, I asked her what she thought makes Benedictine’s OD program stand out. She attributed it to the fact that we seek out leaders at different levels of their organization – from human resource directors to chief financial officers.

“This makes for a richer conversation,” she said. “The diversity of voices is important. We don’t want a room full of only executives. The diversity of dialogue adds to a richer experience for everyone in the discussion of everyday organizational issues. That is what we are trying to unpackage.”

OD’s reach is global and gives you the best opportunity to take a look at the person in the mirror and make that change.

—Peter Sorensen, Ph.D.

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In recognition of his lasting impact in the field, Peter Sorensen Jr., Ph.D., was honored with the Organization Development Network’s prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award on Monday, October 16.
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Peter Sorensen

Peter Sorensen Jr., Ph.D., is an award-winning scholar, a distinguished educator and a world-recognized pioneer.

For nearly a half-century, Sorensen has been a leader in the field of Organization Development. The director of the Ph.D. in Organization Development (OD) and the Master of Science in Management and Organizational Behavior programs at Benedictine University, Sorensen was instrumental in developing one of the first master's-level programs in OD.

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