The Future Possibilities for Organizational Development (OD) in the Era of Mission Economics

The Future Possibilities for Organizational Development (OD)


In the era of mission economics, a time marked by a global push for prosperity and environmental sustainability, the field of Organizational Development (OD) finds itself at a crucial crossroads. The need for transformative change within organizations is more evident than ever as the world confronts intricate issues like climate crises and social disintegration. This article delves into the future possibilities for OD in fostering what the authors refer to as ‘full-spectrum flourishing’ and advancing the principles of mission economics. These topics are of utmost relevance to OD practitioners, scholars, and leaders like you.

Reimagining Organizational Development: Traditionally, OD has focused on improving organizational effectiveness, creating change, and employee empowerment. However, in the era of mission economics, OD’s scope expands beyond mere efficiency to encompass broader societal goals. The ‘full-spectrum flourishing’ concept encapsulates this paradigm shift, highlighting the holistic development of individuals, organizations, and communities in harmony with the environment. This article offers unique insights into this redefined OD, providing a fresh perspective on its future trajectory.

From Macro to Micro OD: One critical challenge in pursuing full-spectrum flourishing is the need for OD interventions to operate at multiple levels, from macroscopic societal structures to micro-level organizational dynamics. This necessitates a shift towards what the authors term “macro-to-micro OD,” wherein interventions address systemic issues while catering to individual organizations and their members’ unique needs.

Net Positive OD: Building on the principles of mission economics, the concept of “net positive OD” emerges as a guiding framework for organizational transformation. Unlike traditional approaches aiming for neutral or incremental change, net positive OD seeks to generate surplus value for society and the environment while enhancing organizational performance. This process involves aligning business strategies with broader societal objectives, creating shared value for all stakeholders.

Celebrating OD Certification Week

Launching on May 19th through the 24th, this week-long extravaganza is designed to empower you with the knowledge, skills, and certifications you need to thrive in the ever-evolving Organizational Development (OD) field.
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The Role of Positive Institutions: Central to the future of OD in the era of mission economics is the concept of “positive institutions.” These are organizations that not only prioritize financial profitability but also contribute positively to society and the environment. Through empirical survey research and thousands of interviews, scholars have identified the characteristics of positive institutions, which include a strong sense of purpose, ethical leadership, and a commitment to sustainability.

Mirror Flourishing: A particularly promising avenue for OD in the era of mission economics is the notion of “mirror flourishing.” This concept emphasizes the interconnectedness of individual and collective well-being, suggesting that flourishing organizations enable their members to thrive personally and professionally. By fostering a culture of mutual support and empowerment, organizations can become catalysts for positive change at scale.

Conclusion: We stand at a unique moment in the field of OD, with the potential to create a transformative shift. The possibilities for those in the field of OD to impact change are limitless. By embracing concepts such as full-spectrum flourishing, net positive OD, and positive institutions, organizations can become catalysts for societal progress in mission economics by offering a roadmap for OD practitioners to shape a future where prosperity is measured by financial success, collective well-being, and environmental stewardship can help.

About IOD

Institute of Organization Development offers online OD Certification Programs to develop leaders in the field of OD.  For over 23 years, IOD has worked with organizations worldwide to promote the field of  OD and to utilize the practices to create large-scale change.  We have partnered with other OD Professionals in many countries to bring OD to organizations in their countries to improve social welfare, government, and economics. 

Please check out this week’s lineup of special speakers, giveaways, scholarships and more in the Global OD Certification Week, May 19-24th, 2024


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