An Organization Development Approach to Consulting

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The knowledge explosion and the resulting increases in specialization have extended the reliance of organizations on consultants. Most organizations can afford highly specialized technical experts on a temporary basis only. Many large industrial firms are developing staffs of internal consultants who share their specific areas of technical expertise among organizational sub-units. Yet, there is a widespread feeling that many consultants are ineffective helpers. Their work is all too often seen as irrelevant and therefore not worth the price in time or money. The purpose of this paper is to present a model of consultation which will increase the effectiveness of the consultation process. Although the model can be readily extended to any type of consultant with any large client system (business, school, community), we will focus primarily on the external consultant and the organizational client system, using examples from our experiences as behavioral science consultants. The model for planned change presented below will be most appropriate if the consultant’s interventions in the client system are placed in the context of a total organizational development program. Here, organizational development refers not to the content of the consultant intervention but to the manner in which it is carried out. More specifically, an intervention is an organizational development intervention if:

An Organization Development Approach to Consulting’, DavidA.Kolb and AlanL.FrohmanSloan Management Review, 12 (1) (1970): 51–65. From MIT Sloan Management Review. © 1970 by Massachusetts Institute of Technology. All rights reserved. Distributed by Tribune Media Services. Reprinted with permission.
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