Building the OD professional of the future: creating a blueprint for new models of organisational development practice in the NHS

Taylor-Pitt, Paul (2019) Building the OD professional of the future: creating a blueprint for new models of organisational development practice in the NHS. DProf thesis, Middlesex University.

PDF - Final accepted version (with author's formatting)
Download (5MB) | Preview


The National Health Service (NHS) in England provides vital care to the population, free at the point of delivery. Demographic changes in society and advances in treatment of illness have resulted in a population that is living longer with complex long-term conditions. For the NHS this means a shift from episodic reactive care to predictive, preventative and ongoing care with patients at the heart of the approach. The 2014 Five Year Forward View set out a direction of travel for services to be integrated in order to break down barriers between organisations, moving from old to new models of care.

Organisational Development (OD) practitioners tasked with supporting the change efforts required to move to new models of care were struggling to get the traction needed. Inquiries led by the NHS OD community revealed a transactional bias to their activities, using traditional models of ‘diagnostic’ OD. The new models of care prompted me in my national role supporting the development of OD practitioners to explore if the present practice of OD was fit for the future.

Over a two-year period, fourteen OD practitioners from across the NHS worked in an Action Research group using co-operative inquiry methods to answer the question how do we build the OD professional of the future? We explored four areas in depth: locating ourselves in practice; new models of OD; phenomenal practice in the dynamic now; and building the OD professional the future.

Our work resulted in a deeper understanding of the landscape and climate of OD in the NHS. We created a blueprint for OD practice which incorporates Diagnostic, Dialogic and an emergent category of Dynamic OD into a new architecture of OD for the NHS. We revealed that strength is the core of phenomenal OD practice in the dynamic space and developed a route for the OD professionals of the future to find their way to a new way of working that will meet the ongoing changing needs of the NHS.

The research programme concluded that working in multiple interdependent complex adaptive systems will be the new normal for OD practitioners in the future NHS. To succeed they will need to stretch into unexplored areas of practice and find or create micro-communities of learning to shape and strengthen their presence. The process of co-operative inquiry itself created collaborative behaviours and as such there should be support for OD practitioners across the NHS to come together and carry out inquiries into their own practice and continually build and rebuild themselves.

Item Type: Thesis (DProf)
Research Areas: A. > Business School
B. > Theses
Item ID: 29824
Depositing User: Brigitte Joerg
Date Deposited: 04 May 2020 07:37
Last Modified: 04 May 2020 11:52

Actions (login required)

Edit Item Edit Item

Full text downloads (NB count will be zero if no full text documents are attached to the record)

Downloads per month over the past year