Organization Development in the Largest Global Organization

The History of OD in the U.S. Military

Robert L. Reinhard, Drahnier Enterprises
Peter F. Sorensen, Benedictine University
Therese F. Yaeger, Benedictine University

A volume in the series: Contemporary Trends in Organization Development and Change. Editor(s): Peter F. Sorensen, Benedictine University. Therese F. Yaeger, Benedictine University.

Published 2022

The U.S. military, as the core constituent of the Department of Defense, collectively represents the largest and most complex organization on earth. As such, the U.S. military implemented the largest formal OD programs in the world. These programs, from inception to present day, utilized diverse and evolving OD intervention typologies to garner congruence with the environment. The research for this book, accomplished using an inductive, grounded theory approach, examined the initiatives that fostered the use of OD intervention typologies. The findings revealed three major epochs of OD interventions that span a 50-year timeline. The epochs include: (1) Traditional OD; (2) Total Quality Management (TQM); and (3) Continuous Process Improvement (CPI). The epoch of Traditional OD represents the use of human process interventions while TQM and CPI represent the use of technostructural interventions. In the end, the relationship between organization design and culture, and the selection of OD intervention typologies, were best explained using variables that explicate diverse environmental occurrences that influenced senior military leaders’ perceived need for specific OD interventions. These perceived needs were predicated on the requirement to exploit vital resources in an effort to bolster warfighting operational readiness in support of the American citizenry.

Foreword, Peter F. Sorensen and Therese F. Yaeger. CHAPTER 1: Introduction. CHAPTER 2: OD and the Organization. CHAPTER 3: The U.S. Military Organization. CHAPTER 4: Organization Design. CHAPTER 5: The U.S. Military From an Organization Design Perspective. CHAPTER 6: Societal and U.S. Military Culture. CHAPTER 7: OD Interventions. CHAPTER 8: Conceptual Framework. CHAPTER 9: A Posteriori Literature Review. CHAPTER 10: Epoch One, Traditional OD and Human Process Interventions. CHAPTER 11: Epoch Two, TQM and Technostructural Interventions. CHAPTER 12: Epoch Three, CPI and Technostructural Interventions. CHAPTER 13: Analysis of Findings. CHAPTER 14: Conclusions.