ODA is all about “connect, share and grow”. When our members talk about what they love about ODA, these are the three words that capture their sentiments. These values are fundamental to our approach at ODA, informing all that we do.
‘Connect’ – we foster genuine relationships through participating and cultivating genuine networking.
‘Share’ – we are open and generous in time, spirit and know-how.
‘Grow’ – we are willing to ask questions, to not know, and benefit from the experience of others, to enhance our own as well as the collective wisdom of the OD community.
We foster an environment that is genuine, without bureaucracy or sales pitches, and we invite you to maintain this throughout your interactions. Come find out how this makes for a vibrant space to connect, share and grow together.
Who is Organisation Development Australia?
Organisation Development Australia (ODA), incorporated in 1999, is Australia’s longest standing not-for-profit, professional association in the field of organisation development.
We foster a welcoming environment to give you the opportunity to share experiences and grow through the richness of interactions with like-minded colleagues. ODA enables you to network and learn with others interested in organisation development, and offers a distinct professional development experience.
We pride ourselves on being unique – we are not traditional or bureaucratic and there are no sales pitches going on when we get together! ODA is experiential, fun, welcoming and hospitable. We are keenly interested in our members and what they bring.
What we do
ODA aims to actively contribute to the development of humane and effective workplaces through our focus on organisational development. We provide a home for those interested in OD to share, connect and grow in a safe and supportive space for professional development..
At ODA, we’re all very different but share a passion for learning, improvement and results – at individual, team and organisational levels. ODA facilitates collaborative learning to enhance the practice of OD across the many workplaces we are involved in. We bring together the best of organisation development thinking, practices and practitioners in a variety of ways through regular events.
Come join us and discover a welcoming community where you can contribute to building a strong voice for OD in Australia.
What is Organisation Development (OD)?
There are many definitions of organisation development since its recognisable beginnings in the 1940s, with many practitioners and disciplines contributing to, and evolving, this eclectic field of endeavour. Here’s one relatively recent definition:
“Based on (1) a set of values, largely humanistic; (2) application of the behavioural sciences; and (3) open systems theory, organization development is a system-wide process of planned change aimed toward improving overall effectiveness by way of enhanced congruence of such organizational dimensions as external environment, mission, strategy, leadership, culture, structure, information and reward system, and work policies and procedures"
(Bradford and Burke, 2005)
When we at ODA talk about OD, we’re essentially talking about a field that helps us gain insights about people and what happens when we come together to work. We are referring to the field of endeavour shaped by the application of social and behavioural sciences, of humanistic principles and a whole systems perspective to facilitating personal and organisational change, building organisational capability and effectiveness; and sustaining organisational renewal. By its very nature, organisation development is strategic.
And, as an aside, whilst definitions are helpful, they can limit us in some unforeseen way, so it’s crucial to continue the conversation of “What is OD?” Join us at ODA to do just that.
ODA emerged from a group of alumni in organisation behaviour and consulting from both RMIT and Swinburne Universities, who identified a need for a professional development community in organisation development. Members and guests now come from a myriad of places.
Over the years people have continued to bring inclusive and diverse perspectives from a wide range of practices such as systems thinking, strategic planning and alignment, culture change, organisation design, group facilitation, leadership development, appreciative inquiry, action research, group psychodynamics, psychological assessment, social-technical methods, and gestalt, to name just a few.
Our members and guests come from all sorts of fields, backgrounds and roles, including: managers, business owners, organisational development specialists, organisational psychologists, social science, human resources, students, executive coaches, scholars, management consultants, CEOs, learning and development, community workers, and educators. Our diversity is a source of great richness and strength for our community.
Read more about the origins of ODA below.
By Di Percy (one of our founders), 28 January 2010
Organisation Development Australia (ODA) had its beginnings in 1997. At that time, there was no longer a professional organisation for OD practitioners and consultants that provided collegiate action learning and personal development. In the past, the Australian Institute of Human Relations (AIHR) filled this role, led by Plum Gerrard and a team of Trainers, from the late 1960’s into the 1980’s. AIHR was based in the approaches of the T-Group, Encounter Group and Gestalt Therapy. Over time, members of AIHR split off to form or join the Australian Institute of Socio-Analysis (AISA) led by Alistair Bain, which provided a disciplined theoretical approach to organisations from an analytical frame.
Two Melbourne post graduate academic programs, unique in Australia, operated with their origins in the 1970s. The first was the RMIT organisation psychology diploma in the School of Business, developed by psychologist and senior trainer in AIHR, Syd Forsey. The other university OD program was run from the Swinburne Business School from 1980’s with links to AISA and Tavistock through Susan Long and others.
ODA Founder, Di Percy, was a member of AIHR, trained and taught Gestalt Therapy, was a graduate and adjunct lecturer in the RMIT OD program and an OD practitioner. Together with five interested graduates from the RMIT program – Paul Cooper, Gary Baldwin, Chris Curnow, Donna *, Jeremy Cattell – they started to formulate a professional development community and became ODA’s first Leadership Group.
The inaugural meeting of ODA was held at Southbank in Melbourne in 1998 without any promotion except invitation by word of mouth. The large response indicated the need for such a learning community with over 70 internal and external OD consultants attending.
For the first few years monthly meetings were held for members in the premises of another RMIT program, the Masters of Innovation and Service Management. In between meetings, the Leadership Group set about adopting a legal structure for ODA and designing an experiential learning framework for meetings. Di Percy was elected President for the first two terms of office; the second President was Gary Baldwin; followed by Glenda Hutchinson.
The elements that ODA was designed on were collegiate action learning and personal development, studying its own group dynamics, introducing new and established techniques to members such as open space technology and consultant-client role plays to explore and enhance individual OD assignments. The aspiration was to create a rich OD experience catering for a variety of different personal learning styles.