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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on March 2, 2000
Format: Paperback
I have read and continue to re-read this book. The authors are two of very few individuals who have OD in black and white. From a sociotechnical systems theory to accurate team building, a must for all OD specialists.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on November 1, 2004
Format: Paperback
I'm a little disappointed at those who were horrified at its age--the French and Bell book is a classic and it was updated in 1999. Anyone who is interested in learning OD should read the book and you will get a great foundation. Go from there to learn more about individual OD interventions or theories. Yes, Kotter's book is great, too, but Kotter speaks about leading change (only one topic in OD) or about leadership (another goodie but only one topic). If you don't know anything about OD, read this book. Because it was originally written in the 70s doesn't invalidate it; in fact, it shows how good it is.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
The book provides an introduction to the discipline, describing the historical foundations as well as specific applications in both for-profit and non-profit settings. The definition provided is deceptively simple; it is brief, yet completely encompasses the critical elements of OD efforts. What brings me back to it as a text again and again, however, is it's comprehensive list and descriptions of OD techniques. I have yet to find another book that so simply lays out the fundamentals of activities for interpersonal, team, inter-team, and large-scale organizational change. The final chapters deal with issues of consulting and the future of OD.
Because it ranges from a large-scale conceptual overview down to the nitty-gritty specifics of OD activites, it serves as an ideal framework to springboard to other books and readings.
Only caveat: The writing style is not commensurate with the excellence of the content.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on June 30, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is a flawed edition of a classic book.
Yes, it is historical in its overview. Yes it is dense with ideas and concepts. It makes readers think that OD/change management is hard work. But this is a good thing. Change aint easy, and intervening in people's working lives is serious business. Lets learn from the past. It also has lots of case explanations, and it does explain the theory clearly. I wouldn't let anyone who couldn't understand it near my consultancy work.
The criticism that it is dated is a bit more on the mark; not because the more recent stuff on change isn't there, it is, but it is tacked on to the material from earlier editions with no thought to the coherence of the book's structure. A shame; it needs a good, new third author who loves the original text to bring it up to date.
Despite the flaws, I give it 5 stars to bring the average up. Those who award it only one star do it an injustice. And, a lesson for the would be change agent, things in life, whether books or bits of our client organization are rarely wholly good or wholly bad..... (ok,ok).
Another good thing, compared to its competitors its small !
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on February 21, 2003
Format: Paperback
I really didn't care for this book at first, but had to purchase it for a class. As I read the book, it began to grow on me and I found it to be a great resource book, one that you may want to keep in your personal library for future questions about organizational development. This book gives great options on how to get people to work together, how to endure the resistance of people during change, as well as how to make the most of the a sucessful organizational change. I wish I had this book when I was president of my organization and had trouble getting larger groups of people, all with various strong opinions, to work together. This book gives it to you straight, a definite source of relief when dealing with or preparing for chaos in an organization!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 19, 2008
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
French and Bell did an excellent job of compiling the materials for Organizational Development. The book a great resource that provides an excellent description of the discipline, a succinct history of organization development, and an extensive overview of the field and how the various theories interrelate and can be leveraged together, when necessary, for specific initiatives. It is dense with ideas, tools, and tips for interventions and will be indispensible as you work on change or improvement initiatives. I wish I had had a copy of the book during the course of my career.

The book, written in a scholarly manner, covers the spectrum of organizational development and can lead the reader to more research on the topic. The numerous references to articles that appear at the end of each chapter is an invaluable resources to the reader. Another important aspect of the book, is how it lays out the history of the profession, so one can identify specific articles and track down the information threat to the original research by the people who invented the discipline. As apposed to jumping on a tool that looks useful.

As I read the book, I realized that many of the contemporary authors are just repackaging these concepts for a new generation, who have never read these original pieces of research. While some may consider this body of knowledge to be old, because most of it occurred in the 1940s and 50s adn the book was originally writen in the 70s. These are classics!! Fortunately it did not take two thousand years to recognize their value.

The examples and illustrations the authors provide throughout the book are useful, because they tell a story and explain the sequence and steps that were necessary for specific scenarios and demonstrate the complexity that is involved with organization development. These are excellent examples that demonstrate the nuance that is necessary to bring about a significant change initiative, which most people do not fully appreciate and take for granted. It is important to understand the complexity and magnitude of this from the start, so people aren't diluted to thing this will be done over a weeken workshop or in a couple of weeks or months.

Organization Development, like many of the researchers who contributed to the disciple, presents a practical action oriented approach to apply the knowledge. The concepts discussed in Organization Development are all about change and execution, which is what everyone describes as their biggest problem.

If you don't like change... You are really going to hate being irrelevant. The concepts in this book will make your efforts very relevant.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 2, 2007
Format: Paperback
This book is a great resource that provides the history of Organization Development and an extensive overview of the field. There are tools and tips for interventions that will be very helpful in many change/improvement initiatives.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 16, 2009
Format: Paperback
I have relied on this text in OD Graduate Courses since the '80s. Other materials are also used, but this book is such a classic that I make it the basic organizing tool of the course. It is comprehensive and works very well to underpin application elements of the course. Students need to supplement it with the research done since the 90's, but such assignments work out well, in my experience. I have tried to find other texts as good or better but have always returned to French and Bell. It has the basic content needed and the framework to effectively use every bit of it.
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on September 21, 2010
Format: Paperback
After consulting in OD for over 35 years, it doesn't surprise me to see reviewers who demand "something new". There were always fringe players in the OD field who were fixated on the latest tricks, methods, and simulations which supposedly would make them a better practitioner. Any serious student and practitioner of organization development quickly realizes that a tough client system which is immersed in real-life work systems is going to need the clarity of applicaton which is described by French and Bell's work. I keep my copy of their work close to my desk and have for years read and re-read the book. Anybody serious about this field should have this book in their possesson.
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on May 9, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I bought this text book on a recommendation from an OD professional to use as a resource for an independent study paper I am writing for my degree. The book is helping me gain an in-depth understanding of OD.
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