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Your OD Career Calling Preference

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The "Surgeon"

Here is where we draw a quote that best represents the ODCC Preference


Thank you for taking the OD Career Calling Assessment! Your personalized report will read much like a story, beginning with a quick overview of the complex yet elegant world of Organization Development! We'll use real data to paint a current and accurate picture of the OD career landscape. Next, through a simple framework, you'll discover how your unique talents, passions, and career preferences differ from others, and match unique careers (with examples) Finally, we close with a customized presentation of  professional development pathways and resources that should be very meaningful to you. We'll also invite you to join a community of likeminded OD professionals, including employers and researchers, for dialogue and collaboration that is relevant to your Career Calling interest! Thank you for taking the OD Career Calling Assessment (Beta). Please don't forget to like and share!

Warm Regards,

Dr. William Brendel
& the OpenSourceOD Crew

Click on section to jump!

10 Ways to Make the Most of this Report

  • Stay Current. Bookmark your report and return for continuously updated content! As our analysis expands, your report will continue to update with brand new resources, career pathways, and learning opportunities.

  • Listen. Each section begins with a brief audio introduction from Dr. Brendel. Click on the PDF button to download a transcript of the recording.

  • Dive in. Your report is filled with numerous links marked in purple font to help you deepen your knowledge. By clicking on a link you'll be taken to a separate window so you don't lose your spot! Hover over our charts and graphs for greater interactive detail. They are updated on a regular basis! A complete list of references is included at the end of the report.

  • Take good Notes. As you read through your assessment, you may think to yourself "this doesn't exactly match my preference" or, this is "very true about me!" Take note of these nuances because they may hold additional clues to your career calling.

  • Discuss with Peers. The magic is in the dialogue, and you'll have opportunities to join in discussion through your own personalized Career Calling Community! A link will be provided at the end of this report.

  • Find a Mentor. If you wish, you'll have an opportunity to find a world class mentor who fits your preference well. Our algorithms are designed to find the best match between your unique results and our list of OD Exemplars!

  • Be Agile. Toward the end of this report you'll find a career lattice activity, which will reveal your "Sister Career Calling Preference", which is highly similar to your preference, but provides a slightly different pathway that may resonate with you. You'll have an opportunity to explore a sample report for that similar preference as well, which contains additional knowledge and resources!

  • Recruit Talent. If you are an employer, take this assessment from the viewpoint of your ideal career candidate. Then, you can go to the career calling community for that preference and post your job opportunity. 

  • Help us Improve. Our research team is dedicated to making sure this assessment is meaningful, accurate, reliable, and relevant. At the end of this report you'll have the option to share feedback regarding your experience with taking and interpreting the results of our assessment!
    We also intend to share our anonymous research and suggest forms of inquiry you may wish to run! If you have any questions, please reach out to

  • Share the love. Finally, we can't do this without members like you. Help us spread the word by sharing your report with the world. 


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What is Organization Development (OD)?

So many important questions!

According to Experts

Before we jump into what makes your OD Career Calling so unique we must share a few words about a healthy, ongoing debate between experts, educators, and employers about the definition of "Organization Development." You might be surprised to learn that there are currently over 40 different definitions of OD, and according to a recent article in the OD Review, at least 14 different competency models


Additionally, the fields of Human Resources and Talent Development, which some OD experts refer to as "OD Adjacent" professions, now lay claim to OD as part of (not separate from) their fields. For instance, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) lists OD as an HR discipline as well as a tool of strategic HR. SHRM offers OD centered training and job opportunities to aspiring HR professionals. Similarly, the Association for Talent Development (ATD) positions OD as a core part of its own Talent Development Capability Model. 


Conversely, organizations such as the OD Network offer their own recently updated definition of OD along with a robust Global Competency Framework for interdisciplinary change agents. They also offer a helpful view of the evolution of OD, from the perspective of exemplary scholar-practitioners. It is important to note that these definitions were established and continue to evolve primarily in North America. Finally, social change organizations, such as the Presencing Institute, are leading OD efforts without using the label at all. For these groups, a "rose by any other name" still gets the job done!

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"Organization Development (OD) refers to the interdisciplinary field of scholars and practitioners who work collaboratively with organizations and communities to develop their system-wide capacity for effectiveness and vitality. It is grounded in the organization and social sciences." 

~ Organization Development Network

"Organization Development (OD) is an effort that focuses on improving an organization's capability through alignment of strategy, structure, management processes, people, rewards, and metrics." 

~ Association for Talent Development

Global OD University Programs

U.S. OD University Programs

According to Educators

Our analysis of 144 graduate OD and closely related OD programs reveals that while 45% of them refer to the field in the traditional vernacular ("Organization" Development) 55% refer to it as  "Organizational" Development. These  programs share much but not everything in common when it comes to their statements of purpose and course work, which vary in terms of their intended impact, approach, emphasis, and roots. Here are just a few examples:

  • "Learn ways to improve performance and manage change through use of organizational development best practices. Explore the different models and strategies that help shape culture across sectors, then take on constructing a diagnosis plan, synthesizing data, and communicating your findings."

  • "Learn foundational self-awareness, concepts, and skills needed to design inquiry and engagement processes that help organizations fulfill their missions and become more equitable, humane, and empowering workplaces."

  • "Be the driving force behind strategic organizational effectiveness, high performing teams and stronger corporate cultures; create enduring social systems that offer value to all stakeholders."

  • "Will equip you with the leadership skills needed to address today's organizational challenges and prepare you to be a transformative change-agent, offering foundations in important areas such as DE&I, data analytics, and leadership."

  • "Offers a global perspective on strategic change and its impact on organizational effectiveness, while building multicultural competencies critical to business today."

According to Employers


Our research indicates that over 50% of OD competency models that are designed to guide the development of pure OD practitioners do not match the dynamic reality of hybrid job descriptions and educational offerings. More frequently, OD careers are comprised of hybrid positions, which blend OD with other functions of organizations that are responsible for systems change, organizational learning and effectiveness.  This plays a critical role in your effectiveness at finding and excelling in jobs that fit your professional narrative. As you will find, some professional identities (Talent Development, Org Effectiveness, Human Resources) make it easier to pursue certain types of OD careers but not others.


Utilizing ongoing analysis, our goal is to direct you to the unique careers and skills you will need to develop and align your own ideal career path. This type of customized plan should give you a better chance at growing into the type of job that is not only financially fulfilling but also personally rewarding. Identifying with your career is essential to this process.

Regardless of these diverse career naming conventions, a close examination of the top three skills in job descriptions yields the following distribution (graph below). These represent overall skills required for OD related positions, however as you will learn later on in this report, they will vary given the type of OD career you most identify with. 

Pure OD Positions


Hybrid OD Positions

As the field continues to evolve over time and new tools and paradigms are introduced, this data will also continue to update. From time to time it would be helpful to check in with this "living report" to see how your activities align and acquire more precise search terms to use in career websites.

Top 3 Skills for OD Careers

Comparing Coursework to Job Requirements

University OD programs cover most of the top three listed skills amongst employers, but not all. Our analysis demonstrates that areas which require more attention in graduate programs include leadership, project management, consulting and partnering,  organizational communication, presenting and delivering feedback, critical thinking skills, business acumen, and even talent management knowledge.


Likewise, many crucial courses in OD programs are not explicitly required by employers. These include courses in ethics, use-of-self/self awareness, knowledge of organizational psychology, understanding of negotiation and conflict management, and knowledge of OD interventions.

Many university programs make up for lack of knowledge in certain areas by offering special topics courses amongst other professional development opportunities (see: Toastmasters, PROSCI, and Agile).

Current Alignment between Careers & Coursework

What Sets OD Apart?

4 Aspirational Goals Behind the Assessment

The 3 C's of Organization Development

Despite the complexity explored above, it is clear that in part, the definition of OD depends upon the prism it is interpreted through. For this reason, there are many doorways to choose from before stepping into the world of OD. In order to accommodate complexity discussed above in a practical, inclusive, and appreciative fashion we have anchored your report to characteristics of OD that are only likely to change slightly over time. These anchors include what we call the 3 Cs: Common Values, Core Competencies, The Calling.


We were able to arrive at these three anchors through an in-depth analysis of OD theory and practice, definitions and competency models, course work and critical hiring requirements. We describe these 3Cs below, and will continue to update our research by analyzing the findings of those who have taken this assessment, and by implementing machine learning to analyze job data on a regular basis!

Research Behind your Assessment

  • 300+ Job Descriptions (2021 – 2022)

  • 40+ Definitions of OD from Experts, Exemplars, and Educators

  • Peer Reviewed Article on 42 Global OD practitioners and researchers who practice in 58 Countries (2020)

  • 31+ Published OD Competency Models (as recent as 2022)

  • 3 Premier Associations (2022)

  • 144+ University Vision Statements & Course Offerings (2022)

  • 10+  Institutes (2022)

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Common Values

In a recent study, researchers at Penn State University interviewed OD practitioners from around the world to understand the future values that set OD practitioners apart from similar "helping professions" in organizations such as Human Resources and Talent Development. They discovered 9 core values that make OD distinct. This article provides an excellent overview of the way OD values have evolved over time, and draws excellent connections to the types of behaviors that exemplify each of these values. 


For a simple way to learn more about how these values are defined, and to find helpful reading and food for inspiration, read this LinkedIn article titled An Anatomy of OD. These values include:

  1. Awareness of Self and System

  2. Continuous Learning & Innovation

  3. Integrity

  4. Courageous Leadership

  5. Trust & Respect

  6. Diversity

  7. Collaborative Engagement

  8. Client Growth & Development

Core Competencies

OD can feel complex, but history provides excellent hints as to ways we can simplify our understanding of its competencies. Since its beginnings, OD has distinguished itself by approaching organizations as socio-technical systems, which may be influenced through numerous activities and interventions including problem-solving, decision making, relating with others, resolving conflict, and creative thinking (Burns & Stalker, 1961; Lawrence & Lorsch, 1967; Katz & Kahn, 1966).  


Accordingly, to develop high performing, ethical, and engaging workplaces, the field established its theoretical footing in applied behavioral sciences by leveraging the studied relationships between emotion, cognition, and behavior in the workplace (Roethlisberger & Dickson, 2003; Homans, 1951). Kurt Lewin (1936) organized these features into a revolutionary equation at the time, b= f (P, E), suggesting that social behavior is a function of the dynamic interplay between a person and the forces present in their environment.

Leading & Managing Change

Consulting & Partnering

Facilitating Learning







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Mapping to other OD Competency Models

Fast forward to today, and you'll find that all 31 OD competency models can still be viewed through the lens of Social-Technical-Influence, which original practitioners and theorists suggested. One of the reasons there are so many models is that they each present different variations and emphasize certain characteristics of OD over others. For instance, some models heavily emphasize organizational behavior, while others stress aspects  of the consulting process. Some do not address culture adequately but instead focus on understanding group dynamics. Some do not pay as much attention to facilitating dialogue and learning, but instead stress self awareness, ethics, and equity. Our assessment includes all of these characteristics so that in addition to being helpful on its own, it may can also be used to better understand and see connections between other competency models; so (if you wish) you can make the most of them.  


Another reason there are so many competency models is that as society continues to evolve, more or less attention is given to different characteristics. Each of these 31 models were created at a specific moment in history. Ours is different because it is designed to change over time through automated processes that continuously evaluate the top skills required by employers of OD practitioners, and course work across different university OD programs. 


Unlike other competency models, however, not all of these competencies are required or even preferred by jobs that primarily exercise OD but assume different career classifications such as Talent Development, Human Resource Development, and Strategic Human Resources. Rather than trying to acquire the entire exhaustive range of OD competencies, next you'll learn how your "Calling" makes it easier to understand which competencies you should focus on developing at this point in your journey. If you'd like to see how your assessment differs from (but also syncs with other OD Competency models), click on the OD Competency Model Map above. 

More than a Career

Which OD Outcomes would be the most fulfilling for you?

What is your most preferred OD Identity?

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Which OD Approach would bring you the most joy?

What is your preferred Mastery of OD competencies?

The Calling!

It's undeniable. Many OD professionals, despite the challenges they face, absolutely love their jobs. We call this the "OD Calling" and its a kind of joy that blurs the lines between work and life (in a good way!). To assess what makes an OD career a calling, our assessment has its roots in four questions that are key to identifying meaningful work, according to an ancient Japanese wisdom tradition called Ikigai, which translates as: reason for being. When combined, your answers to these four questions can reveal a career path that is most meaningful, rewarding, and impactful (compared with other OD careers). Much has been written about this wisdom tradition, and its many natural connection with recent articles and views about meaningful work. These basic questions include:

  1. What type of change do you wish to influence?
  2. What type of work-lifestyle do you desire?
  3. What are your unique talents?

  4. What activity brings you the most joy?

Many characteristics of this model make it particularly appealing for the context of OD careers. In addition to containing questions that focus on change (a primary outcome in OD) and meaning-making (a primary process in OD) , Ikigai is often used in coaching sessions to assist with career exploration. Each of these questions have two primary preferences. This results in 16 different combinations (OD Career Callings). Our analysis demonstrates that while some callings are more common than others, there is representations of all callings in education and career opportunities.

Organizational vs. Societal

Those who prefer Organizational Outcomes experience a greater fulfillment by working on projects related with organizational change, which includes the development of a competitive strategy, employee engagement, business performance, agility, design, ethics, employee wellness, and process efficiency. On the other hand, those who prefer Societal Outcomes experience greater fulfillment by improving organizations that work on societal issues. Satisfaction is derived from working directly on societal change efforts such as community development, social justice, environmental sustainability, income equality, establishing healthy food sources, and addressing unethical governments.

Classic vs. Innovative

Those who prefer a Classic Approach are more likely to enjoy a step-by-step, scientific, and objective approach to change that engages in diagnosis, problem solving, and changing behaviors. This is also known as the "Diagnostic" approach to OD, and it still has a very large following. On the other hand, those who prefer a more Innovative Approach are more likely to enjoy a "Dialogic", subjective, and emergent approach to change that facilitates sense-making and the transformation of mindsets. The Innovative Approach includes both "Dialogic" OD and relatively newer "Conscious OD" paradigms.

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Hybrid vs. Pure

Those who gravitate toward a Hybrid OD Identity tend to feel more at home in career roles that are adjacent or partially overlap the OD profession, marked by a preference for some but not all OD job characteristics. According to our research, OD is now diffused or merged into professions that include Talent Development, Human Resources, Human Resource Development, Management Consulting, DE&I, and Executive Coaching. Still, those with a Hybrid  preference can still appreciate and adopt additional characteristics of Pure OD practitioners, who identify only as OD professionals (i.e. "OD Proper"), and hold titles that are strictly named OD and attend only to matters of OD as defined mainly by university educators. 

Specialized vs. Broad 

Those who prefer a Specialized mastery of OD tend to gravitate to just one or two specific approaches (e.g. Appreciative Inquiry), and many with great success! However, they do not prefer to possess the remarkably extensive, Broad mastery of knowledge, skills, and abilities that represent all three core competency domains discussed above (Social, Technical, and Influence).  Those who prefer a Broad Mastery may serve a wide range of organizational roles as they have an ample number of OD frameworks, tools, and approaches. Broad Mastery also requires a deep knowledge of the theoretical and psychological underpinnings of OD work. 

What Sets you Apart?


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