Appreciating Organization Development On a Global Scale
Master of Science in Organization Development student Jeannine Luna ’18 recently embarked on a journey to England and Spain for an Academic Global Immersion trip.
What made her want to go? Many reasons, she said, but a primary focus was her interest in gaining a new perspective by branching out of her everyday environment.
“As a part-time student and full-time professional, I had been busy and focused for the past 18 months. This trip brought the opportunity to take a pause on the rest of my life over a week, and really focus on what I’ve been learning in school,” Luna said.
Over the course of the nine-day trip, Luna had the opportunity to visit a variety of organizations.
“Our first visit was to AMC International in London,” said Luna. “They shared the history of their company, which involved US-based entertainment company AMC, expanding into Europe by acquiring a London-based company. This brought challenges that we’ve been taught to expect, including managing the merging of company cultures.”
In Spain, Luna met with representatives from Mondragon Corporations, “the world’s largest employee-owned collective.” She said, “This visit really made me ponder the power and import of unique communities.”
Luna explained the important Organization Development concept of looking at the system as a whole, especially in the context of a different regional and cultural environment.
The unique cultural attributes—including a tendency to dedicate themselves to one company, a desire to stay close to their families, and a fierce loyalty to their region—appear to have an important impact on the success of Mondragon. ... I’ve learned in my study of OD to pay attention to all components of a system when helping an organization deal with change. These include the outside environment as well as the organization itself.
Luna’s last organization visit was also in Spain, at the start-up Ve Interactive, where students had the opportunity “to roll up [their] sleeves and workshop a problem in small groups.” Luna said the familiarity of the exercise was inspiring. “The method of thinking holistically and maintaining a human-focus helped us come up with solutions that I believe could be impactful.”
Luna said, “This trip reinforced that I’ll always be a lifelong learner. There is so much wisdom in the world that can be accessed by exploring and connecting.” But is Organization Development globally relevant? Luna said yes
“When I embarked upon the journey of this graduate program 18 months ago, I had the sincere hope that OD matters. As I progressed through the program, in each class I found relevance to my own work experiences and gained inspiration and lessons learned in a variety of settings,” she explained. “This global immersion experience helped me gain an even broader view, and I’m glad to come back to the US with the confidence that OD absolutely still matters in a global context.”
By Lonny Wysard