Toward A Theory of Humanized Organization Development


  • Chararinchon Satian School of Human Resource Development, National Institute of Development Administration (NIDA), Thailand
  • Sombat Kusumavalee School of Human Resource Development, National Institute of Development Administration (NIDA), Thailand


Humanized organization development, Workplace spirituality, Complexity, Theory-building research


Under the current complex phenomena, organization management involves a certain number of challenges that organization theorists have to work upon. The rationale of this study is to overcome the philosophical challenge and the practical problems in organization development (OD). The OD practical problems include OD’s undefined and unclear boundaries with a significant declining trend and the unaligned collaboration between academics and practitioners, while the OD philosophical challenge involves the influential power of Newtonian science. This study aimed to revitalize the OD discipline by integrating the paradigm of postmodernism and the human spiritual dimension, intending to propose the construction of Humanized Organization Development (HOD). This study employed a theory-building research method by following Lynham’s General Method (Lynham, 2013), integrated with Van de Ven's Engaged Scholarship (Van de Ven, 2011). As the result, the conceptual framework of HOD consisted of three paradigms: complexity, dialogic OD, and workplace spirituality. Finally, emerging constructs and conceptualizations of HOD were proposed that included the HOD foundation, process, and practice.


Adam, T., & Benzer, J. (2000). Conceptualization and measurement of the spiritual and psychological dimensions of wellness in a college population. Journal of American Health, 48(4), 165-174.

Ajala, E. M. (2013). The impact of workplace spirituality and employees’ wellbeing at the industrial sector: the Nigerian experience. The African Symposium, 13(2), 3-13.

Anderson, D. L. (2010). Organization development: The process of leading organizational change. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Bartunek, J. M., & Woodman, R. W. (2012). The spirits of organization development: Why OD lives despite its pronounced death. In K. S. Cameron & G. M. Spreitzer (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of positive organizational scholarship (pp. 727-736). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Beckhard, R. (1969). Organization development: Strategies and models. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.

Benefiel, M., Fry, L. W., & Geigle, D. (2014). Spirituality and religion in the workplace: History, theory, and research. Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, 6(3), 175-187. doi:10.1037/a0036597

Bertalanffy, L. V. (1968). General system theory. New York, NY: George

Braziller. Bradford, D. L., & Burke, W. W. (2005). Reinventing organization development: New approaches to change in organizations. San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer.

Bright, D. S., & Cameron, K. (2010). Positive organizational change: what the field of POS offers to OD practitioners. In W. J. Rothwell, J. M. Stavros, R. L. Sullivan, & A. Sullivan (Eds.), Practicing organization development: A guide for leading change (3rd ed.)(pp. 397-410). San Francisco: CA: Pfeiffer.

Burke, W. W. (2006). Where did OD come from? In J. V. Gallos (Ed.), Organization Development: A Jossey-Bass Reader (pp. 13-38). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Burke, W. W., & Bradford, D. L. (2005). The crisis in OD. In D. L. Bradford & W. W. Burkes (Eds.), Reinventing organization development (pp. 7-14). San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer.

Burnes, B., & Cooke, B. (2012). The past, present and future of organization development: Taking the long view. Human Relations, 65(11), 1395-1429.

Bushe, G. R. (2013). Generative process, generative outcome: The transformational potential of appreciative inquiry. In D. L. Cooperrider, D. P. Zandee, L. Godwin, M. Avital, & B. Boland (Eds.), Organizational generativity: The appreciative inquiry summit and a scholarship of transformation (Advances in appreciative inquiry) (Vol. 4) (pp. 89-122). Bingley, UK: Emerald Press.

Bushe, G. R., & Marshak, R. J. (2009). Revisioning organization development: Diagnostic and dialogic premises and patterns of practices. The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 45(3), 348-368.

Bushe, G. R., & Marshak, R. J. (2014). The dialogic mindset in organization development. In A. B. Shani & D. A. Noumair (Eds.), Research in Organizational Change and Development (pp. 55-97). Bingley, UK: Emerald Group Publishing.

Bushe, G. R., & Marshak, R. J. (2016a). The dialogic mindset: Leading emergent change in a complex world. Organization Development Journal, 34(1), 37-65.

Bushe, G. R., & Marshak, R. J. (2016b). The dialogic organization development approach to transformation and change. In J. Stavros, W. Rothwell, & R. Sullivan (Eds.), Practicing organization development (4th ed., pp. 407-418). San Francisco: Wiley.

By, R. T., Oswick, C., & Burnes, B. (2014). Looking back and looking forward: Some reflections on journal developments and trends in organizational change discourse. Journal of Change Management, 14(1), 1-7. doi:10.1080/14697017.2014.886871

Capra, F. (2002). The hidden connections: A science for sustainable living. New York: Anchor Books. Capra, F. (2007). Complexity and life. In F. Capra, A. Juarrero, P. Sotolongo, & J. V. Uden (Eds.), Reframing complexity (pp. 1-26). Mansfield, MA: ISCE Publishing.

Capra, F. (2015). The systems view of life: A unifying conception of mind, matter, and life. Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy, 11(2), 242- 249.

Chongvisal, R., & Supparerkchaisakul, N. (2017). The role of spirituality at work for enhancing employee engagement. Journal of Behavioral Science, 23(2), 167-186. doi:10.14456/jbs.2017.23

Church, A. H., Hurley, R. F., & Burke, W. W. (1992). Evolution or revolution in the values of organization development: Commentary on the state of the field. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 5(4), 6-23. doi:10.1108/09534819210021438

Daniel, J. L. (2010). The effect of workplace spirituality on team effectiveness. Journal of Management Development, 29(5), 442-456. doi:10.1108/026217 11011039213

Davidson, R. J., Kabat-Zinn, J., Schumacher, J., Rosenkranz, M., Muller, D., Santorelli, S. F., Urbanowski, F., Harrington, A., Bonus, K., & Sheridan, J. F. (2003). Alterations in brain and immune function produced by mindfulness meditation. Psychosomatic Medicine, 65, 564-570. doi:10.1097/01.PSY.0000077505.67574.E3

Dirkx, J. M. (2013). Leaning in and leaning back at the same time: Toward a spirituality of work-related learning. Advances in Developing Human Resources, 15(4), 356-369. doi:10.1177/1523422313498526

Duchon, D., & Plowman, D. A. (2005). Nurturing the spirit at work: impact on work unit performance. The Leadership Quarterly, 16(5), 807-833. doi:10.1016/j.leaqua.2005. 07.008

Duxbury, L., & Higgins, C. (2002). Work-life balance in the new millennium: where are we: where do we need to go? Ottawa: Carleton University School of Busines.

Fanggida, E., Rolland, E., Suryana, Y., & Efendi, N. (2016). Effect of a spirituality workplace on organizational commitment and job satisfaction. (Study on the Lecturer of Private Universities in the Kupang City, Indonesia). Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 219, 639–646.

Garg, N. (2017). Workplace spirituality and employee wellbeing: an empirical exploration. Journal of Human Values, 23(2), 129-147. doi:10.1177/0971685816689741

Giacalone, R. A., & Jurkiewicz, C. L. (2010). The science of workplace spirituality. In R. A. Giacalone & C. L. Jurkiewicz (Eds.), Handbook of workplace spirituality and organizational performance (2nd ed.) (pp. 3-26). Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe.

Grieten, S., Lambrechts, F., Bouwen, R., Huybrechts, J., Fry, R., & Cooperrider, D. (2018). Inquiring into appreciative inquiry: A conversation with David Cooperrider and Ronald Fry. Journal of Management Inquiry, 27(1), 101-114. doi:10.1177/1056492616688087

Hassan, M., Nadeem, A. B., & Akhter, A. (2016). Impact of workplace spirituality on job satisfaction: mediating effect of trust. Cogent Business & Management, 3, 1-15. doi:10.1080/23311975.2016.1189808

Heron, J., & Reason, P. (2008). Extending epistemology within a co-operative inquiry. In P. Reason & H. Bradbury (Eds.), The Sage handbook of action research: Participative inquiry and practice (2nd ed.) (pp. 366-380). London: Sage.

Heylighen, F. (2006). The Newtonian world view. Retrieved May 27, 2021 from

Kahn, R. L. (1974). Organizational development: Some problems and proposals. The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 10(4), 485-502. doi:10.1177/00 2188637401000403

Kauffman, S. (1995). At home in the universe: The Search for the laws of self-organization and complexity. New York: Oxford University Press.

Krishnakumar, S., & Neck, C. P. (2002). The “what”,“why” and “how” of spirituality in the workplace. Journal of managerial psychology, 17(3), 153-164.

Kusumavalee, S. (2018). Ongko ̜̄n Apiwat: Bo ̜̄ribot læ phatthanākān thāng khwāmkhit [Organization evolution: Its context and the development of thought]. Bangkok: The National Institute of Development Administration.

Laloux, F. (2014). Reinventing organizations: A guide to creating organizations inspired by the next stage of human consciousness. Brussels, Belgium: Nelson Parker.

Lynham, S. A. (2013). General method of theory building in applied disciplines. In R. A. Swanson & T. J. Chermack (Eds.), Theory building in applied disciplines (pp. 29- 50). San Francisco: CA Berrett-Koehler.

Malik, M. E., Naeem, B., & Ali, B. B. (2011). How do workplace spirituality and organizational citizenship behavior influence sales performance of FPMG sales force. Interdisciplinary Journal of Contemporary Research in Business, 3(8), 610-620.

Marshak, R. J. (2005). Contemporary challenges to the philosophy and practice of organization development. In D. L. Bradford & W. W. Burke (Eds.), Reinventing organization development: New approaches to change in organizations (pp. 19-42). San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer.

McLean, G. N. (2006). Organization development: Principles, processes, performance. San Francisco: BerrettKoehler.

Milliman, J., Czaplewski, J., & Ferguson, J. (2003). Workplace spirituality and employee work attitudes: An exploratory empirical assessment. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 16(4), 426-447. doi:10.1108/09534810310484172

Mirvis, P. H. (2006). Revolutions in OD: The new and the new, new things. In J. V. Gallos (Ed.), Organization development: A Jossey-Bass reader (pp. 39-88). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Mitroff, I. I., & Denton, E. A. (1999). A study of spirituality in the workplace. Sloan Management Review, 4(4), 83-92.

Mitroff, I. I., Denton, E. A., & Alpaslan, C. M. (2009). A spiritual audit of corporate America: Ten years later (spirituality and attachment theory, an interim report). Journal of Management, Spirituality and Religion, 6(1), 27-41. doi:10.1080/14766080802648698

Morgan, G. (2006). Images of organization (Updated ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Morin, E. (2014). Complex thinking for a complex world: About reductionism, disjunction and systemism. Systema, 2(1), 14-22.

Oswick, C. (2013). Reflections: OD or not OD that is the question! A constructivist’s thoughts on the changing nature of change. Journal of Change Management, 13(4), 371-381. doi:10.1080/14697017.2013.776728

Pandey, A., Gupta, R. K., & Arora, A. P. (2009). Spiritual climate of business organizations and its impact on customers’ experience. Journal of Business Ethics, 88, 313-332. doi:10.1007/s10551-008-9965-z

Pawar, B. S. (2009). Individual spirituality, workplace spirituality and work attitudes: An empirical test to direct and interaction effects. Leadership and Organization Development Journal, 30(8), 759-777. doi:10.1108/01437730911003911

Petsawang, P., & McLean, G. N. (2017). Workplace spirituality, mindfulness meditation, and work engagement. Journal of Management, Spirituality & Religion, 14(3), 216-244. doi:10.1080/14766086.2017.1291360

Pettigrew, A. M. (1985). The Awakening Giant: Continuity and Change in ICI. Oxford: Blackwell.

Phucharoen, W. (2012). Panyāsām thān [Three wisdom bases] [Video file]. Retrieved May 27, 2021 from

Pirkola, H., Rantakokko, P., & Suhonen, M. (2016). Workplace spirituality in health care: An integrated review of the literature. Journal of Nursing Management, 24(7), 859-868. doi: 10.1111/jonm.12398

Promsri, C. (2016). The effects of workplace spirituality and work satisfaction on intention to leave. The Business and Management Review, 7(4), 90-94.

Romme, A. G. L. (2011). Organizational development intervention: An artifaction perspective. The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 47(1), 8-32. doi:10.1177/0021886310390864

Scharmer, C. O. (2009). Theory U: Leading from the future as it emerges. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler.

Scharmer, C. O. (2018). The essentials of theory U: Core principles and applications. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler.

Schwab, K. (2016). The fourth industrial revolution. Cologny, Geneva: World Economic Forum. Shapiro, S. (2014). How meditation changes the brain. Retrieved May 27, 2021 from

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. (2019, July 22, 2019). Newton’s philosophy. Retrieved May 27, 2021 from

Taylor, F. W. (1919). The principles of scientific management. New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers

Van De Ven, A. (2011). Engaged scholarship: Stepping out. Business Strategy Review, 22(2), 43-45.

Waldrop, M. M. (1992). Complexity. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.

Wheatley, M. J. (1992). Leadership and the new science: Discovering order in a chaotic world. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler.

Weick, K. E. (1989). Theory construction as disciplines imagination. Academy of Management Review, 14(4), 516-531.

Werkman, R. (2010). Reinventing organization development: How a sensemaking perspective can enrich OD theories and interventions. Journal of Change Management, 10(4), 421-438. doi:10.10 80/14697017.2010.516489

Worley, C. G., & Feyerherm, A. E. (2003). Reflections on the future of organization development. The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 39, 97-115. doi:10.1177/0021886303039001005




How to Cite

Satian, C., & Kusumavalee, S. (2023). Toward A Theory of Humanized Organization Development. Journal of Multidisciplinary in Social Sciences, 18(2), 33–46. Retrieved from



Original Articles