APA Critical Competencies Needed by an OD Practitioner Discussion

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Identify five critical competencies needed by an OD practitioner, and explain why you selected these competencies. Explain how the competencies you selected will benefit both the practitioner and the client.

Being an OD practitioner is a unique position as one typically goes into an organization where they are the outsider being asked to evaluate something already in existence. Not being a part of the culture and not knowing the norms or unspoken rules of an agency put the professional at a disadvantage where they will need to tread lightly, yet confidently. The OD professional must possess some core competencies to undertake this task well and be successful.

Myron Rogers (Laureate Education, 2012a) discusses several critical competencies for the OD professional to possess. First, the practitioner must formulate a personal theory of organizational change. Mr. Rogers asserts that this is an intellectual as well as experiential journey. A theory helps the consultant understand how a system works and is essentially a lens through which the expert views the organization and its unique issues. Having a personal theory is beneficial to both the consultant and client. A personal theory that one has studied and is competent in helps anchor the consultant in their work and points them to the appropriate interventions.This also benefits the organization in that it will help them reach their goals via the strategies the consultant gives them.

Another core competency the OD consultant should possess is knowledge of the tools, skills, and processes congruent with the personal theory they have developed that will help move the organization forward (Laureate Education, 2012a). This includes creatively customizing tools and methods that match the employees and their situation (Institute of Organization Development, 2015). This competency is critical because theory can explain what is happening and why, but interventions and techniques actually achieve outcomes. Without knowledge of what to do, an organization is left with explanations but not outcomes. A consultant must possess a firm grasp on the tools, behaviors, and interactions that will help the organization engage in sustainable change once they are gone. Having this competency benefits the consultant in that it increases their confidence in their ability to provide tangible strategies for the client to learn and practice. Likewise, it benefits the client as they now have new skills to work with to achieve better outcomes moving forward.

A third critical competency is self-awareness. Mr. Rogers (Laureate Education, 2012a) discusses the ability of the consultant to be aware of how they interact with the system. For example, it is important for the consultant to learn how to disengage from their own defensiveness and remind themselves that this process is not about them, but the client. The Institute of Organization Development (2015) lists several competencies under the category of self-mastery such as being aware of how one’s biases influence interaction, clarifying personal boundaries, managing personal biases, and managing personal defensiveness. Self-awareness as a core competency allows the consultant to remain professional at all times and alerts them when a boundary may need to be reinforced. It also promotes adherence to ethical standards. The self-aware consultant can check in with themselves about how they are doing and seek out consultation and feedback as necessary as they are not threatened by their own weaknesses. This benefits the client as they are sure to receive professional, ethical guidance that is tailored to their best interest.

Two additional competencies important to the consultant’s work are humility and compassion (Laureate Education, 2012a). Humility allows the professional to learn from their client and see the client as an expert on themselves and their organization. Humility also allows the consultant to come from a place of being open and willing to learn as opposed to dictating and commanding. Compassion keeps the consultant connected to their humanness and helps them connect to the client, leveling the playing field. While the consultant may be an expert on theories of OD, they are still human and need to connect to their client in a way that facilitates openness to change (International Organization for Group Psychotherapy and Group Processes, n.d.). This competency benefits the consultant as it keeps them in a posture of humility that there is always more to know and this skill will help them more readily gain credibility with the client. It benefits the client as they get to work with a consultant that is not in it for themselves, but truly wants to help the client grow and succeed. The client can feel confident that the consultant is working in their best interest in a collaborative fashion.

Suggest one competency you think an OD consultant must possess to be effective at ethical interventions. Explain why you selected this competency.

A competency that would help an OD be effective in managing ethical interventions would be professionalism. Someone who adheres to a strong sense of professionalism will be protecting and maintaining boundaries and will have a keen perception of ethical dilemmas that may arise. Wooten (2008) presents a list of common ethical issues related to the OD professional such as manipulation and coercion, value and goal conflict, technical ineptness, and limiting knowledge and learning. The consultant that values professionalism will stay in tune with the most current ethical guidelines and best practices according to recent research in the field. The American Psychological Association’s (2017) ethical principles and guidelines for psychologists help the professional stay anchored in the field’s expectations for professionals. They offer guidelines for how to handle ethical dilemmas and the professional can be held accountable for their actions by their governing board.


American Psychological Association. (2017). Ethical principles of psychologists and code of conduct. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/ethics/code/index.aspx

Institute of Organization Development. (2015, December 20). Critical OD competencies to help you become a world-class OD interventionist [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://instituteod.com/iod-announces-7th-annual-od-conference-may-2017/

International Organization for Group Psychotherapy and Group Processes. (n.d.). Ethical guidelines and professional standards for organization development and group process consultants. https://www.iagp.com/docs/IAGPOrgEthicalguidelines…

Laureate Education (Producer). (2012a). Consulting competencies [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Wooten, K. C. (2008). Ethical issues facing O.D. in new paradigm organizations: Back to the future. Organization Development Journal, 26(4), 11–23.

Prof. Angela


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