Skip to navigation menu

Skip to main content

Executive Education Programs in Change and Consultation
Teachers College, Columbia University
Teachers College
Columbia University

TC Navigation

Curriculum > Our Perspective on Change

Our Perspective on Change

The field of organization development and change originated and grew in response to relevant social and business issues, and we believe it needs to do so again today in response to the global economic crisis and the various challenges facing contemporary for-profit, non-profit and governmental organizations. The pressure to reduce workforces, to do more with less and to work ‘smarter’ present an opportunity for committed individuals to exercise leadership and ensure that organizations function efficiently and effectively in rapidly changing and increasingly interconnected global contexts.

The Executive Masters Program in Change Leadership helps executives develop the point of view and the requisite skills and abilities needed to intervene and actively to manage any number of organizational transformation efforts. More specifically, with respect to organization change, we believe that:

1.    Organizations are best understood as open systems that are dependent on and continually interacting with the environment in which they reside.

2.    Within any open system, all parts of that system exist in a series of interdependent, embedded relations with each other that are multi-level, multi-causal and increasingly complex.

3.    Given this complexity, it is impossible to understand individual and collective behavior in organizations without understanding the context in which that behavior occurs.

4.    Part of understanding the contextual nature of behavior in organizations is recognizing that it consists of both overt actions as well as covert processes that are under the surface.

5.    The overt and covert aspects of organizational life must be fully understood in order to intervene successfully in any client system.

6.    Successful intervention requires that individual change leaders learn how to use both theory and experience in reflective, systematic and adaptive ways.

Our goal then is not simply to advise you about what to do with respect to leading change in your organizations, but instead to offer a theory and research-based way to think about doing so. In short, we believe that how you see change will set you apart even more than what you do when faced with it.