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This article discusses what a master’s in organizational development (OD) is, and why you may want to earn one. It describes what you will learn in an organizational development graduate program, and also will detail different jobs available with this degree. Also included is an online degree program where you can earn this advanced degree.

What Is a Masters in Organizational Development?

A master’s degree in organizational development teaches business professionals how to effectively manage a variety of organizations and departments so that the best can be extracted from every employee to achieve company or departmental goals.

An organizational development master’s will provide you with the skills that you need to improve the performance of both the organization and every employee.

An organizational development degree teaches you how to get workers to work together for a common goal, and shows you how to enable the best use of resources through careful planning and controls on the job. Organizational development and management provides a sense of direction to all workers, so that everyone knows what they need to do to achieve the company’s goals.

There are three major areas of organizational development that students in this master’s program will focus on:

Organizational Climate

This refers to the general mood of the organization as affected by employee beliefs and attitudes. The mood or personality of the organization can have a major effect on employee motivation, productivity and satisfaction.

Organizational climate can be groomed and changed with proper skills in leadership and conflict resolution. For example, a master’s program in this field can provide you with the skills to change an organization’s climate to be more energetic, positive and uplifting. This can in turn increase the productivity and profits of the company.

Organizational Culture

This area of organizational development is concerned with the values, norms and behaviors of company workers. Organizations can have cultures of many different kinds. Some may be more family oriented and supportive. Others can be more high risk and entrepreneurial in nature. Others can be high stress and intensely competitive. Different cultures can be more effective for certain types of organizations.

Sometimes an organization’s culture needs to be changed to make it more productive and profitable. A master’s degree in organizational development provides you with the tools to make productive cultural changes in companies.

Organizational Strategy

Organizational strategies are very important to drive the organizational development and change process. Your master’s program will show you how to diagnose, plan, intervene and evaluate organizational strategies that improve company and employee performance.

Why Earn a Master’s in Organizational Development?

A master’s degree in organizational development offers you the skills that are important for leading departments and entire organizations in some cases.

The benefits of strong organizational development skills for your career and company are:

  • Continuous improvement: Organizational development encourages a company to constantly improve their business systems, products, and/or services. A constant improvement cycle embraces change and continuous evolution of the organization.
  • Better communication: Increased communication and feedback within an organization is very important to continuous improvement. Candid and open communication leads to better understanding between people and departments.
  • Employment development: Industries and markets always change, and employees need to change along with them. Development employee skills helps to better meet the demands of the market.
  • More profits: Good organizational development drives profits. Better productivity and innovation directly leads to more profits. Costs also can be reduced by lowering employee turnover and absenteeism.

There are many growing professions and occupations where this master’s degree can be very beneficial to your career development:

Human Resources Director or Manager

Many professionals with an OD degree attain leading positions in human resources departments. Organizational development skills are very important in the human resources department of most companies. You will have the organizational skills to lead an HR department to hire, retain and assign employees to areas that lead to better productivity for the organization as a whole.

Some of the most important duties of HR management professionals that benefit positively from a master’s in organizational development are:

  • Planning and coordinating the workforce of a company to best use each worker’s talents
  • Oversee and plan benefit programs
  • Be a consultant with other company managers and lead them to develop and manage the company more effectively
  • Oversee how the company recruits, interview, selects and hires new employees

All companies want and need to attract, motivate and keep the best employees, and to assign them to jobs that are best for them and the company. HR managers with OD skills are very well suited for doing this. Their highly tuned skills are very useful for overseeing employee relations, and resolving conflicts between departments and individuals.

HR managers also often work with the company’s top executives to work on strategic planning to accomplish long term company goals. Organizational development skills are important here to help you to maximize the value of every employee and to ensure they are used efficiently.

Holders of a master’s degree in OD can work in several occupations related to human resources management, including labor relations, payroll management, and staffing or recruiting management.

The job outlook for HR managers and directors is solid, with 9% job growth anticipated by 2024. As the global marketplace grows more competitive, it is becoming more important for companies to be able to adapt their goals and strategies to stay on top of the competition.

A vital part of doing so is hiring and retaining the best employees and managing staff to accomplish evolving company goals. Organizational development skills can aid you in this process immensely.

The median salary for human resources managers was $106,900 as of May 2016, and the most experienced and educated in the field may earn up to $193,000 per year.

Administrative Services Managers

Administrative services managers are responsible for planning, directing and coordinating all of the supportive services of a company. They will usually organize staff and supervise all of the administrative services that are important to keep an office or department functioning smoothly.

Organizations may rely upon several administrative service managers to oversee important company functions, such as recordkeeping, security, building maintenance, printing and copying, and departmental communications.

Organizational developments skills can help you to do these types of tasks in this occupation:

  • Establish goals and deadlines for departments that align with long term company goals
  • Provide supervision for administrative and clerical workers
  • Recommend changes to procedures and policies that result in better company or department organization and efficiency
  • Plan budgets for company services, equipment and supplies that bear in mind changes in company policies and goals

Overall, effective administrative service managers can use their skills and knowledge to make a serious impact upon the satisfaction and productivity of all workers. This in turn may lead to better company productivity and profits.

Jobs in this field will grow by a healthy 8% by 2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The median pay in this growing field is $90,100 per year, with the top 10% earning in excess of $159,000 per year.

Online Option for Master’s in Organizational Development

Students who are considering this advanced degree may want to earn their Master of Science in Organizational Development from Abilene Christian University. This is a 36-hour, online program that can be completed in two or three years.

This master’s program incorporates conflict resolution, communication, psychology and business/management sciences that will help you to become a better leader of virtually any organization.

Some of the courses that you will take in this organizational development program are:

  • Intercultural Communication
  • Training and Development
  • Persuasion and Social Change
  • Leading Organizational Change
  • Human Resources Management
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Negotiation and Mediation
  • Managing Conflict in the Workplace

Professionals who graduate from this master’s program often have such job titles as chief human resources officer, chief operations officer, human resources manager, training and development manager, and medical and health services manager.

To be considered for admission, students need to provide the following:

  • $50 application fee
  • Bachelor’s program transcripts
  • 0 GPA recommended; some exceptions may be made depending upon the strength of your application
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Statement of purpose – two pages in length
  • Updated resume

Summary

Professionals with a master’s in organizational development have honed the vital skills needed to attain a variety of upper level management positions in almost any industry.

Additional Resources

References

Sady Brown
Written by Sady Brown
Sady Brown is Editorial Strategist for Nogre.com