MSOD Courses

The MSOD program requires a minimum of 40 units of course work taken in the following sequence:

Trimester I

MSOD 611. Foundations and Orientation to Organization Development (2 units)

This course orients students to the expectations of the MSOD program and provides an overview of the main theories and thought leaders in the field of organizational development. This course establishes the foundations of organization development; the fundamental principles, values, and aspirations of positive change effort. Students will engage with each other and with faculty using a variety of virtual learning platforms.

MSOD 612. Intensive 1: Individual Development and Change (4 units)

This course introduces one of the hallmarks of the Pepperdine Master of Science Degree in Organization Development, that of understanding the role of ongoing personal development in sustainable strategic change and in the dynamics of consulting. Developing ones' whole self as an "instrument of change" requires a sophisticated understanding of the dynamics of human learning and development. Course content and experiential activities use principles from the interdisciplinary framework of interpersonal neurobiology (IPNB). At the end of this session students will have embodied a process for fostering ongoing self-awareness, insight and action in service of personal well-being and professional effectiveness. Our values-based curriculum demands a commitment to one's own personal learning as well as a commitment to the learning of others. This foundation provides a base upon which the practitioner then learns the additional theory and skills to make substantive professional contributions to the implementation of sustainable strategic change. Change toward higher performance at all levels, including a consideration of the human, environmental, social and economic impact of change.

Trimester II

MSOD 613. Foundations of Organization Theory and Group Dynamics (2 units)

The purpose of this course is to introduce concepts and theories related to the broad field of organization theory. Adopting an open systems perspective, organization theory explains the relations among organization environments, strategy, organization design, groups, technology, and culture and effectiveness. Students are expected to reflect on their performance and learning in Intensive 1 as a contribution to their point of view portfolio, integrate those learnings into the frameworks explored in this course, and mobilize for class and field assignments in Intensive 2.


MSOD 614. Intensive 2: Small Systems Dynamic and Design (4 units)

Definitions and improvement of group, intergroup, and interpersonal effectiveness are the focus of this course. Assessment methods for performance in small systems and intervention methods for creating and managing change in these systems are also covered. Specific topics include: group dynamics, team development, organization design; performance coaching; conflict resolution; team and intergroup development; and consulting skills.

Trimester III

MSOD 615. Foundations of Culture and Globalization (2 units)

The purpose of this course is to introduce concepts and theories related to globalization and culture. As organizations prepare for conducting business in the 21st century, their people need the ability to transverse organizational and country boundaries. Students prepare for their first international session by addressing culture and its dimensions from three levels: the family culture, the country culture and the organization's culture. Cross cultural interactions are anticipated and the challenges inherent in working in countries other than one's own are identified. Students are expected to reflect on their performance and learning in Intensive 2 as a contribution to their Point of View Portfolio, integrate those learnings into the cultural frameworks explored in this course, and mobilize for class and field assignments in Practicum 1.

MSOD 622. Organizational Culture and Consulting Skills (4 units)

This course in the MSOD program is designed to equip students to understand and apply impacts of culture on decision-making and long-term organization effectiveness. It also emphasizes the application of consulting skills to organization development. Some of the issues to be covered include adapting organization development strategies to the culture in which one is working, and the interrelationship among individual, organizational, and cultural values. We will explore, adapt, and apply concepts form organization culture.

Trimester IV

MSOD 616. Practicum 1: OD Practitioner as Global Citizen and Strategist (4 units)

The skills and knowledge required for a global practitioner of change is the focus of this course. It extends the fundamental principles and skills of organization development by utilizing an unfamiliar cultural environment to leverage understanding of the “self as an instrument of change,” develop cross cultural skills and hone research skills. Basic principles of anthropology, sociology, political science, economics, and psychology are explored as foundational theories to organization development. Topics include culture of origin and cross-cultural awareness of attributes that align or create stress; artifacts and their underlying assumptions and values of culture; dynamics of conducting research in a non-native land. Working with local experts, students ascertain the merits of investment in primary industries in the region. Researching various functions and trends, such as environmental sustainability or virtual workforces, students determine their desirability as possible benchmarks for other countries or organizations to emulate. A focus on the student’s personal and professional growth to become strong leaders of change culminates in the creation of an individualized model of cultural entry useful to transverse across countries and disparate organization cultures to become a global citizen able to work in a broad array of work settings.

Trimester V

MSOD 617. Foundations of Large Systems (2 units)

The purpose of this course is to introduce concepts and theories related to complexity and large systems. To achieve high performance, an organization’s strategies, structures, and processes must be designed to support each other and to fit appropriately into its environmental context. The focus of this course is on the systemic, normative, and diagnostic considerations associated with designed an organization’s strategic orientation. Building on the open systems perspective introduced earlier, this course extends the understanding of the relationship among organization environments, strategy, organization design, groups, technology, and culture and effectiveness. Students are expected to reflect on their performance and learning in Practicum 1 as a contribution to their point of view portfolio, integrate those learnings in the frameworks explored in this course, and mobilize for class and field assignments in Practicum 2.

MSOD 618A Practicum 2A: International OD and Large-Scale Systems Change (4)

Building on Small Systems Dynamics and Design, this course continues the focus on international situations and builds the capacity to manage planned change accordingly. Recognizing that organizations exist in social, political, and economic environments that change rapidly and unpredictably, this course deals with planned change in an organization’s strategy, organization design, and other large-scale and multi-organizational systems. Finally large-scale interventions are explored including employee involvement, work design, organizational learning, trans-organizational development, and effective use of large group dialogue methodologies.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Deepen their understanding of the relationship between individual and large and complex systems change.
  • Develop a practical understanding of assessing and intervening at the systems level
  • Understand and apply large scale change methodologies including appreciative inquiry as an OD philosophy and methodology.
  • Develop view of how large-scale change leadership benefits from the knowledge, expertise, and skills drawn from the field of OD and in particular how they personally might increase their influence and effectiveness in this function of the enterprise
  • Further refine a personal model of global practice.

Grading Basis: CR/NC/I

MSOD 618B Practicum 2B: International OD and Complex Systems Change (2)

Understanding that unpredictable and volatile environments can create significant impact on organizations, this course places emphasis on the use of Complexity and Chaos theory as a means of navigating change in such environments. Assessment models, intervention theories, intervention design, survey and other data collection and analysis methods, planning of complex change, and political processes in complex systems are examined. Additionally, managing strategic reorientations, mergers and acquisitions, and technological change are considered.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Deepen their understanding of the relationship between individual and complex systems change.
  • Apply Systems and Complexity/Chaos theory frameworks to large-scale transformations and change leadership.
  • Build understanding of emergent phenomenon in the formation of critical dialogue in community building as a practice of OD intervention.
  • Further refine a personal model of global practice.

Grading Basis: CR/NC/I

Trimester VI

MSOD 619. Foundations of Collaboration (2 units)

The purpose of this course is to introduce concepts and theories related to collaborations and other forms of trans-organization development. Continuing and expanding on the open systems and complexity perspectives developed earlier, collaborative systems describe the relationships, motivations, and drivers of effectiveness among organizations, governments, citizens, non-governmental organizations, and shared domains (e.g., poverty, climate change, water quality) of interest. Students are expected to reflect on their performance and learning in MSOD 618 Practicum 2: International OD and Large-Scale Systems Change as a contribution to their point-of-view portfolio, integrate those leanings into the framework explored in this course, and prepare for class and field assignments in MSOD 620 Trans-Organizational Systems and Strategy.

MSOD 620A. Practicum 3A: Trans-Organizational Systems (4 units)

A total systems approach to planned change is required to create optimal, lasting change. In this third project-oriented and international session, the course emphasizes the development of total system and network-oriented change strategies, the development and sustenance of alliance and trans-organizational collaborations, and the integration of intervention methods for structural, human systems, managerial, cultural, and technological changes. There is an explicit interest in applying organization development technologies to issues of social and environmental sustainability.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Explain model or framework of collaboration and transorganization development
  • Describe how your “point of view,” developed in prior sessions and assignments, has changed as a result of performing project work in the host country
  • Describe how the design principles of large systems change processes were adapted (or needed to be adapted further) to fit into a host country culture.
  • Plan and apply an evaluation strategy to OD interventions.
  • Defend the behavioral and verbal choices made in live case study engagements
  • Apply international organization development and change management principles to country and global issues, specifically in a Chinese context.

Grading Basis: CR/NC/I

MSOD 620B. Practicum 3B: Future Forms of Organization (2 units)

This course integrates the entire MSOD curriculum, especially focusing on students’ in-depth development and articulation of their own practice point-of-view and research regarding organization development. Current issues facing organizations in the planning and management of change and recent advances in organization development and change are discovered and discussed. Topics will emerge depending on the state of the field, but may include topics like: the impact of technological change and globalization on organization design and on how people work, the role of leadership in managing innovation and creativity, sustainability, and processes of futures research. The research and practice of organizational endings is presented and experienced.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Demonstrate their integrated knowledge by taking a final integrative exam
  • Demonstrate their professional and personal competence in OD through completion of the learning contract
  • Explore changes facing them in the future
  • Learn about organizational endings and practice closings
  • Return to a reflection about “self as instrument”

Grading Basis: CR/NC/I

MS in Organization Development Questions

Accreditation