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Pepperdine | Graziadio Business School

About Kent Rhodes


My name is Kent Rhodes, I'm a professor at Pepperdine University and teach in the MS in Organization Development program.

My background is in counseling and family therapy. I always like to tell the story that when I was taking classes there in family systems theory, I would write in the margins. When I was taking notes, I'd write in the margins about how they impacted organizations. I didn't know OD existed at that point.

I was introduced to OD through the MSOD program at Pepperdine, and I realized that there's a great application to how systems impact how people show up at work and productivity at work, and so I became really interested in that.

Great question about what I want people to remember about my legacy. I've always been about helping people connect more deeply with their true selves and bringing that with them to any organization. Our belief, and it's my belief as well, that is the foundation for change, for any change in an organization. That's kind of what I've been about. I would like for that to be something that I would be remembered about in my legacy there.

As a part of that, I think that people's spiritual selves is really important. I think that we, in our current culture, we've ignored that. And everyone has it, so it's not necessarily a religious thing. This is something about developing people's spirits at work. I think as we move into more of artificial intelligence beginning to influence our organizations, this is going to be a key piece. I hope that I can influence that would be part of my legacy. That would be primarily, I think, what I would like. It goes along with that, though, other things like words that we don't like to use in organizations very much, is like being able to show up with a loving, kind spirit as a way to help organizations be effective and make places where people come together to work, places that also have community, and, again, increased productivity and relationship as well.

I think there's a lot of research writing that needs to be done around some of those topics around spirituality in organizations and how that impacts community and productivity in those organizations. I think there's a lot there that I'd like to try to get out so people can see more of it and begin to think more deeply about how it impacts bringing people to come together, including the applications that could be made in government and nonprofits and businesses across the board there.

I also work with family-owned businesses and do that globally. All of these things, actually, that I'm talking about in terms of legacy and what I want to do in the next 10 years to make a contribution actually come out of that. Because I find that these large, global family businesses have all of these components and are the things that actually make them stand out in the world as being unique organizations, so I want to do more work around that as well, bring that to the forefront.

Yeah, I do. I very firmly believe, and it's been my experience, that the way that OD looks at... The way our approach to OD. It's not just the field of OD, but our approach in terms of self as instrument, is really key and also very unique. I don't think it applies, again, just to businesses. I think this application is necessary and definitely needed across any organization in which people gather. That's government, maybe especially government. It's faith-based organizations. It's large enterprise, educational institutions. I think the application is huge, and the need for good OD thinking is only increasing. I think we're going to continue to see that, so we've got a lot of work to do, I think.