Organizational development and change books

This list is by no means meant to be a “best of” or exhaustive work – it’s a few books we’ve noted along the way.

  • Process Consultation – Edgar Schein’s two-volume work on process consultation. We recommend this for internal and external consultants. Discounted to $31.88 per volume. Volume I | Volume II.
  • The Service Profit Chain – ties employee and supplier factors with long-term success. Packed with useful information and well-placed anecdotes. The authors write about both gains and pains of change, and where companies fell short; this makes the lessons safer to apply.
  • Managing Customer Value – Roger Gale’s seminal book on assessing and increasing market share and profitability through enhanced customer value. Currently $23.07.
  • New Perspectives in Job Enrichment – Very valuable in supporting involvement, innovation, and empowerment. Describes job enrichment, its advantages, and evidence for its success (experiments and field studies). Not the usual “here’s your latest fad!” book. Available used at reasonable prices.


  • Motivation Through the Work Itself – details on how one company helped to reduce costs and increase quality by changing the way people work – a cheap and effective method. Strong details and a critical (“let’s test it and see”) approach make this book more credible than most. It also looks at a variety of different job types, including skilled, unskilled, and professional. Available used at reasonable prices.
  • Employee Turnover (1995) – an overview of the causes and effects of turnover. More than enough depth for most readers.
  • Getting to YesThis short paperback is easy to read, with more useful information than many fat hardcovers. The authors’ approach is to be hard on the problem, but soft on the people involved, so neither your relationship nor your position suffer when you gain an agreement. They show ways to deal with people who don’t negotiate fairly. A bargain at $10.36.
  • Bullseye: Hitting Your Strategic Targets Through MeasurementOrganizations which use strategic measurement seem to have much higher return on investment than those which don’t.
  • I Saw What You Did and I Know Who You Are. Recognition may be the cheapest and least used way to get more out of your employees, and your own life. Janis Allen shows how to recognize other people so the message they hear is positive and effective. Dispels some misconceptions.
  • The Leadership Challenge: How to Keep Getting Extraordinary Things Done in Organizations by James M. Kouzes, Barry Z. Posner, and (now) Tom Peters. The title says it all. An interesting book, and this is the second (updated) edition.
  • Corporate Culture and Performance, by John P. Kotter and James L. Heskett.
  • In Search of Excellence – the Peters and Waterman best-seller at 20% off ($12.79). Still has a great deal to say to managers and consultants. Well organized and highly readable.


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