What Can You Do With a Degree in Organizational Development?
For businesses to succeed in our ever-changing world, they need to adapt, improve, and build a strong workplace culture. The people who are often the best poised to achieve all of this are those with organizational development skills.
Organizational development tends to be confused with business administration. Organizational development (OD) tends to involve an in-depth psychological understanding of organizations—from employee behavior to company structures. As our working culture continues to shift, those with organizational development degrees are at the forefront of exciting changes.
If you’ve ever considered an organizational leadership degree, this guide is for you. Let’s look at seven of the best-matched organizational development jobs for OD candidates.
#1 Training and Development Management Role
Training and development managers write, review, update, and implement instructional materials in the workplace. As part of larger organizations, a development manager might supervise several specialists, helping to coordinate skill training and seminars for workers.
Training managers deliver content in various formats, including:
- In-person presentations
- Video tutorials
- Computer-based learning modules
- Written documents
Whether they’re onboarding new staff or overseeing additional training for current employees, training and development managers are skilled at keeping an organization on the right path.
#2 Organizational Change Management Role
Just like our world, organizations are constantly changing—and organizational change managers ensure everything goes as planned.
These managers are usually part of a larger team that aims to smooth out transitions within a company. As a change manager, you’ll be in charge of identifying how and when organizational changes should occur, as well as who needs to be involved.
Changes within a business might include:
- New management or significant role changes
- The implementation of new technology
- A restructuring of organizational hierarchy
- Major shifts in policy or external processes
In many of these cases (and more), organizational change managers ensure that budget and time constraints are respected by delegating tasks to team members.
#3 Human Resources Management Role
If you’re a people person, human resources (HR) might be your calling. HR managers are the link between the company and its employees.
As an HR manager in a smaller organization, you might be the sole human resources worker in charge of recruiting, consulting, resolving conflicts, and more.1 In a corporation with hundreds of employees, you’ll likely direct a team of human resource specialists.
Other HR manager responsibilities include overseeing employee compensation and administering non-wage benefit programs.
#4 Labor Relations Specialist Role
Labor relations specialists work primarily in union settings, helping employers and employees agree on wages, benefits, and company practices. Who better to work in such a position than someone who understands organizational psychology?
Apart from drafting and negotiating work contracts, labor relations specialists also guide disciplinary action, act as a liaison between groups, and provide training to management staff. With the knowledge of employment law and conflict management that you could receive as an organizational development student, you’re better equipped to make a difference within the workforce.
#5 Diversity and Inclusion Specialist Role
Diversity and inclusion roles are relatively new in the workforce, but they’re on the rise—D&I job postings have grown 30% year over year.2
Working as a diversity officer or manager means ensuring that equality, diversity, and inclusion are priorities in the organization. Depending on the exact role, your responsibilities may include:
- Assessing hiring practices
- Developing and deploying programs that increase diversity
- Changing company culture
- Making sure all employees feel safe and welcome
- Reviewing metrics around age, race, gender, sexuality, and more
Studies have shown that a diverse workplace is an effective workplace, and a degree in organizational development could give you the tools to build such an environment.3
#6 Business Analyst Role
If you prefer sifting through nitty-gritty datasets to tell a story, a behind-the-scenes business analysis role may be for you. This statistical approach to organizational development involves crunching numbers to understand why changes occur within an organization.
For example, if employee turnover at a specific location starts increasing, a business analyst specializing in organizational development would look for the reasons. From there, they'll build reports for management using the data they’ve uncovered.
It may not be glamorous, but organizational analysis is a vital role within evolving industries.
#7 Organizational Development Consultant
At the highest level of organization development, there are consultants. While highly-experienced consultants may be hired as employees, they are more likely to bounce from business to business, advising executives on potential organizational changes.
As an organizational development consultant, you might also turn your focus from an organization’s internal issues to their external perception. Through your understanding of business psychology, you could work with marketing and sales departments to ensure overall company values are being presented to the public.
Organize Your Own Development at Alliant International University
As companies continue to recognize the importance of workplace culture and employee satisfaction, the organization development job market is likely to expand. If you hope to be a part of it, the Organization Development Program at Alliant International University could be an excellent stepping stone to rewarding jobs, such as organization development consultant, organization development specialist, organization development manager, etc., whether you’re in the middle of your career or just beginning.
Working closely with a cohort of like-minded students, you’ll learn about organizational development from working professionals to help you better prepare for placement in the workforce. Contact us to learn more, or apply today!
- “Human Resources Managers : Occupational Outlook Handbook.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, December 14, 2021. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/human-resources-managers.htm#tab-2. Accessed: December 30, 2021.
- Gilchrist, Karen. “Hiring Experts Expect Demand for This Role to Surge in 2020 - and It Can Pay a Median of $126,000.” CNBC. CNBC, January 2, 2020. https://www.cnbc.com/2020/01/02/demand-for-diversity-and-inclusion-prof…. Accessed: December 30, 2021.
- Hunt, Vivian, Dennis Layton, and Sara Prince. “Why Diversity Matters.” McKinsey & Company. McKinsey & Company, March 12, 2021. https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/people-and-organizational-p…. Accessed: December 30, 2021.