Kurt Lewin and the harwood studies: The foundations of OD

Bernard Burnes

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    This article examines the importance to the study of organizational change and development of the first phase of the Harwood studies, which were conducted between 1939 and 1947. It examines the studies and their place within Lewin's broader research agenda and personal philosophy. The article shows that the Harwood studies marked a significant break with the past by moving research on group behavior from the laboratory to the real world, changing the focus of research from understanding group behavior per se to understanding and changing group behavior, and pioneering the use of participative management. The article concludes that the first phase of the Harwood studies can be seen as having laid the foundations of organization development (OD) and as having a continuing relevance to the challenges facing organizations today. © 2007 NTL Institute.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)213-231
    Number of pages18
    JournalJournal of Applied Behavioral Science
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2007


    • Harwood
    • Kurt Lewin
    • OD
    • Planned change


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