Organization Development and Knowledge Management Curriculum

The Master's in Organization Development and Knowledge Management (ODKM) at the Schar School is a 35- to 38-credit executive format program. Students work in teams and complete most of the courses in sequence. The second academic year includes an action learning component, in which participants undertake projects in organizations and apply research methods. Overall, the process and methods of evaluation stress the cumulative development of competencies and the capacity to apply the insights gained. Successful completion of the following courses is necessary to fulfill the course requirements of the program.


CORE COURSES (11 courses | 35 credits)

Students are required to take the following core courses:

ODKM 600 – Foundations of Organization Development and Knowledge Management
This introduction to organizations, management, and work examines ideas and practices from two perspectives: conventional ones that go back to the industrial age and scientific management; and contemporary ones that have to do with organizing knowledge-work.

ODKM 605 – Group Dynamics and Team Learning
Engaging in unstructured and semi-structured learning environments, students will learn how to facilitate team learning for organizational effectiveness. By exploring various aspects of group dynamics such as power, perception, motivation, leadership, and decision-making, students will develop various competencies to manage teams and enhance their emotional and appreciative intelligence.

ODKM 610 – Social and Organizational Inquiry
Introduces participants to the ethics, conduct and evaluation of research into human, social and organizational realities. Explores relationships between what and how we measure and what we find. Students develop the capacity to reflect on themselves as research instruments, on their own impact on the systems under study, and on the impact of the research assumptions, framing and approach both on the results obtained and on the future development of those systems.

ODKM 621 Foundations of Coaching
Introduces participants to theories that underpin the relatively new field of coaching in organizations. Explores the history and development of the field and its usefulness in the practice of organizational development.

ODKM 715 – Creating Learning Organizations
Focuses on the epistemological and ontological implications of organizational life in the twenty-first century. Reevaluates traditional management approaches in light of global economies, instantaneous communication, changing technologies, and diverse workgroups in knowledge economies. Special attention to developing skills for "double- and triple-loop learning," and reflection in professional lives through learning conversations, journals, narrative, autobiography, and imaginative literature.

ODKM 730: Facilitation & Design Thinking
This course exposes students to fundamental facilitation skills that can be used to manage conflict and enable effective dialogue, as well as a reusable process for building agendas with leading practices in group process. Students will learn and demonstrate core competencies in facilitating meetings in a simulated environment and be asked to identify and reflect on opportunities to put these skills into action.

ODKM 722 Coaching and Organization Development:
This course engages students at the cutting edge of transformational organizational change, in both theory and practice, that is beginning to emerge through synergies between the disciplines of coaching and organization development. 

ODKM 725 – Knowledge Management and Collaborative Work
An in-depth look at knowledge management, both theory and practices, which distinguishes between technology-oriented KM practices and people-oriented ones, with an emphasis on leveraging and sharing knowledge to get work done well and develop more effective organizations. Examines effective ways of organizing knowledge-work, including social networks, communities of practice, and the use of collaborative technologies. 

ODKM 732 – Leadership and Social Justice
This course challenges participants not just to theorize leadership and social justice but to inhabit them. Reflective understanding and practice span: inner journeys, interpersonal relationships, organizations, and large-scale systems. With globalization, ethical leadership requires understanding diverse perspectives and complex systems. Outward leadership relies on inner leadership. Participants cultivate personal leadership philosophy and practice through engaging in real-life challenges. 

ODKM 735 – Organizational Development Practices
Students develop applied knowledge of various organizational development practices such as action research and appreciative inquiry. Includes simulations to understand the complexities of real-world change management. Group projects with selected organizations will help students develop their diagnostic and analytical skills to become better facilitators of organizational learning. 

ODKM 740 – Learning Community 
Using workshops, seminars, simulations, and structured experiences, students will learn how to build a learning Community of Practice (CoP) as practitioners of organization development. They will also reflect upon the community building experience using research findings and design practice sessions to apply the lessons learned to the work environment. 

ELECTIVES (1 course | 3 credits)

Select elective courses of your choosing. Courses vary semester to semester, but past elective courses may be viewed on the degree requirements page.


PUBP 794 – Internship (3 credits)
A signature part of the ODKM program is the experiential requirement, where students gain hands-on experience in their field. This 3-credit internship is required; however, for students with appropriate work experience, this requirement can be waived with the approval of the program director or dean.