Organization Development 2.0: Antecedents, Theory, and Practice


© 2018. By Luis A. Marrero, M.A. RODP, LLP

CEO Boston Institute for Meaningful Purpose

February 13, 2018 (Updated July 11, 2019; March 21, 2022)

2016 International Network on Personal Meaning Conference Proceeding, Toronto, Canada

How can we explain the sobering existential problems humanity faces while inundated with knowledge and solutions; and particularly as these problems show up within institutions? ~ Luis A. Marrero ~ 

Within this paradox lies an existential dilemma, one that points to how fundamental flaws in our economic system have influenced management, and organizational theory and design. These fundamental flaws have brought with them an equally distorted view of humans and their motivation, and this faulty outlook explains the paradox.  The following paper describes and shares the constructive contributions from strengths-based Positive and Meaning-Centered psychological approaches, and how they are leveraged in Organization Development.  Meaningful Purpose Psychology (MPP) is described, as well as the MPP approach to Organization Development, including two case studies. The author concludes by explaining what Second Wave Organization Development (OD2.0) is and makes a call to action where Organization Development practitioners are encouraged to consider the evidence, test OD2.0 propositions, interact and learn from current OD2.0 practitioners, and bring about improvements where required.

Keywords: Meaningful Purpose Psychology, Logoteleology, Organization Development, OD2.0


“We increasingly understand that we need a very different model of humanity….”

2013 United Nations World Happiness Report

We live in a time of paradoxes. On the one hand, there are emerging rich, dynamic and exciting trends in the field of Organization Development (OD), such as the contributions of Positive Psychology[i] and the Meaning-Centered Approach (MCA)[ii]. In contrast, based on Gallup, the Edelman Trust Barometer, and the United Nations Happiness Report, we face disturbing and stubborn social and human resource-related trends in our most significant public and private institutions; such as employee disengagement[iii], and the lack of trust toward leadership and organizations.[iv]

With Positive Psychology[v] and Meaning-Centered Psychology as the two main emerging trends, Existential Positive Psychology,[vi] and Meaningful Purpose Psychology (MPP) or Logoteleology[vii] are examples of meaning-centered approaches. Logoteleology in particular, brings a perspective that challenges current assumptions about economies and related influences shaping the meaning and role of work and organizations. Logoteleology Organization Development (LOD) proposes a more practical and in-step proposition. I have coined this view of the meaning and role of organizations, as well as the potential collective benefit of four OD approaches (Classical, Positive, Meaning-Centered Approach (MCA (Wong 2011), and MPP/Logoteleological), as Organization Development 2.0 or OD2.0. [viii]

The disturbing backdrop, on the other hand, is in great measure due to underlying assumptions about our economic system, people, and the role and subsequent design of organizations. Despite current and emerging empirical insights about the meaning and nature of humans, change agents continue to be challenged countering unsettling trends such as the lack of trust and engagement within our institutions. We propose reaching a critical mass of willing and committed leaders and individuals at all levels – in public, political, and private domains – to build more positive, meaningful and prosperous organizations and societies. Ahead, the emergent OD2.0, its opportunities, challenges, and a way forward are explored.

Disturbing Trends

Many reliable indicators – both empirical and intuitive – continue to report perplexing findings. Consider some of Gallup’s article headings: [ix] • 70% of U.S. Workers Not Engaged at Work. • Across Most of the World, the Percentage of Adults With Great Jobs Rarely Tops 10%. • Germany’s Employee Engagement Problem Begins With Managers.

Trust, in our leaders and institutions, continues to be a problem according to the 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer.[x]  On a recent “State of the American Manager” by Gallup, [xi] Jim Clifton, Chairman and CEO of Gallup reported,

  • “The majority of managers working in the U.S. today are wrong for their role.”
  • “Most CEO’s I know honestly don’t care about employees or take an interest in human resources.”
  • “Gallup reported in a world-famous study that only 30% of U.S. employees are engaged at work. Worse, over the past 12 years, this low number has barely budged, meaning that the vast majority of employees are failing to grow and contribute at work.”

Have organizational and political leaders since learned from these past 12 years, and have they corrected course? Not according to Richard Edelman, President and CEO of Edelman. Describing the current state, Edelman titles the 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer Executive Summary: “An Implosion of Trust,”[xii] and starts his summary writing with a disturbing: “It has been a year of unimaginable upheaval.”

The report adds:

“The 2017 Edelman TRUST BAROMETER finds that two-thirds of the countries we survey are now “distrusters” (under 50 percent trust in the mainstream institutions of business, government, media and NGOs to do what is right), up from just over half in 2016. This is a profound crisis in trust that has its origins in the Great Recession of 2008. The aftershocks from the stunning meltdown of the global economy are still being felt today, with consequences yet unknown.”

 “The gap between the trust held by the informed public and that of the mass population has widened 15 points, with the biggest disparities in the U.S. (21 points), U.K. (19 points) and France (18 points). The mass population in 20 countries distrusts their institutions, compared to only six for the informed public.”

As eluded, for the most part, the credibility and engagement problem in other nations is worse than in the United States of America, the United Kingdom, or France. Pertaining the deteriorating statistics in the United States, the United Nations Happiness Report for 2017 states, “In 2007 the USA ranked 3rd among the OECD[1] countries; in 2016 it came 19th. The reasons are declining social support and increased corruption…” [xiii]

Relative to employee engagement results, in Chapter 6 of the same report, titled “Happiness at Work”, authors Jan-Emmanuel De Neve and George Ward correlate the low level of employee engagement with low happiness at work.

Knowledge Explosion

It begs the question “why” when, according to experts [xiv],  human knowledge across all disciplines is doubling every 12 to 13 months, and corporate information doubles every 18 months, we have such dismal results? Additionally, the prognosis at the time of publication was that the rate would increase to doubling every twelve hours! A 2003 American Psychological Association article titled “The Explosion of Knowledge, References, and Citations” [xv] claims that scientific literature at the time of publication was increasing at “…the rate of about 100 per day, about one every 15 minutes.”  So, we are not lacking for answers. And given the sober findings from Gallup, the World Happiness Report, and the Edelman findings, what role has current Organization Development practices and practitioners played? Are OD practitioners part of the problem?

Most CEOs I know honestly don’t care about employees or take an interest in human resources. Sure, they know who their stars are and love them — but it ends there. Since CEOs don’t care, they put little to no pressure on their HR departments to get their cultures right, which allows HR to unwittingly implement all kinds of development and succession strategies that don’t work. [xvi] ~ Jim Clifton, Chairman and CEO, Gallup ~

The Paradox

These conditions and trends have been tracked for at least two decades. By the late 1990’s, what became the central thesis of the author’s first book – The Path to a Meaningful Purpose: Psychological Foundations of Logoteleology – emerged in the form of a paradox:

Mankind, I concluded, does not suffer from a lack of answers. Rather, it suffers despite the answers being available. [xvii]

How does this thesis apply to organizations? We propose that institutions do not reach their potential for a lack of answers, but despite the answers being available.

Slide1It must be said, however, that the author is not the only one highlighting the paradox. According to the authors of The World Happiness Report [xviii] “We live in an age of stark contradictions. The world enjoys technologies of unimaginable sophistication; yet has at least one billion people without enough to eat each day.”

Again, we must ask, how is it that despite the billions of dollars invested in consulting, training, development, and education we are still largely unable to have institutions – public or private — that can competently counter such dismal performance and outcomes? Once more, Organization Development theorists and practitioners should question their impact across the years considering such depressing results.

The unexamined life is no worth living. (Socrates)

Fundamental Flaws

What if we were to confront the reality that some of the fundamentals of our economic system and its influence in management and organizational theory and design are flawed? (Marrero, 2016) [xix] 

Logoteleology claims there are three fundamental operating flaws about humans that undermine well-being and sustained prosperity.

Despite mounting evidence to the contrary,

  1. The bulk of institutions and too many individuals operate under the precept that people dislike work and cannot be trusted – thus need to be extrinsically driven;
  2. Humans are valued for their utility, not for their inherent potential for good and inalienable right to dignity;
  3. Private interpretations and versions of “facts”, “reality”, “right” and “truth”, and “what is best for others” give license to impose zero-sum solutions on others, to practice cut-throat competition, and to carry out hostile physical and psychological acts against fellow human beings.

We use the well-known acronym MIA for “Missing in Action” to describe these distorted views of humans. MIA too stands for Motivation, Identity, and Accuracy. Both definitions represent well a “missed” view of humans, and their specific three underlying flaws. Let’s study each one of these flaws.

Flawed Believes about Motivation

The author credits Dr. Barry Schwartz’s work [xx] for his influence, and for prompting learning from the authors’ early economy courses as a student at Trine University in Indiana, USA. Particularly for reminding the author of the role Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations (1776) played in shaping our view of humans in their role as workers.

Slide1 Adam Smith

Adam Smith

It is in the inherent interest of every man to live as much at his ease as he can; and if his emoluments are to be precisely the same, whether he does or does not perform some very laborious duty, it is certainly his interest, at least as interest is vulgarly understood, either to neglect it all together, or, if he is subject to some authority which will not suffer him to do this, to perform it in a careless and slovenly a manner that authority will permit.  (Adam Smith) [xxi]

In plain English, Adam Smith shared the belief that workers inherently dislike working, will do anything to avoid it, and thus must be extrinsically motivated (through a carrot and stick approach). Does this remind you of Douglas McGregor’s Theory X?

Theory X is an authoritarian style where the emphasis is on “productivity, on the concept of a fair day’s work, on the evils of feather-bedding and restriction of output, on rewards for performance … [it] reflects an underlying belief that management must counteract an inherent human tendency to avoid work” Theory X assumes that individuals are base, work-shy and constantly in need of a good prod. It always has a ready-made excuse for failure—the innate limitations of all human resources. [xxii] 

Well, we believe that Theory X – whether we are aware or unaware of its influence — is still alive and well. Moreover, OD2.0 proposes that this callous view of human beings has permeated management and organizational theory to our detriment. Despite advancements in related fields, to a great degree, extrinsic, mechanical and military thinking worryingly drives management and organizational theory. This has set up conflicting agendas – and more precisely, conflicting values — within many organizations: prioritizing profit over people. In short, it exposes an inherent conflict in the capitalist worldview. Yet again, consider the consistent adverse outcomes as reported by Gallup, the World Happiness Report, and the Edelman Trust report: the symptoms and results from these findings betray Theory X values.

Paychecks can’t buy passion.

~ Brad Federman ~

Is Theory X still practiced in the 21st Century?

Bezos came to believe that an entrenched blue-collar workforce represented “a march toward mediocrity,” as David Niekerk, a former Amazon executive who built the company’s warehouse human resources operations, told The Times as part of a research project being published this morning. “What he would say is that our nature as humans is to expend as little energy as possible to get what we want or need.”
In response, Amazon encouraged employee turnover. After three years on the job, hourly workers no longer received automatic raises, and the company offered bonuses to people who quit. It also offered limited upward mobility for hourly workers, preferring to hire managers from abroad.

The New York Times, June 15, 2021

Flawed Beliefs about the Human Identity

Ponder that in public institutions leaders have a fiduciary responsibility to deliver the best possible return to stockholders. This helps explain why in many organizations stakeholders such as employees, contractors, suppliers and the like are relegated to a lower status as compared to stockholders; and valued, in our opinion, for utility versus inherit worth. Remember what Jim Clifton, Gallup’s Chairman and CEO concluded: most CEO’s do not care about employees.

Slide1 Viktor Frankl

Viktor Frank

“But today’s society is characterized by achievement orientation, and consequently it adores people who are successful and happy and, in particular, it adores the young. It virtually ignores the value of all those who are otherwise, and in so doing blurs the decisive difference between being valuable in the sense of dignity and being valuable in the sense of usefulness. If one is not cognizant of this difference and holds that an individual’s value stems only from his present usefulness, then, believe me, one owes it only to personal inconsistency not to plead for euthanasia along the lines of Hitler’s program, that is to say, ‘mercy’ killing of all those who have lost their social usefulness, be it because of old age, incurable illness, mental deterioration, or whatever handicap they may suffer. Confounding the dignity of man with mere usefulness arises from conceptual confusion that in turn may be traced back to the contemporary nihilism transmitted on many an academic campus and many an analytical couch.” ~ Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

Both our current economic system and managerial philosophy, to a great degree are meant, purposed, and aimed primarily toward the development of wealth, not humans. As I will explain later below, this will help explain why despite the best of intentions and effort, key indicators for happiness, engagement, and trust, remain stubbornly low over many years. We propose that unless we change our core assumptions about the meaning and role of economies, governments, organizations, humans and their motivations, these problems will persist; including the continual dehumanization of people.

Slide1 (2)

Flawed Believes about what should be Accurate or Truth

Slide1 Alfred Adler

Alfred Adler

A private meaning is, in fact, no meaning at all. Meaning is not only possible in communication, for a word which meant something to one person only would really be meaningless. It is the same with our aims and actions, since their only meaning is their meaning for others. ~ Alfred Adler ~[xxiii]

Since antiquity, alternate truths and facts have been a notable sad tactic designed to deceive and manipulate others to one’s will. Rather than seeking shared meaning for constructive win-win cooperation, this devious approach erodes trust and good will. It challenges groups’ ability to find common ground, and hence to exploit human capability to prosper and thrive. Related to finding common ground, Analytical psychologist Dale Mathers asserts “Internally generated meanings require validation by the collective, to avoid solipsism (private language).” He later affirms that “we share co-responsibility for the construction of meaning” and to do so “we must engage in our experience with a kind of democracy of appreciation.[xxiv] This democracy of appreciation – the space where the parties are co-responsible for the construction of shared meaning – requires mutual trust.[xxv] Yet, again, according to Edelman’s findings quoted previously, shared meaning and mutual trust eludes the bulk of humanity.

Why is this so? Why can’t we all agree to a shared definition and meaning of reality and truth? Why the gamesmanship?

…most people are spending time and energy covering up their weaknesses, managing other people’s impressions of them, showing themselves to their best advantage, playing politics, hiding their inadequacies, hiding their uncertainties, hiding their limitations. Hiding.

~ Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey, Harvard University ~

We believe this is directly related to how humans self-define, mean, or represent themselves. To see how, let us review the previous section — Flawed Beliefs about the Human Identity – which ends as follows:

“We propose that unless we change our core assumptions about the meaning and role of an economy, government, organizations, humans and their motivations, these problems will persist; including the continual dehumanization of people.”

Where could such assumptions, if true, come from?

As discussed, we believe one source is Adam Smith’s view of workers’ motivation. These views are not inconsequential concepts; they are forces that shape behavior and dictate decision-making. These forces are generally subconscious, influence our worldview, and decision-making processes.

A second one is the influence of Machiavellian thinking, where being virtuous is

Slide1 Nicolo Machiavelli

Nicolo Machiavelli

considered naïve and even dangerous. Niccolo Machiavelli wrote,

“…for a man who wishes to act entirely up to his professions of virtue soon meets with what destroys him among so much that is evil.

Hence it is necessary for a prince wishing to hold his own to know how to do wrong, and to make use of it or according to necessity.

And again, he [the Prince] need not make himself uneasy at incurring a reproach for those vices without which the state can only be saved with difficulty, for if everything is considered carefully, it will be found that something which looks like virtue, if followed, would be his ruin; whilst something else, which looks like vice, yet followed brings him security and prosperity.”  [xxvi]

In short, the Machiavellian worldview posits that since there are unscrupulous characters out there, one must emulate their behavior, yet in a more ruthless manner; make sure you hit first before others hit you.


Sun Tzu

Another view or force comes from the orient, in Sun Tzu’s Art of War. [xxvii] Tzu’s principles, designed for wars, found their way to political, business and management books throughout the world. A popular approach advocated by Sun Tzu principle is the use of deception, a well-known trust buster.

If you read Machiavelli and Sun Tzu, just to mention two influencing characters, it will not be difficult to understand why the disturbing trends and consequences laid out at the beginning of this paper. Pretending, manipulating, deception and the assault on truth and on finding common ground is as old as humanity. We need not look too far to see these forces operating in political discourse, corporate boardrooms, and in departmental meetings.

Our list of historical characters who influenced the objectification of humans would be incomplete without Charles Darwin (1809-1882). In The Descent of Man, Darwin’s reductionism of man to the level of animals promoted the survival of the fittest theory. Many of his readers implied some social, ethnic, racial, and national groups were destined to either serve the privileged  or to go extinct. Darwin wrote,

“At some period not very distant as measured in centuries the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace throughout the world the  savages races.”


Charles Darwin

As history shows, Darwin’s theory gave licensed to political despots and unscrupulous managers to abuse and demean others.

We should question what opinions (i.e. meaning) we have of others and ourselves that prevent sharing, validating, and leveraging information for meaningful ends and without unscrupulous gamesmanship. As shared in the Disturbing Trends segment above, the indisputable conclusions of our current state of disengagement and trust contrasts with more optimistic views of what is possible when people commit to cooperate and help one another. As will be explained, mainstream reputable schools of Organization Development share optimistic, positive, and meaningful views of humans.

“The only individuals who can really meet and master the problem of life, however, are those that show in their strivings a tendency to enrich all others, who go ahead in such a way that others benefit also. All human judgments of value and success are founded, in the end, upon cooperation; this is the great commonplace of the human race.” ~ Alfred Adler ~ [xxviii]

Milton Friedman 1

Milton Friedman

In addition to the previous characters, another contributing factor dehumanizing people becomes apparent in the debate between those who support the Stockholder ( or Shareholder) Concept Theory or Profit Maximization Theory by Milton Friedman and those who support the more inclusive Stakeholder Concept Theory by R. Edward Freeman. I propose that models that somehow suggest that people are valued for their utility and economic usefulness encourages the objectification of humans. Again, it is worth asking, why would CEO’s not care about employees? What

Slide1 (2)

R. Edward Freeman

role do impersonal economic models play in dismail low employee engagement and the lack of trust in leadership?

Encouraging Trends

We are encouraged by research and in-roads made in the field of psychology, and its contribution to management science. For instance, the author participated in a recent symposium presentation at the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP) Conference in California,[xxix] He was heartened by the contributions of fellow panelists who shared significant inroads in positive identities and diversity, and how to build more humane and productive organizations through strength approaches such as positive psychology’s Appreciative Inquiry,[xxx] and SOAR (Strengths, Opportunities, Aspirations & Results),[xxxi] among others.

We are also encouraged by the role and contributions of the International Positive Psychology Association (IPPA) and the International Network on Personal Meaning (INPM) through positive strength-based and meaning-centered work,[xxxii] respectively. The recent creation of IPPA’s Work and Organization Division is a trend in the right direction. We should also celebrate and support Positive Psychology and related programs by the University of Pennsylvania, The Center for Positive Organizations (University of Michigan), Claremont Graduate University (California), University of East London (UK); University of Roehampton’s Centre for Research in Social and Psychological Transformation (CREST), London (UK); University of Sydney (Australia), The School of Positive Psychology (Singapore); The University of Aarhus (Denmark); Anglia Ruskin University (Cambridge and Paris); and Buckinghamshire New University (High Wycombe, UK); and the Study of Meaning and Quality of Life at the University of Colorado, Fort Collins (USA), among others. Their invaluable research, publications and educational efforts have made this a better world. There are many other unsung heroes, too many to mention here, who deserve credit. However, while these trends are encouraging, there is still much to do.

Social environments can, according to this perspective, either facilitate and enable the growth and integration of propensities with which the human psyche is endowed, or they can disrupt, forestall, and fragment these processes resulting in behavior and inner experiences that represent the darker side of humanity. ~ Edward L. Deci and Richard M. Ryan ~

Meaningful Purpose Psychology (Logoteleology)

Meaningful Purpose Psychology (MPP), or its scientific name Logoteleology, is the scientific study of the meanings that enable people and institutions to thrive and to succeed. The theory proposes that humans give a meaning to themselves, to others, to situations, and to concepts. This meaning — inevitably — precedes every action a person takes.

People act on the basis of meanings. ~ Roy F. Baumeister, Ph.D. ~

The ancestor of every action is a thought. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essays, First Series, 1841 ~

Meaning, according to Viktor Frankl, “is what is meant, be it by a person who asks me a question, or by a situation which, too, implies a question and calls for an answer” and “there is only one meaning to each situation, and this is its true meaning”. [xxxiii]

As a system, meaning entails,

  1. Sensing, receiving, generating and storing (input);
  2. Defining, interpreting, discerning, and solving (process); and
  3. Selecting and forming an intention or aim (output).

We can say that meanings set a person’s life agenda, and always toward a target (self, others, things, situations, and concepts).  For instance,

  1. When we feel an appetite or a craving in our stomach (feelings and sensations mean something) [input]
  2. We discern we are hungry, and thus we solve to eat food [process]
  3. Gratifying our hunger through food becomes the target of our attention. In short, once a meaning is formulated, purposeful action follows. [output]

Meanings can be meaningful, the result of actions that are life enhancing, add value, and in some way benefit society. The meaningful is the outcome of a competent and virtuous character. This is consistent with psychological literature where meaningfulness is defined “as a generally positive or beneficial outcome for individuals and organizations”.[xxxiv] Pratt and Ashforth state, “By ‘meaningful,’ we mean that the work and/or its context are perceived by its practitioners to be, at minimum, purposeful and significant”.[xxxv]

Meanings can also be meaningless, or the outcomes of actions that deplete, harm, and demean individuals, society, and the environment. The dictionary defines meaningless as “without meaning, significance, purpose, or value; purposeless; insignificant.”[xxxvi] Meaningless outcomes are the result of incompetence and/or a flawed character and/or misguided meanings. (In Logoteleology, all behavior is preceded by meanings, and thus we do not imply that meaningless equates a literal “without meaning.” Rather, Logoteleology’s “without meaning” stands for “insignificance”, of low value, or “not making sense”.)

The reader is encouraged to take a moment to reflect on Adam Smith’s notions of human motivation, and Gallup’s Chairman and CEO conclusion where: most CEO’s do not care about employees. If we accept the proposition that a meaning — inevitably — precedes every action a person takes, we would understand how Smith’s (Theory X) meaning helped shaped economic, business, management, leadership, and organizational theories. It can also explain why employees are held in such low esteem by CEO’s. As I will repeat a few times, Adam Smith’s theory on human motivation, a standing Machiavellian view, and the glorification of deception has had a corrosive effect on how many leaders perceive and thus treat people.

Ninety percent of adults spend their waking lives doing things they would rather not be doing at places they would rather not be.  ~ Barry Schwartz, Ph.D. ~

Logoteleology has application in coaching, therapy, counseling, talent as well as leadership and organization development. At the individual level, what these six specialties have in common – through Certified and Licensed Logoteleology Practitioners — is the pursuit of a meaningful life that includes work and other dimensions of the human experience that makes life worth living. In short, logoteleology has a more optimistic and positive view of humans and their potential for good. At the group, organization, and large-scale system levels, MPP raises awareness to current operating meanings, diagnoses their quality, and where appropriate, replaces the meaningless with meaningful options. Such awareness includes understanding the significance and impact of Smith, Machiavelli and Sun Tzu on leaderships’ view of humans and their motivations. In addition, logoteleology aids individuals, groups, and organizations form meaningful meanings for a future of thriving. Hence, logoteleology has remedial as well as renewal and strengths-based tools and methods.

Origins of Second Wave Organization Development (OD2.0)

Logoteleology OD (LOD) gave birth to Second Wave Organization Development or OD2.0

First, LOD theory and method challenges current economic, organizational, business, management and leadership theories and approaches that – consciously or unconsciously – yield meaningless results, as we see from the persistent lack of trust in leaders and institutions, as well as the subsequent engagement problems that exist. To counter the trends of a faulty paradigm, LOD practitioners are trained, for instance, in Logoteleology (Meaningful Purpose) Organizational Theory and Design; and learn to assess organizational meanings to recommend, consult, and lead improvement and transformational efforts.

Second, LOD does not believe that there is “one-best-method” or a “better” school of OD. Rather, it operates from the assumption that context dictates the most appropriate type of change initiative. For that reason, The Boston Institute for Meaningful Purpose  trains leaders and consultants, as well as facilitates change and transformative processes using classical (Lewinian), Positive, Meaning-centered, and particularly Logoteleological OD approaches as demanded by conditions. The term “Lewinian” is used in reference to approaches and methods used and inspired by Kurt Lewin,[xxxvii] the pioneer of Social Psychology, and hence classical or pertaining to the original brand and method of Organization Development in the United States of America (It is important also to acknowledge Lewin’s contribution to Tavistock and Gestalt OD methods).

Finally, because logoteleology believes the situation should determine what method or methods should be followed, it encourages blending OD schools fit-to-context. For instance, circumstances could require mixing and following classical and LOD approaches to solving the organization’s problem. When LOD methods are combined with those of other schools of OD, it is called Logoteleology Organization Development Approach (LODA) or OD2.0.

Following are descriptions of each school and their approach to OD

Classical (Lewinian) Organization Development

Slide1 Kurt  Lewin

Kurt Lewin

OD consultants should be intimately familiar with definitions of classical Organization Development. One such definition is from Richard Beckhard:

Organization Development is an effort (1) planned, (2) organization-wide, and (3) managed from the top, to (4) increase organization effectiveness and health through (5) planned interventions in the organization’s “processes,” using behavioral-science knowledge. [xxxviii]

Another in step definition with Classical OD is Patricia A. McLagan’s: [xxxix]

Organization Development focuses on assuring healthy inter-and intra-unit relationships and helping groups initiate and manage change. Organization Development’s primary emphasis is on relationships and processes between and among individuals and groups. Its primary intervention is influence on the relationship of individuals and groups to effect an impact on the organization as a system.”

As a rule, the classical OD method was not designed for quick fixes. Instead it typically follows a long-range approach. However, there are tools and methods to tackle situations that demand a quick turn-around. As will be explained later, Classical OD has a rich repertoire of tools designed to tackle different type of problems and opportunities for short and long-term demands.

Some, particularly in the Positive Psychology (PP) camp,[xl] believe that the Classical OD intervention approach fell into a clinical problem-solving state designed to drive change by identifying and fixing what is broken. Thus, the organization is viewed and “intervened” as a sick patient. I do agree with the proposition that several OD scientists and practitioners departed from the original idealistic and positive assumptions about human beings inherent in early Social-Psychology’s OD. Unfortunately, to this day many OD practitioners are full-time organizational pathologists giving priority to treating team and organizational “diseases.” In great measure, this departure is due to the commercialization of OD by consulting firms, and by those who emulate them within organizations who primarily pursue a commercial and efficiency agenda (i.e. Frederick Taylor[xli] ).  As a rule, such schema places greater value on the efficiency economic values of change over — and at the expense of — meaning-centered and positive assumptions about human beings. The assumption that profitability and being humane are incompatible remains as a major stumbling block. The author will later explain why these differing assumptions are relevant, and their link to the above-mentioned disturbing trends (e.g. according to Gallup, The World Happiness Report, and the Edelman Trust Barometer Report), and their consequences.

“If we don’t make money, no amount of virtue will do our firm any good. Wall Street will ignore us, and we will soon be out of business. We must have bottom line performance for virtuousness in our firm to be taken seriously.” ~ Schwartz, 2002[xlii]

While in agreement that many classical OD interventions are clinical-minded, certainly the-organization-as-a-problem-to-be-fixed is not the only operating view. Many classical OD tools and methods plus the author’s many years of professional experience as an OD professional counter that view. Standard OD services such as strategic planning, innovation, and implementation, team building, new leader transition, are examples of positive, optimistic and creative effort. Such constructive effort is designed to leverage existing strengths and potential to enhance organizational, team, and individual quality of life, as well as performance effectiveness and efficiency. For instance, as a Walt Disney World Cast Member and Senior Organization Development Consultant – among other creative and innovative product and experience development processes to which he contributed – the author was part of the creative team that innovated, planned, and rolled-out Disney’s Epcot® Food & Wine Festival.

It must be said, however, that there are occasions when the clinical approach is appropriate and even demanded by the situation. As will be explained later, and consistent with the Meaning Centered Approach (MCA), MPP theory operates under the assumption that organizations have a dark side, and hence can become dysfunctional and capable of doing harm. Such conditions can require a preeminent clinical approach.

The point to remember is that the original ethos of classical OD was about achieving organizational goals through a humane and inclusive approach (Classical OD was originally a response to the diversity [interracial and intergroup conflict] agenda).[xliii] Those invested in commercializing OD stripped the humane component and mostly focused on efficiency and the fiscal agenda. And even today, whether aware or unaware, too many OD practitioners, management consultants and scientists perceive, study, and deal with the human worker through the Theory X lens. The commercial-minded version of the classical OD discipline with its diminished humane component is a far cry from what the founders of OD envisioned, and thus have competing values on the meaning and purpose of organizations.  Giving importance to financial and efficiency considerations over the humane has had an objectifying effect on people, as seen by the conclusions of research pertaining to trust, engagement, and happiness.

Positive Organizational Scholarship and OD

As in Logoteleology or Meaningful Purpose Psychology, Positive Psychology Scholarship (POS) too contrasts and challenges operating assumptions about what constitutes success. On the one hand, while the operating organizational world labors under the belief that success is about wealth creation, POS defines and measures success in terms of abundance and well-being.[xliv] POS addresses a broad array of subjects on positivity such as the impact of virtuousness on performance (Cameron, 2003, pp. 48-65), gratitude (Emmons, 2003, pp. 81-93), and meaning in work (Wrzesniewski, 2003, pp. 296-308; Pratt and Ashforth, 2003, pp. 309-327)).[xlv]

Positive Psychology OD Consultants help their clients see what is possible, not just what is broken and deficient, and to focus on strengths rather than on weaknesses. This optimistic approach promotes and leverages positive emotions that tend to broaden one’s attention and focus (Fredrickson, 2004).[xlvi] Building a positive and optimistic organizational culture can incline members to generate more possibilities, particularly ways to cope with threats and means that take advantage of opportunities. In turn, negative emotions are known to narrow people’s attention and to follow fight-flight-freeze behaviors. Experiencing positive emotions at work, among other benefits, can reduce voluntary turnover and hence retain talent and experience for competitive advantage.

As with classical OD, Positive Psychology OD approaches are part of the LODA tool kit. However, — assuming mainstream assumptions (the paradigm) about the meaning and purpose of organizations — in the LODA Method, Positive Psychology is not the only or default solution. In the LODA Method, there is a time and place for Positive Psychology OD (PPOD), and even for meaning-centered methods. This does not mean that meaningful-positive values or virtues are suspended while consulting, even in difficult times.  Instead, it means, for example, that an urgent crisis might demand a clinical / pathological approach from classical OD rather than one presented by the PPOD’s solutions repertoire.

Good Work: Meaning-Centered Approach

Dr. Paul Wong (Wong, 2017)[xlvii] describes his Meaning-Centered Approach (MCA), as “an emergent branch of scholarship labeled as PP ‘2.0’ (Wong, 2011).[xlviii] The motto that summarizes the essence of meaning-centered approach to coaching and counseling is: “Meaning is all we have, and relationship is all we need.”[xlix] Dr. Wong contextualizes MCA from the perspective of “good works.” He continues,

“MCA views good work at three levels: the individual, the organization, and society. At the individual level, good work means that employees are empowered through intrinsic motivation to make the optimal use of their strengths, resulting in a high level of job satisfaction and productivity. At the organizational level, a virtuous servant style of leadership (Wong, 2004)[l] unleashes the full potential of employees and provides a positive culture (Wong, 2005).[li] At the societal level, good organizations assume their social responsibility to contribute to the greater good beyond the bottom line. Thus, a good organization is not only a good place to work for, but also an agent of positive social change.” [lii]

In tune with Second Wave Positive Psychology or PP 2.0 (Ivtzan, Lomas, Hefferon, & Worth, 2016;[liii] Wong, 2011 [liv]), a contrast is made between Positive Psychology’s happiness orientation versus PP 2.0’s meaning-orientation. PP 2.0 places great significance on the benefits of both positive as well as negative emotions and experiences. PP 2.0 believes that negative experiences and emotions can generate positive change.

One of the tools used by PP 2.0 for organizations include Wong’s PURE Model, which stands for Purpose, Understanding, Responsibility, and Enjoyment. PP 2.0 also endorses Servant Leadership, which combined with the PURE Model “it emphasizes such qualities as integrity, humility, serving a higher purpose, fulfilling a mission, and the need to develop and release the creative potential of all workers.”[lv] At the heart of PP 2.0 is the development of virtuous individuals who are decent and do good for others and society. Following the eudemonic philosophy, this includes building and improving conditions for meaningful societies and institutions.

As with Positive Psychology, LODA leverages PP 2.0 tools and methods to its change management and improvement approach. However, again, context dictates the suitability of the method to be followed. For instance, a new firm lead by an entrepreneur would benefit from Positive Psychology as well as the Meaning-Centered Approach. This would allow the emerging organization to claim a mission and shape a culture and business model congruent with both positive and meaning schemas.

The Logotelogical OD (LOD) Method 

As explained above, Logoteleology or Meaningful Purpose Psychology (MPP) study the meanings that individuals give to self, others, and situations. As illustrated in Figure 2, (1) meanings intend (aim for) a result and allot a (2) motivational type and level of vigor,[lvi] to fuel the assigned and desired result through (3) purposeful actions or applied competence towards a (4) target. Contact with the target generates a (5) consequence. [lvii] The consequence can come back as (6) feedback to the originator as a meaning that needs to be decoded; and hence the cycle can continue (e.g. communication).

These six are elements of a psychological sequence that describes behavior. The six elements too explain interpersonal, organizational, and cultural dynamics, and paradigms, which can be diagnosed and improved. Three of these elements makeup the construct of a Logoteleological identity: Meaning, Motivation, and Purpose.

Once more, Logoteleology’s Identity Model or construct includes meanings, motivations and purposeful action. Hence the formula:


Figure 1. Logoteleology Identity Model

As a dynamic sequence


Figure 2. Logoteleology Dynamic Sequence

As explained, eventual action leads to a consequence, which can return as meaning feedback.

Since the 1990’s OD Logoteleologists have leveraged one and sometimes all six elements as entry points to diagnose and build solutions. For instance, the consequence of disengagement can be traced to the meanings given to workers. Assuming a Theory X meaning to workers and following a meaning model where financial outcome has priority over people, management is motivated to take actions designing command-and-control management, structures, processes, policies and incentive systems. Since the conditions created by the design are not aligned with the true nature of humans, employees find working conditions lacking meaning, and thus are not motivated to perform or to act at their best.

Such a description helps explain some of the fundamental differences between the Logoteleology OD (LOD) method and other procedures. For instance, amongst others, LOD does not

  • Perpetuate discredited and obsolete beliefs and values about humans and their motivations (e.g., Machiavellian, Frederick Taylor, Sun Tzu, and Theory X values); as well as the meaning, purpose and role of economies, governments, societies, and organizations. For instance, LOD rejects economic and business models where money and financial gain has priority over humans.
  • Offer and implement solutions as if these paradigms were still accepted as scientific truths. Hence, LOD practitioners do not endorse and collude with the existing flawed paradigm and refuse to be part of and contribute to the problem. In short, LOD practitioners do not consult for solutions under faulty meaningless beliefs and conditions. Instead, as their starting point, LOD consultants challenge clients to discern the validity of their operating paradigm. The goal is to help the client discern and select a meaningful option based on sound science, not flawed and discredited science and beliefs.
  • Posit that efficiency and being humane are incompatible goals.

However, among others, LOD does:

  • Foster individual responsibility and accountability (e.g. McGregor’s Theory Y) for the well-being of all stakeholders.
  • Place people first as the driving force to social and financial economic well-being. This includes designing economies and institutions primarily for human thriving, not just economic output. We believe that virtuosity and competence can promote prosperity, including financial profit.
  • Promote the use of success indicators or metrics such as Gross National Happiness (GNH) over Gross National Product (GNP) to incent meaningful economic and business models.
  • Assert that organizational bureaucracies should serve humans, not have humans serve bureaucracies.
  • Encourage individuals, groups, institutions, and even nations to declare, claim and practice a meaningful purpose that serves as a guiding beacon for self-regulation and decision-making.
  • Train organization members to understand and embrace scientifically valid and meaningful attributions about humans, their motivation, and potential.

The AVR Method©

Certified and licensed Logoteleologists, whether coaches, consultants, counselors or therapists, use the AVR Method© to help clients in their improvement journey. AVR stands for meaning awareness, meaning analysis, meaning validation, meaning re-decision, as well as meaning replacement and sustainment.

  1. Meaning Awareness entails bringing to one’s attention what is not known, understood and perceived. [lviii]
  2. Meaning Analysis involves helping the client understand the “so what” or the implications, impact and consequence of the meaning given to self, others, and situations.
  3. Meaning Validation tests the quality of the meaning given to self, others and situations. The MPP Golden Quality Standard is Meaningfulness. [lix]
  4. Meaning Re-decision quizzes the client’s readiness to confront reality and commit to improve.
  5. Meaning Replacement and Realignment is the phase where meaningless meanings are replaced, realigned, improved, and finetuned with meaningful options. Here complementary skills are identified, learned, and practiced in a safe setting.
  6. Meaning Reintegration entails  identifying targets of opportunity to apply the meaningful options. While the previous step identifies, plans, and practices improvements, reintegration requires
    •  applying new patterns for relating with others
    •  implementing skills to gain access to one’s and others’ meanings
    •  constructing with stakeholders a mutually compatible reality.
  7. Meaning Sustainment is the improvement phase where success is celebrated, reinforced, and sustained.

In practice, the AVR Method© has proven to be a powerful and meaningful tool. Yet, again, we encourage research on the method.

LOD in Action

Client A

In 2016 the author applied the LOD approach when working with a North American (not USA) manufacturing facility subsidiary of a European parent company. This branch operation will be referred to as “Client Company”.

After contracting and conducting a preliminary assessment, Client Company showed symptoms of an organization in crisis. High employee and leadership turnover, in-fighting within the leadership team, customer displeasure with the timeliness of product delivery, high scrap and rework, and unreliable and untrustworthy information and metrics were significant symptoms (Meaning Awareness). The organization was in a negative spiral and the implications were unsustainable (Meaning Analysis).

The Stars Model (Watkins, 2003)[lx] was used to assess the state of the business. The five states are Start-up, Sustaining Success, Realignment, Turnaround, and Shutdown/Divestiture. Leveraging the Stars Model diagnostic findings required a quick turnaround approach to end the organization’s financial and talent hemorrhage. Given these conditions the consultant selected a combined classical and LOD approach to solve the problem.

The classical approach would focus on process and competence building needs (what needs to be done and how will it be solved) while the LOD would address meaning-centered obstacles (psychologically and socially, why are we in this state? And why will we improve?). Based on findings, leadership team members learned new technical and interpersonal skills (i.e. what and how to solve). In parallel, members were taught to understand why and how the meaning given to the self, to other team members, and to the situation (i.e. Quality of teamwork) contributed to the dismal results. (Meaning Validation) Skill building needed to be complemented with meaning attitudinal changes.[lxi]

As is usually the case, while the team found the technical and relational skill building learning relevant, they had a difficult time breaking the trust barrier. For instance, team members could not fully practice the learned interpersonal skills because some of the team members, including the General Manager, were unable to transcend the negative attribution and attitudinal meanings they had of one another (Meaning Re-decision).

The consultant generated a progress report, and suggested options for improvement for a business in crisis. In the end, the corporate office decided to remove what they considered the troublesome team members, and to replace them with new leaders for a fresh start (As an approach to Meaning Replacement).

Client B

In the year 2005 an upscale restaurant chain was concerned about increasing costs in some of its restaurants. Top leadership asked the consultant to discover the root cause for the cost deviation, and to recommend improvements.

After a few days reviewing financial statements and interviewing staff, the consultant found that sommeliers and front-of-house managers were ordering expensive wines and displaying them in large wine racks to entice guests (Meaning Awareness). However, the restaurants were not generating the desired demand from patrons, hence, the reason for the low turnover of wine inventory and the high cost (Meaning Analysis).

Again, using the previously mentioned Watkins STAR Model, the consultant concluded from conditions that a realignment approach was the appropriate path to follow. In other words, minor adjustments could normalize cost. The methods used were a combination of classical, and what was at the time LOD’s emerging meaning-centered theoretical approach. (Meaning centered methods are, by default, positive.) The consulting assignment required a classical method to doing diagnosis, specifically approaching the problem from a quality and financial perspective. And while the business situation was approached using classical tools, the human element was dealt through the stated emerging meaning-centered LOD approach (LODA).

The first recommendation dealt with the meaning given to key stakeholders, and to the situation (Meaning Awareness). The consultant proposed giving positive recognition to the sommeliers and front-of-house managers for showing initiative to experiment and to innovate; particularly to improve the guest experience, and for their desire to increase sales. In other words, the sommeliers and front-of-house managers were not to be reprimanded for attempting to do the right thing. While the business results were negative, the meaning-intention was positive. Consistent with Dr. William Edward Demin’s 14 Key Principles to quality, specifically the eight Key Principle, “Drive out fear,” (Deming, 1986)[lxii] the meaning principle followed was: what is rewarded and punished influences purposeful action or behavior (Meaning Validation and Meaning Re-decision). In this case, the consultant gave management two options for how to handle the situation with restaurant staff: either legitimize errors as an opportunity to learn and to improve; or instead discourage organization members from revealing and solving problems because of fear to intimidation and reprisal (Meaning Analysis and Meaning Validation). Management supported the consultant’s recommendation to reward initiative. (Meaning Re-decision)

The second recommendation was to engage all sommeliers and front-of-house managers to learn from failure and come up with solutions. The positive outcome from the exercise was to

  • Explain and use the current financial state as the number to improve; and to describe how wine inventory impacted cost (In the work sessions the referent parties were not point-out.)
  • Improve the guest experience to attract new patrons and maintain existing ones. And as part of the guest experience…
  • Increase sales while keeping cost in line with expectations.

The consultant facilitated creative brainstorming sessions where participants exchanged best practices with one another and learned from corporate and external experts how to achieve optimal results. Participants were able to create, innovate and pair alluring menus, to increase inventory turnover on targeted products, reduce cost, and to enhance restaurant staff and patron experience.

Solutions included: learning new problem-solving and decision-making skills, establishing new corporate standards, improving processes, and implementing innovative and creative solutions to increase wine sales while keeping costs down for widespread adoption (i.e., what to do and how to do it) (Meaning Replacement and Sustainment). The outcome of these improvements was high staff morale, improved guest experience, and a significant reduction on cost and hence higher profitability in line with expectations

What is OD2.0?

OD2.0 or LODA is both a consulting method and a call-to-action. OD2.0 has the following basic qualities:

  1. Logoteleological. OD2.0 follows logoteleological propositions, as explained in the following points.
  2. Multi-theoretical. It leverages classical, positive, and existential meaning-centered theories, tools and approaches aimed at generating, reinforcing and sustaining meaningful institutions for the well-being of civilization. Because conditions dictate solutions, there is no “best” school.
  3. Science-based. Tools and methods should be empirically tested, and results disseminated.
  4. Humans First.
    1. Organizational bureaucracies exist to serve people, not for people to serve bureaucracies.
    2. Flawed and discredited economic and business paradigms where humans are valued for their utility rather than for their dignity are rejected (Marrero, 2016).[lxiii] Also vetoed are faulty assumptions about humans and their motivation (e.g. Theory X, Frederick Taylor, Machiavelli, Sun Tzu, and Adam Smith).
    3. Competent and virtuous behaviors are the generating force to profit and prosperity. Profit and human dignity can be compatible and harmonious aims.
    4. Thriving requires responsible, accountable, and dependable behavior by all members. Keeping promises is being meaningful.
    5. Members commit to serve and build-up one another in order to be the best version of self for goal accomplishment. This includes giving and receiving genuine and meaningful feedback for improvement. Feedback givers are perceived as committed to help the receiver. Feedback receivers are active listeners ready and willing to understand and improve. Improvement tromps ego-defense.
    6. Meaningful people-development and self-mastery are the key engines to prosperity.
  5. Intrinsic Motivation.
    1. Metrics and incentive systems are designed to promote goodwill, cooperation, collaborative coordination, and win-win outcomes, not cutthroat and ruthless competition. This too includes building trust and eliminating conditions that trigger ego-defense behavior.
    2. Tasks are assigned to leverage the strengths, competence, as well as intrinsic interest and inclinations of members.
  6. Meaningful Purpose. The organization, group, and individual members select and follow a meaningful purpose to self-regulate and guide decision-making at all levels. This meaningful purpose is designed to enhance well-being, including the ecological health of the planet.
    • Embracing the Dark Side through genuine transparency: Open acknowledgement of failure and incompetence is rewarded and leveraged by everyone for improvement rather than to reprimand. Companies such as Next Jump, Bridgewater, and Decurion are examples of organizations that embrace the dark side and the LODA.[lxiv] Follow Dr. Deming’s 8th Key Principle, “Drive out fear, so that everyone may work effectively for the company.”
  7. Meaningful, but not naïve. There will be those who will be challenged embracing a gamesmanship free culture that values people development and virtuous behavior for competitive advantage. Leaders and peers will need to be respectful, patient, and supportive of those who dissent to a virtuous culture, allowing for free choice. And those who dissent will need to be responsible deciding if they want to be part of the organization.

Boston Institute for Meaningful Purpose certified OD2.0 Consultants contract with clients to follow the previous qualities when planning improvement events.

What OD2.0 Practitioners Believe and Do

OD2.0 practitioners use multidisciplinary tools and methods to aid organizations develop competent, responsible, and virtuous individuals who help shape organizations and work that:

  • Provide a meaningful service, product or experience
  • Brings well-being and prosperity to all stakeholders
  • Enhances and exalts the human condition, thus contributing to society in a meaningful way [lxv]
  • Face reality as it is. No pretense and gamesmanship
  • Values and develops humans as the engine to well-being, profit, and prosperity. Developmental strategies strengthen business and technical competence with equal weight as virtuous leadership and responsibility
  • Designs people-first organizations with physical and psychological ergonomics on steroids
  • Protects the environment

As previously explained, OD2.0 proposes that current economic and business theories, and their influence in organizational, managerial and leadership methods hold flawed underlying assumptions about humans, many operating at an unaware level. Again, examples include a misdirected view of workers in terms of usefulness and their motivation; a reluctance to face up to truth, and the assumption that being humane and pursuing profit are incompatible aims. These assumptions can and do have a self-fulfilling prophetic effect [lxvi] [lxvii] where workers end up acting as they self-describe and as they are perceived by others. The presence of these flawed underlying assumptions within institutions have a hollow and demotivating effect on organizational members. In addition, this squandered people resource costs companies billions of dollars in waste, missed opportunity, and fraud.

Institutions and their leaders would be well served to revisit and realign Slide1their organizations so that they can be both profitable and humane. They do not have to be contradictory goals. Ultimately, there are two set of values to choose from: meaningful or meaningless. Each option sets up an operating paradigm that signals a type of behavior, as well as a consequence. We started this paper presenting three consequences: the states of trust, engagement and happiness. It should be clear what set of values best defines current consequence from the evidence by Edelman, Gallup, and the United Nations’ World Happiness Report.

Ultimately, there are two set of values to choose from: meaningful or meaningless. Each option sets up an operating paradigm that signals a type of behavior, as well as a consequence.

Another proposition of OD2.0 is that many existing approaches to solving stubborn group and institutional problems are prone to having minimal positive long-term effect because they support, ignore or overlook Adam Smith’s conventions that people dislike work and need to be motivated primarily through extrinsic means (and endorsed by the Father of Scientific Management, Frederick Taylor). In addition, the hidden influence of Machiavellian views and license to be deceptive have a toxic and corrosive effect that undermines the potential of meaningful collective effort. Again, consider the persistent problem of [lack of] trust in leadership and organizations, as in the disengagement problem, and vet it against the billions of dollars paid to address this leadership problem. Too many of these unsustainable solutions — among other ineffective practices in organizations — tend to overuse or overlook the presence of extrinsic motivation — which is a hallmark of mechanistic and Theory X dogma and practices.

Third, OD2.0 believes the situation or conditions within the organization dictate which approach is appropriate.

“In organizations, championing change can have great payoffs when successful but can detract from other important work, can be considered by others to be inappropriate, an can entail political cost. Transcendence behavior can be counterproductive if it violates cultural, strategic, or political norms, or if the opportunity costs are too high.”  ~ Thomas S. Bateman and Christine Porath, Transcendence Behavior in Positive Organizational Scholarship. 134

The Eon of OD2.0

OD2.0 claims that as long as many of our current methods accept or work within the confines of erroneous assumption about humans and their motivation, the stubborn problems confronted by institutions will persist – and despite the billions of dollars paid in consulting, training and coaching. Hence, OD2.0 invites us to:

  • Revisit the meaning we give to humans, and the ways we understand human motivation at work
  • Challenge meaningless economic and business models; and replace them with meaningful options
  • Reconsider the role, purpose and relationship of humans with organizations
  • Reassess the meaning and role of work and organizations
  • Test the assumptions of techniques aimed at designing and implementing solutions; and when appropriate, consider emerging and more promising positive and meaning-based methods
  • Challenge the belief that the ultimate goal of organizations is to make profit at any cost. We believe that we need to phase out the emphasis on — and the drive for — efficiency and profit with the more responsible and practical goals of meaningfulness and prosperity. It must be said that efficiency and profit are important and have their place, but not to the point where they undermine the social purpose of the company’s product or service.

LODA (OD2.0) also encourages individuals to commit their lives and professional roles to a purpose aimed at building their person, others, institutions, and society in a meaningful way for meaningful ends. The Boston Institute for Meaningful Purpose and in common with other psychology and specialized entities, encourages collaboration with and between professional associations, academia, and practitioners to broaden the reach and impact of OD2.0. Academics and practitioners are invited to leverage OD2.0 as a rallying call to exchange ideas, to learn from one another, to advance building in-tune and human-friendly organizations and society, and to promote individual responsibility for the greater good.

I recommend that the Statue of Liberty on the East Coast be supplemented by a Statue of Responsibility on the West Coast. ~ Viktor Frankl ~ 

A Call to Action

Where do we go from here?

This article is written to provoke and generate discussion and innovation around the world. Readers are encouraged to share this article, to debate its propositions, to contribute views and ideas; and to conduct additional empirical research.

Those who are willing and ready are encouraged to carefully consider

  • your and your clients’ assumptions about humans, including their role as workers, to determine if such assumptions are aligned with empirical evidence
  • that positive, strength-based, and meaning-centered approaches will be most impactful when they are not bumping into the headwinds of flawed managerial and economic philosophies
  • eliminating pretense as an acceptable norm
  • designing organizations to serve all stakeholders fairly and for the sake of well-being and prosperity
  • ways to retool your leadership and consulting approach to me more aligned with a more optimistic and humane view of people
  • granting importance to being responsible and accountable to self and to others
  • broadening the definition of what constitutes success beyond pure economic ends

Summary and Conclusion

Despite great advancements, institutions of all types and sizes are being tested in their efforts to overcome stubborn problems. For instance, as reported in well-documented journals and respected sites regarding the lack of trust toward leaders and institutions, and the employee disengagement problem. Among others, Positive and Meaning-centered Psychology have made significant contributions to tackle the previously mentioned challenges.

The Logoteleology Organization Development (LOD) method, in particular, has a unique five-step approach: meaning awareness, meaning analysis, meaning validation, meaning re-decision, and meaning replacement applicable in therapy, counseling, coaching, and organization development consulting. The method aims at infusing meaningfulness and prosperity within organizations to benefit all stakeholders in the value chain.

OD2.0 embraces empirical, reliable, and emerging approaches from Positive Psychology, meaning-centered (existential positive) psychology, and classical OD methods. OD2.0 challenges the fundamental assumptions or meanings ascribe to humans and their motivation as shaped by predominant economic, organizational and management theories. It also counsels solution providers and change agents to consider if their approaches are unintentionally aligned with flawed assumptions, and hence, again (unintentionally) such remedies become part of (and perpetuate) the problem. OD2.0 counters traditional organizational, managerial and leadership theories and approaches with a more practical and scientifically view of humans and organizations.

OD2.0 asserts that it is time to retune our assumptions about humans. Readers are encouraged to learn more about OD2.0, to join in the discussion, and to contribute to the field.


[1] The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development

[i] Cameron, Kim S., Jane E. Dutton and Robert E. Quinn, ed., Positive Organizational Scholarship: Foundations of a New Discipline. (San Francisco: BK Publishers, 2003)

[ii] Wong, P. (2017, August 02). Good Work: The Meaning-Centered Approach (MCA). Retrieved February 05, 2018, from

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[vi] Wong, P. (2013, September). What is Existential Positive Psychology. Retrieved from

[vii] Marrero, Luis A. The Path to a Meaningful Purpose: Psychological Foundations of Logoteleology. (Bloomington: IUniverse, 2013)

[viii] Not to be confused with OD2.0’s HaltonHousingTrust or Driven for Life

[ix] Gallup, I. (n.d.). Employee Engagement. Retrieved March 05, 2017, from

[x] E. (2016, January 19). 2016 Edelman TRUST BAROMETER. Retrieved February 05, 2018, from

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[xiii] United Nations. (2017). World Happiness Report 2017. Retrieved February 05, 2018, from

[xiv] Patrice Lewis About | Email | Archive Patrice Lewis is a freelance writer whose latest book is “The Simplicity Primer: 365 Ideas for Making Life mor. (n.d.). Is knowledge doubling – or halving? Retrieved February 05, 2018, from; and Industry Tap. (2017, June 13). Knowledge Doubling Every 12 Months, Soon to be Every 12 Hours. Retrieved February 05, 2018, from

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[xvi] Gallup, I. (2017). State of the American Manager Report. Retrieved February 05, 2018, from

[xvii] Marrero, Luis A. The Path to a Meaningful Purpose: Psychological Foundations of Logoteleology. (Bloomington: IUniverse, 2013) P 3

[xviii] Columbia University. (2012). 2012 World Happiness Report. Retrieved from

[xix] Marrero, Luis A. (2016) Meaningful Purpose (Logoteleological) Organization Development. Manuscript submitted for publication

[xx] Schwartz, Barry. Why We Work. (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2015)

[xxi] Smith, Adam. The Wealth of Nations. (Shine Classics, 2014) P. 415

[xxii] The Economist. (2008, October 06). Theories X and Y. Retrieved February 05, 2018, from Also, McGregor, D. (1960). The Human Side of Enterprise. Alphen a/d Rijn: McGraw-Hill, 1960; annotated edn, McGraw-Hill, 2006.

[xxiii] Ansbacher, Heinz, and Rowena Ansbacher. 1956. 156

[xxiv] Mathers, Dale (2001) Meaning and Purpose in Analytical Psychology. Philadelphia: Taylor and Francis, Inc. 3

[xxv] Ibid. 11

[xxvi] Machiavelli, Nicolo. (August 26, 2016) The Prince. Translated by W. K. Marriott,

[xxvii] Tzu, S. (1910) Translated by Lionel Giles. The Art Of War 1. Retrieved February 05, 2018, from

[xxviii] Ansbacher, Heinz L and Rowena R. Ansbacher, The Individual Psychology of Alfred Adler (New York: Harper and Row, 1956), 255.

[xxix] Luis A. Marrero (2016, May) Meaningful Purpose Psychology. In Meghana Rao, Stewart I. Donaldson (Co-chairs). Additional panelists: Laura Morgan Roberts, Jacqueline Stavros. Positive Work Perspectives: Charting New Paths in Research and PracticeSymposium conducted at the SIOP Conference, Anaheim, California

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[xxxi] Stavros, Jacqueline, M. $ Hinrichs, Gina. The Thin Book of SOAR: Building Strength-Based Strategy. Bend, Oregon: Thin Book Publishing

[xxxii] Wong, P. (2017, August 02). Good Work: The Meaning-Centered Approach (MCA). Retrieved February 05, 2018, from

[xxxiii] Frankl, V. E. (1998). The will to meaning: Foundations and applications of logotherapy. New York, NY: Meridian. P. 62, 61

[xxxiv] Berg, J. M., Dutton, J. E., & Wrzesniewski, A. (2013). Job crafting and meaningful work. In B. J. Dik, Z. S. Byrne, & M. F. Steger (Eds.), Purpose and meaning in the workplace (pp. 81-104). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. P 82

[xxxv] Pratt, . G. & Ashforth, B. E. (2003) Fostering Meaningfulness in Working and at Work. In Cameron, K., Dutton, J., & Quinn, R. (Eds.), Positive organizational scholarship. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler


[xxxvii] Lewin, Kurt. (1975). Field Theory in Social Science: Selected Theoretical Papers. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, Publishers.

[xxxviii] Beckhard, R. (1969). Organization development: Strategies and models. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley. P 9

[xxxix] McLagan, P. (1989) Models for HRD practice: Alexandria, VA: American Society for Training and Development. P 7

[xl] Cooperrider, David I., and Lindsey N. Godwin. Positive Organization Development: Innovation-inspired Change in an Economy and Ecology of Strengths. (August 26, 2010): Unpublished IPOD Draft

[xli] Taylor, F. W. (1998). The Principles of Scientific Management. New York: Dover Publications

[xlii] Schwartz, J. (2002). Dean’s lecture series. University of Michigan Business Schools, January 30. Quoted in Cameron, Kim S. (2003) Organizational Virtuousness and Performance. In Cameron, K., Dutton, J., & Quinn, R. (Eds.), Positive organizational scholarship. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler. P. 52


[xliv] Cameron, K., Dutton, J., & Quinn, R. (2003) Foundations of Positive Organizational Scholarship. In Cameron, K., Dutton, J., & Quinn, R. (Eds.), Positive organizational scholarship. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler

[xlv] . In Cameron, K., Dutton, J., & Quinn, R. (Eds.), Positive organizational scholarship. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler

[xlvi] Fredrickson, Barbara L. (2014) Love 2.0. New York: Penguin Group

Fredrickson, Barbara L. “The Broaden and Build Theory of Positive Emotions.” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 29 Sept. 2004,

[xlvii] Wong, P. (2017, August 02). Good Work: The Meaning-Centered Approach (MCA). Retrieved February 05, 2018, from

[xlviii] Wong, P.T.P. (2011). Positive psychology 2.0. Toward a balanced interactive model of the good life. Canadian Psychology, 52(2), 69-81.

[xlix] Personal correspondence of Luis A. Marrero with Dr. Paul Wong, 17 January 2018.

[l] Wong, P. T. P. (2004). The paradox of servant leadership. Leadership Link, Spring, 2004, 3-5. Ohio State University, Leadership Research Center.

[li] Wong, P. T. P. (2005). Creating a positive participatory climate: A meaning-centered counselling perspective. In S. Schuman (Ed.), The IAF Facilitation Handbook (pp. 171-190). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

[lii] Wong, P. (2017, August 02). Good Work: The Meaning-Centered Approach (MCA). Retrieved February 05, 2018, from

[liii] Ivtzan, Itai, Tim Lomas, Kate Hefferon, and Piers Worth. (2016) Second Wave Positive Psychology: Embracing the Dark Side of Life. London: Routledge

[liv] “Positive Psychology 2.0: Towards a Balanced Interactive Model.” Dr. Paul T. P. Wong, 29 May 2017,

[lv] Ibid.

[lvi] Rychlack, Joseph F. (1994) Logical Learning Theory: A Human Teleology and Its Empirical Support. Lincoln: University of Nebraska

[lvii] Marrero, L. A. (2018, February 04). Meaning, Meaningful, and Important: The Powerful Three. Retrieved February 05, 2018, from

[lviii] Marrero, L. A. (2017, December 26). Blocks to Meaning: The Calcification of Awareness. Retrieved February 05, 2018, from

[lix] Marrero, L. A. (2018, February 04). Meaning, Meaningful, and Important: The Powerful Three. Retrieved February 05, 2018, from

[lx] Watkins, Michael. (2003) The First 90 Days. Boston: Harvard University Press. P. 63

[lxi] Marrero, Luis A. What Makes a Meaning? A Logoteleological Perspective. (2017) In

[lxii] Deming, W. Edwards (1986). Out of the Crisis. MIT Press. ISBN 0-911379-01-0. OCLC 13126265.

[lxiii]Marrero, L. A. (2018, January 13). Engagement cannot be Pursued. It Ensues: A Logoteleological Perspective. Retrieved February 05, 2018, from

[lxiv] Kegan, Robert, and Lisa Laskow Lahey. (2016) An Everyone Culture: Becoming a Deliberately Developmental Organization. Boston: Harvard Review Press.

[lxv] Marrero, L. A. (2015, December). The Role of Meanings. Retrieved February 05, 2018, from

[lxvi] Dispenza, Joe. (2014) You Are the Placebo: Making Your Mind Matter. Carlsbad, California: Hay House, Inc.

Lipton, Bruce H. (2008) The Biology of Belief. Carlsbad, California: Hay House, Inc.

Rosenthal, Robert, and Lenore Jacobson. (1968) Pygmalion in the Classroom. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc.

[lxvii] Dweck Carol S. (2000) Self-Theories: Their Role in Motivation, Personality, and Development. Philadelphia: Psychology Press

Other sources:

Deci, E. L., and R. M. Ryan, Eds. Handbook of Self-Determination Research. New York: The University of Rochester Press, 2002

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