To date, the field of organization development (OD) has lacked the kind of unifying approach to theory and practice that would enable it to be considered a discipline. The present study, in conception and methodology, commences building a unified framework for OD based on the work of psychiatrist and natural scientist Wilhelm Reich (1897-1957). By conceptually merging the field of OD with the science of orgonomy, that body of knowledge based on Reich's discoveries, this project lays the foundations for a comprehensive theory that can lead to greater understanding of the nature, development, and functioning of organizations, a theory with the potential to (1) diagnose characteristic types of organizational configurations and prescribe differentiated intervention strategies; (2) draw upon and integrate the multiplicity of interventions available, be they behavioral or structural; and (3) address and unblock deep-seated socioemotional issues, helping whole systems actualize their full potential. The immediate aim is to develop an orgonomic diagnostic and sociotherapeutic framework for OD, yielding an interconnected series of hypotheses and strategic case management propositions that can begin to be tested in the future. Reich's discovery of a tangible life energy, orgone energy, together with his functional understanding of human character are applied to understand the character of energy movement -- and blockage -- in organizations. Orgonomic principles of energy functioning and therapeutic methods are employed in a systematic manner in the organizational domain, leading to the development of a rudimentary organizational character typology and sociotherapy with the goal of restoring the capacity of chronically blocked systems to freely discharge work energy in a productive, gratifying way. The series of hypotheses and strategic propositions generated in the project have been developed by (1) a review of the relevant literature and integration of the findings of both orgonomy and OD, guided by expert advisors in each field; (2) participation in monthly clinical training seminars at the American College of Orgonomy in Princeton, New Jersey, concurrent with the Pepperdine University Master of Science in Organization Development Program; and (3) organizational consulting casework and experience.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (MA) -- Organization Development; Organizational change -- Comparative method; Orgonomy -- Comparative method; Clinical sociology -- Case studies

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graziadio Business School



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Ross, Walter L.