Magazine article Training & Development

The Passing of an HRD Giant

Magazine article Training & Development

The Passing of an HRD Giant

Article excerpt

The HRD profession lost a giant with the passing of George S. Odiorne in January.

Odiorne was certainly a leader and pioneer in the profession and will be missed by the thousands that he touched through his innovative ideas, his dedication to the profession and to his students, and his great example.

Best known for his 1968 book, Management Decisions by Objectives, Odiorne has been called the father of Management by Ojectives. MBO is the process where-by managers define work objectives, develop plans to achieve them, discuss their objectives and achievements with their supervisors, receive periodic feedback on their progress, and are compensated in part for their performance in achieving the ojectives.

Odiorne wrote 25 other books and more than 300 articles. Many of his articles have appeared in Training & Development. The most recent, "Competence Versus Passion," appeared in May 1991.

Odiorne graduated from Rutgers University and received his master's and doctoral degrees from New York University. In the 1950s. Odiorne taught at Rutgers and then worked as manager of the American Management Association's personnel division, where he developed courses on performance standards. He also served as a personnel manager for General Mills.

From 1958 to 1968, he served as professor and director of the Industrial Relations Bureau at the University of Michigan. In 1968, he became dean of the school of business administration at the University of Utah. He was a business school professor and dean at the University of Massachusetts from 1974 until 1983. Before retiring in 1989, he was a professor at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Odiorne's career was dedicated to developing people and he was an incredible proponent of training, says Geary Rummler, president of the Rummler-Brache Group, in Warren, New Jersey. Rummler was a student of Odiorne's and later worked with him. He coauthored a book with Odiorne in 1988,

"He had a performance orientation of training long before anybody else did," says Rummler. "All that is current and vogue and timely in training today, George was doing years ago."

Tom Connellan, president of Management Group, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, was also a student and colleague of Odiorne's. Connellan says Odiorne's greatest contribution was that he practiced what he preached.

"He grew people and developed people," says Connellan. "He was a practitioner of his art at the very highest level. I've talked to many people--many of them company presidents and vice-presidents--who said they wouldn't be doing what the are doing without George's influence. …

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