Richard Beckhard was a pioneer in the field of organizational development. He co-launched the Addison-Wesley Organization Development Series and began the Organization Development Network in 1967. His classic work, Organization Development: Strategies and Models, was published in 1969. Beckhard was an adjunct professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management from 1963-1984. He died on December 28, 1999.
He helped to define organizational development as: "an effort (1) planned, (2) organization-wide, (3) managed from the top, to (4) increase organization effectiveness and health through (5) planned interventions in the organization’s ‘processes’, using behavioural-science knowledge".
Together with David Gleicher, he is credited with developing a Formula for Change. The formula proposes that the combination of organisational dissatisfaction, vision for the future and the possibility of immediate, tactical action must be stronger than the resistance within the organisation in order for meaningful change to occur.