Christopher G. Worley

Senior Research Scientist, Center for Effective Organizations
Research Professor of Management, Pepperdine University


Dr. Chris Worley’s applied research and consulting practice is complemented by more than fifteen years of management experience in academic, for-profit, and government organizations. His consulting clients include organizations in high technology, health care, financial services, energy, the public sector, and natural resources. The primary focus of his efforts in these organizations has been on organization design, the building of agile capabilities, and organization development.

Research Partners & Clients

Dr. Worley’s research partners include organizations in technology and financial services (Microsoft, Intel, Nokia, Capital One, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman); health care and insurance (Cambia Health Solutions, Healthways, St. Joseph Health Care System, Hartford Financial Services); the public sector and energy (State of California, Canadian Broadcasting Company, Southern California Edison, Enedis (France), City of Los Angeles, City of Carlsbad, BP, Shell, Dow Chemical), and consumer goods (Philips, Gap, Inc., GFK (France), PayPal, Unilever (UK), Adidas (Germany) as well as several other non-profit and government organizations.

Professional Work

Dr. Worley is a member of the Academy of Management, NTL, and the OD Network. He is on the editorial board for the Journal of Applied Behavioral Science. He is past Chair of the Academy of Management’s Organization Development and Change Division.

In addition to his articles, chapters, and presentations on strategic change and organization design, he is author of five books, including The Agility Factor, Becoming Agile, Management Reset, best-seller Built to Change, Integrated Strategic Change, and ten editions of Organization Development and Change, the leading textbook in the field.

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BS – Westminster College

MS – Colorado State University

MS – Pepperdine University

PhD – University of Southern California

Contact Information

Recent Research

Four Key Processes for Developing Advanced Change Capabilities in Agile Organizations

Adapting to digitalization and to the COVID-19 pandemic has stoked interest in the design and operation of agile organizations. But what gets lost in the

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6 Barriers to Becoming Agile and How to Overcome Them

Research conducted by CEO’s Dr. Chris Worley at USC’s Marshall School of Business, in partnership with goetzpartners – a German advisory firm – and the

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Socio-Technical Action Research Lab Design Lab Description and Process

The STARLab acronym “Socio-technical Action Research Lab” points to a specific type of lab which is designed to create socio-technical action research. This paper outlines the distinctive features of the socio-technical action research lab. First, it outlines the ideas that provide a foundation for STARLab, along with the essential concepts of tacit knowledge and design thinking. Next, it provides a brief background of the origin of the design lab methodology. Last is a description of how the lab works – planning, environment, and process. STARLab Consortium

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Designing from the Future: Building Prototypes for Digitalized Organizations

The STARLab (Socio-Technical Action Research Laboratory) addresses the gap between the rapid advances in digital technology and the slower evolution of the social systems that are being impacted. Technology advances carry the potential to fundamentally change the nature of work, of the employment relationship, of organizations, and of societies. STARLab’s goal is to accelerate the generation of knowledge about how to design socio-technically integrated organizations to simultaneously address economic and human needs. STARLab Consortium

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Designing a Digitally Enabled Prototype— a Customer-Centric Design

In the past, growth in the population, markets, customer segments, and customer preferences as well as relatively linear technological advancement meant that a product-centric organization could be successful. Digital technologies allow us to quickly generate insights into customer/consumer behavior, expectations, and valued outcomes, and to build the customer facing part of the organization quite differently than we have in the past. STARLab Consortium

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