MCOD developed in response to limitations of traditional organizational development models and diversity initiatives, which organizational change practitioners saw as inadequate to address race, gender, class, and other aspects of discrimination and oppression.
In the 1970s, many workplaces became more diverse in response to social movements, civil rights laws, and demographic changes. However, these organizations remained essentially monocultural. Organizational cultures did not change to accommodate increased diversity in staff.
Prejudice, discrimination, and institutionalized oppression persisted. In addition to violating civil rights laws and causing pain and suffering, this situation undermined the potential of individuals and organizations.