• OD Diagnosis
• What does it mean: “Dx is Tx”?
• What is the traditional OD approach to Dx?
• What are the mechanisms involved in deriving Dx?
• What is the value/utility of a Dx? (nomenclature)
• What is the Reflective Learning model & how is it
• Consider the models: McKinsey 7S, Weisbord 6-box,
etc– what do they have in common?
• What is Systems Theory & how is it used?
• Team Task: Analyze and draw a systems model of an
organizational problem showing mechanisms & possible
a consultant or team of consultants are brought in by
executives to "look them over," much as a patient
might go to the doctor for an annual physical. The
consultants are supposed to find out what is wrong
with which part of the organization, and then, like a
physician, recommend a program of treatment.
Expert information and/or service is being bought by
the client. For a successful outcome, this
model depends on:
1. whether the manager has correctly diagnosed his
2. whether he has correctly communicated these
needs to the consultant
3. whether he has accurately assessed the capability of
the consultant to provide the right kind of information
4. whether he has thought through the consequences of
having the consultant gather information, and/or the
consequences of implementing changes which may be
recommended by the consultant."
Process consultation, by contrast to both of
these models, focuses on joint diagnosis,
and the passing on to the client of diagnostic
skills. The key assumption is that the client
sees the problem for himself, shares in its
diagnosis, and is actively involved in
generating a remedy.
1. Think of visiting your health care, computer or auto mechanic
professional. What is a diagnosis?
2. What does s/he do to diagnose (Dx) your condition?
3. What are the uses/purposes of a Dx; What does it allow you to do?
4. What, therefore, are the criteria for a sound Dx?
5. How is a diagnosis derived?
The diagnostic process
Level 1: raw data
Level 2: concepts & constructs
Level 3: conceptual description (the explanation)
Level 4: diagnostic label
e.g., conflict, leadership, norms, roles, communication
channels, decision style, etc.
e.g., Transition adjustment reaction with emphasis on role
e.g., during organizational transition, stakeholder roles have
become diffused, resulting in role overload, role conflict, and role
boundary disputes. These in turn have led to increased anxiety
about the future and lowered productivity.
e.g., observations, statements, survey, archived data, etc.
Dx is Tx
1. Common focus
2. Identification and examination of key
3. Exploration of relationships among
4. Gap analysis: development of cognitive
5. Reflective learning: awareness leads through the cycle
6. Mechanism: the process is the corrective mechanism for
current and future problems
The OD process of deriving a diagnosis entails activation of the
same organizational mechanisms required for intervention
• Lewin’s FFA
• McKinsey 7-S model
• Gelinas-James Model
• Weisbord 6-box model
• Systems theory
Paradigm Effect: The
model you use will help
you find some things but
will prevent you from
Weisbord 6-Box Model
Diagnosis is treatment
• Complete the initial OD stages of scouting, contracting, etc.
• Identify the areas of primary focus: key result areas, mission
• Gather information (survey, hard data, perceptions,
• Organize and present information to stakeholders
• Explore interpretations– what do these reflect? What do you
think it means?
• Action– what do you want to do about it?
The Fishbowl Technique What to observe:
• power & influence
• decision making
• problem solving
• goal clarity
• share observations
• explore interpretations
• consider application
• Identify area of concern & associated beliefs
• Involve client system in survey construction
• Gather data
• Analyze data to contrast with beliefs
• Present to client group
• Use Reflective Learning Model to
• identify discrepancies
• explore interpretations
• consider interventions
1982 1992 2002----?
Value Chain Analysis
• relevant to purpose
• staff support
• pride in product & process
• backward reconstruction: what must precede this?
• what is done at each stage?
• what is the value of that task (criteria)?
• where are the bottlenecks?
• what can be streamlined without decreasing value?
Processing Mapping Questions
1. What steps were followed in chronological order to
complete the task?
2. How long did each step take?
3. When were decisions made; what criteria used?
4. What steps required outside help and resources?
5. Were any steps unnecessary or redundant?
6. Were tasks in the right order for best use of time &
7. Where were delays and bottlenecks; how could these
Elements of Organizations Model
What are the key
areas for examining
Burke-Litwin Model of
• What are the key
• How are they
• identify the key problem
• identify linkages
• trace multiple linkages
• identify barriers to solution
• explore removing barriers
it from being
Problems with OD Dx– there ain’t none!
1. There are no widely used, standard, or
conventional diagnostic systems in OD
2. There is no standard diagnostic nomenclature
3. There are no standard tools for assessment
4. There is low reliability (and few reliability studies)
regarding inter-rater diagnoses
5. Some labels are so poorly defined as to be
6. There is no clear relationship between Dx and Tx
7. Most interventions are not standardized
8. There are very few studies on Tx outcomes
9. They usually focus on what is going wrong rather than what
is going right (e.g., solution focus, appreciative inquiry, etc.)
• what’s wrong?
• how did it happen?
• how can we fix it?
• fix it!
• did we fix it?
Traditional problem solving:
The problem with a
• problems statements are not
necessarily related to the solution
• focusing on the problem can
• complex problems require a shift
• trying to remove problem
elements may elicit resistance
• absence of a problem does not
mean high level functioning
• many solved problems simply
maintain the status quo
Solution focused change
• emphasizes second-order change
• utilizes ongoing change
• makes distinctions that make a difference
• provides goal well-formedness (clear favorable
outcome; S.M.A.R.T goals)
Solution Focused Change
Exception Question Sequence:
• 1. When don't you have that problem?
• 2. What's different about those times? What occurs instead?
• 3. How can that be made to occur more often? Who needs to do what?
• 4. How will you begin to notice that the problem is being solved? What will be different?
Miracle Question Sequence:
• 1. If a miracle occurred tonight, and when you woke up tomorrow the problem was solved,
what would be the first just noticeable indication that things were different?
• 2. What will have to be different for that to begin happening?
• 3. When does that already happen, even if only a little? Who will have to do what to make
that happen more?
• 4. What will be an indication to you and others that the problem is really solved?
Coping Question Sequence:
• 1. Why aren't things worse than they are?
• 2. What are people doing to prevent things from getting worse?
• 3. How are those things helpful? What else would be helpful?
• 4. What needs to happen for those things to continue?
Pessimistic Question Sequence:
• 1. What do you think will happen if things don't get better?
• 2. What will happen after that? What next? Then what?
• 3. If the problem solvers start to become more optimistic (or at least dissatisfied with their
negative premonitions), shift to the constructive question sequences above.
1. Discovering what
how it works
3. Amplifying and
The - D Model of Appreciative Inquiry
Discovery-- Appreciating what energizes; what is most valued? High
points of career? Core factors and vitality of the organization?
Dream-- Imagining what might be; interview, discuss, obtain stories to
enhance the collective sense of what might be possible
Design-- Determining what will be; create propositions related to the
purpose; establish commitments to plans
Delivery-- Creating what will be; group, team, and community
collaboration to make it happen
Learning History: series of short stories recounting
particular episodes. Segments below focus on dilemmas,
questions, & anecdotes within these stories.
Right Column: The
personal stories from
different groups of
Left Column: commentary,
reflections & perspectives
brought forward to consider
the implications of the story
Full Column Prologue: derived from significant and
noticeable results of the events for the organization &
Team Diagnostic Activity
• Teams identify and discuss an OD case (at
least one member must be very familiar
with the case– your client)
• Identify the “problem” context
• Discuss the relationships among key variables
relevant to “the problem”
• Draw a “systems model” that shows the
connections among events (include feedback
• What is it about the structure/processes that
enables “the problem” to arise and maintains it?
• Where are the intervention points implied by this
• What would you do if you could?
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