Organisational Devlopment: Levels of Diagnosis

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It is pointless conducting diagnosis at the individual level, because most issues can be addressed at the organization and group level. Discuss. Within modern business practices continual evolution is essential for long term organisational outcomes. With economic pressures, a growing demand for perceptibly social and environmental responsibility and an increasingly focus towards international and worldwide trade, modern organizations are confronted with an almost constant need for change (Waddell, Cummings and Worley, 2007). Thus it is important for leaders to have a sound understanding of change issues and theories (Waddell, 2002). Organisational development (OD) is described as a systematic application of behavioral science knowledge to the planned development and reinforcement of organizational structures, processes and strategies for improving organisational effectiveness (Waddell et al., 2007). Diagnosis it an integral part of successful OD implementation and is performed on one or more levels including ‘individual’, ‘group’ and ‘organisational’ diagnosis. Thus for successful long term outcomes it is necessary to investigate the role of diagnosis within successful OD implementation, with a focus on ‘individual’ level diagnosis in contrast to both ‘group’ and ‘organisational’. Diagnosis within organisation development is described as an intervention that develops information about the various subsystems of an organisation as well as the patterns and processes that take part in an organisation (Beckhard, 1969). Similarly, Waddell et al. (2007) depict diagnosis as the process of understanding how the organisation is currently functioning, in order to successfully develop change intervention. Thus within modern firms this process develops insight for both the client and OD coordinator into the functioning and efficiency on individual, group and organisational levels. Aldefer and Brown (1975) suggest that the process of diagnosis also serves to motivate organisational members to engage in change. Nadler (1977) reinforces this, depicting that diagnosis provides employees or members with a direction for change. As such, diagnosis within OD has been described as the ‘key’ in developing successful interventions (Burton & Obel, 2004). As well the diagnostic process is referred to as collaborative between OD consultant and client (Stacey, 2007), in which the two parties work together to develop action plans for effective change process. Waddell et al. (2007) reinforces this suggesting that the values and ethics that underlie OD suggest that both change agents and organisational members should be involved in developing and implementing appropriate interventions. Organisations, when viewed as open systems can be diagnosed as three levels, including organisation, group and individual (Waddell et al., (2007). The highest level is the organisational level and includes the design of the organisations structure, strategy and processes. The next level consists of groups or departments within the organisational structure, including group design and interaction devices. The lowest level of organisational diagnosis is the individual level, including job design and personnel characteristics. Todnem (2005) suggest organisational diagnosis can occur at all three levels or it may be limited to problems that occur at a single level. For example, if there was a problem with output resulting from a single job design there would be only need for individual level diagnosis. Similarly Coghlan (1994) illustrates that the key to effective diagnosis is to know what to look for at each level, as well as how the levels affect each other. Waddel et al. (2007) depict the organisational level of diagnosis as the broadest systems perspective that is typically taken in diagnostic activities. This level focuses on the organisation against inputs such as the general environment and industry structure to achieve outputs such as performance, efficiency and...
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