Three Diagnostic Models

Posted on in IT Management

As Stewart Clegg, Martin Kornberger, and Tyrone Pitsis (2008) so perfectly describe it, "like bad habits, organizations are difficult to change" (p. 374). The effort required to change the processes and behaviors of large groups of people can be an overwhelming task. This applies to the Tech Division of Company X, as well. Although it is obvious at first glance that the organization must adapt to new realities in order to move forward, convincing a group of 92 managers and 300 hourly employees will not be an easy task. When investigating organizational change, three diagnostic models are high potential candidates to highlight the problem areas and provide structure for solution development.

The first model is the analytical model, sometimes known as the difference-integration model. This model focuses on thorough analytical diagnosis as the foundation for organizational change. Specifically, this model was designed to comprehend interdepartmental issues by carefully analyzing an organization's key problem areas. To improve this comprehension, the analytical model examines four aspects of the organization's environment: departmental structure, members' time orientation, members' interpersonal orientation, and members' orientation to the organization's goals (Cummings & Worley, 2009). By analyzing the value different departments place on these aspects, management can begin to understand why departments that must work together have problems. This understanding can help departments develop methods for working together despite their differences.

The force-field analysis model, originally developed by Kurt Lewin in the early 1950s, views the organization as the result of internal forces driving change or maintaining the status quo. An organization can change only if the "driving forces" for change can overcome the "restraining forces" against change (Fuqua & Kurpius, 1993). The strength of this model is its ability to recognize which forces are working within an organization, and developing methods to encourage driving forces while minimizing restraining forces. Unfortunately, recognizing the forces at work within an organization may not clearly reveal the components of those forces. Without a clear understanding of the makeup of these forces, designing a strategy for successful change may be difficult.

Finally, cause maps and social network analysis provide a mathematical approach to organization diagnosis. Cause maps are developed by identifying the variables that exist within an organization's processes. Causal relationships are discovered between these variables and assigned numerical values. The maps are generated by incorporating these variables and relationships into a matrix. Similarly, social network analysis relies on numerical representations of relationships between people and groups to describe and analyze the importance of key interactions (Cummings & Worley, 2009). Although the mathematical nature of this model makes analysis easier to quantify and comprehend, assigning numerical values to variables and relationships carries a risk of inaccuracy.

Selecting one model to use in the diagnosis of Company X's Tech Division problems is not an easy task. The analysis method is typically focused on inter-divisional relationships, and these are not currently under investigation. The problems right now are strictly confined to the Tech Division. While useful when looking at problems from a high level, the force-field theory may not have the ability to adequately detect the forces at work in the Tech Division. Cause maps and social network analysis may be the best fit in this case since the introduction of a new Human Resource Manager in the Tech Division means the analysis will be conducted by an individual with no preconceived notions of how different groups interact. This clarity will allow the new Human Resource Manager to generate an unbiased analysis that will lay the foundation for necessary change.


Clegg, S., Kornberger, M., & Pitsis, T. (2008). Managing and organizations: An introduction to theory and practice (2nd ed.). London: SAGE.

Cummings, T. G., & Worley, C. G. (2009). Organization development and change (9th ed.). Mason, OH: South-Western/Cengage Learning.

Fuqua, D., & Kurpius, D. (1993, July). Conceptual Models in Organizational Consultation. Journal of Counseling & Development, 71(6), 607-618. Retrieved May 25, 2009, from Health Source: Nursing/Academic Edition database.

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