APUS (n.d.). MGMT603 Organizational Development: Lesson 4
This week we focus on Diagnostic Models in Organizational Development. One of the most well-known
and popular diagnostic models is Lewin’s Change Management Model. Change, though at times
considered a difficult and uncomfortable experience, is inevitable and in fact is often a symptom of a
growing and successful business. This is because our world is changing at an incredible pace. As such,
organizations must be able to adjust and adapt to change quickly, if they are to survive and prosper.
Fortunately, Lewin's Change Management Model is a simple and easy-to-understand framework for
Organizational Diagnosis through Diagnostic
“Many organization development (OD) strategies exist for improving an organization’s effectiveness. One
of these strategies, organizational diagnosis, involves “diagnosing,” or assessing, an organization’s current
level of functioning to design appropriate change interventions. The concept of diagnosis in organization
development is used in a manner similar to the medical model. For example, the physician conducts tests,
collects vital information on the human system, and evaluates this information to prescribe a course of
treatment. Likewise, the organizational diagnostician uses specialized procedures to collect vital
information about the organization, to analyze this information, and to design appropriate organizational
interventions (Tichy, Hornstein, & Nisberg, 1977).”
Uses of Organizational Models
An organizational model is a graphic representation of an organization at a given point in time that helps
us to facilitate a clear understanding of what we are observing within the organization under evaluation.
Diagnostics models can be useful in a variety of ways, to include:
1 – Enhanced Understanding
Enhance our understanding of organizational behavior through a visual depiction;
2 – Categorization of Data
Facilitate the categorization of data collected about an organization;
3 – Interpretation of Data
Help to expedite the interpretation of data about an organization;
4 – Common Language for Analysis
Provide a shared, common language for use in organizational analysis;
5 – Systematic Collection of Data
Affords a systematic way to collect organizational data to better understand and categorize the data;
6 – Identified Key Variables
Identify key organizational variables vital to the organization;
7 – Depicts Relationships Between Variables
And, depicts the relationship and critical adjacencies between organizational variables and how they
impact each other.
Popular Diagnostic Organizational Models
The diagnostic organizational models shared below are presented in the chronological order in which they
first appeared in the literature, and are examples of the most popular diagnostic models in use today:
PROBLEM-SOLVING TECHNIQUES #17: FORCE FIELD ANALYSIS
LIKERT SYSTEM ANALYSIS
WEISBORD’S SIX-BOX MODEL
CONGRUENCE MODEL FOR ORGANIZATION ANALYSIS
The critical first step in designing and leading successful large-scale change is to fully understand the
dynamics and performance of the enterprise. It’s simply impossible to prescribe the appropriate remedy
without first diagnosing the nature and intensity of an organization’s problems (Mercer Delta Consulting
MCKINSEY 7S FRAMEWORK
In Search of Excellence, the 1982 best-selling book by McKinsey partners Tom Peters and Robert
Waterman, introduced the mass business audience to the firm’s 7-S model. The model, also influenced by
an earlier collaboration between McKinsey and management scholars Richard Pascale and Anthony Athos
(The Art of Japanese Management, 1980), describes the seven factors critical for effective strategy
execution : Strategy, Structure, Systems, Staff, Skills, Style/ Culture, and Shared Values (Kaplan,
TICHY’S TECHNICAL POLITICAL CULTURAL (TPC) FRAMEWORK
HARRISON’S MODEL FOR DIAGNOSING INDIVIDUAL AND GROUP BEHAVIOR
THE BURKE-LITWIN MODEL OF ORGANIZATIONAL PERFORMANCE & CHANGE
[Abstract] To provide a model of organizational performance and change, at least two lines of theorizing
need to be explored – Organizational functioning and organizational change (Burke & Litwin, 1991).
Organizational Change Management: Lewin’s
The concept of "change management" is a familiar one in most businesses today, and there have been
many Change Management models developed to help facilitate getting through what can be a very
tumultuous time. But how businesses manage change (and how successful they are at it) varies
enormously depending on the nature of the business, the change required, and the people involved. An
essential aspect of a successful change process depends on the extent to which the people involved
understand the need for change.
The method developed by Kurt Lewin to explain his model back in the 1940s is still in use today. Lewin’s
model is known as “Unfreeze – Change – Refreeze” and refers to the three-stage process of change that
bears Lewin’s name. Lewin, a physicist and social scientist, explained organizational change using the
analogy of a block of ice that is transformed during the unfreezing, change, and refreezing process.
By recognizing the three distinct stages of change, you can plan to implement the change required. You
start by creating the motivation to change (unfreeze). You move through the change process by promoting
effective communications and empowering people to embrace new ways of working (change). And the
process ends when you return the organization to a sense of stability (refreeze), which is so necessary for
creating the confidence from which to embark on the next, inevitable change.
LEWIN’S MODEL: UNFREEZE – CHANGE - REFREEZE
By way of example, if you have a cube of ice, but realize that what you really want is a cone of ice, Lewin
explains the change process using his model. First, the ice must be melted to make it susceptible to change
(i.e., the unfreezing stage). Second, a mold must be created to allow the ice water to assume the desired
shape (i.e., the change process). Finally, the ice water must be frozen in order for it to assume the new
shape (i.e., the refreezing stage).
Lewin’s Model Cont.
By looking at change as a process with distinct stages, an organization can take the steps necessary to
prepare for the change(s) that is/are anticipated and establish a plan to manage the change process. This
approach formalizes the change process and permits an organization to avoid the chaos that often
accompanies unplanned change.
According to Lewin, "motivation for change must be generated before change can occur.” An essential
aspect of the change process, therefore, is preparing an organization to accept that change is not only
necessary, but critical to moving past the status quo to arrive at a new and better way of doing business.
Key to this is developing a compelling message showing why the existing way of doing things cannot
continue. This is easiest to frame when you can point to declining sales figures, poor financial results,
worrying customer satisfaction surveys, or suchlike: These show that things have to change in a way that
everyone can understand.
To prepare the organization successfully, you need to start at its core – you need to challenge the beliefs,
values, attitudes, and behaviors that currently define it. Using the analogy of a building, you must examine
and be prepared to change the existing foundations as they might not support add-on stories; unless this is
done, the whole building may risk collapse.
This first part of the change process is usually the most difficult and stressful. When you start cutting
down the "way things are done", you put everyone and everything off balance. You may evoke strong
reactions in people, and that's exactly what needs to do.
By forcing the organization to re-examine its core, you effectively create a (controlled) crisis, which in
turn can build a strong motivation to seek out a new equilibrium. Without this motivation, you won't get
the buy-in and participation necessary to effect any meaningful change.
After the uncertainty created in the unfreeze stage, the change stage is where people begin to resolve their
uncertainty and look for new ways to do things. People start to believe and act in ways that support the
new direction. The transition from unfreeze to change does not happen overnight: People take time to
embrace the new direction and participate proactively in the change. A related change model, the Change
Curve, focuses on the specific issue of personal transitions in a changing environment and is useful for
understanding this specific aspect in more detail.
To accept the change and contribute to making the change successful, people need to understand how the
changes will benefit them. Not everyone will fall in line just because the change is necessary and will
benefit the company. This is a common assumption and pitfall that should be avoided.
Unfortunately, some people will genuinely be harmed by change, particularly those who benefit strongly
from the status quo. Others may take a long time to recognize the benefits that change brings. You need to
foresee and manage these situations.
Time and communication are the two keys to success for the changes to occur. People need time to
understand the changes and they also need to feel highly connected to the organization throughout the
transition period. When you are managing change, this can require a great deal of time and effort and
hands-on management is usually the best approach.
When the changes are taking shape and people have embraced the new ways of working, the organization
is ready to refreeze. The outward signs of the refreeze are a stable organization chart, consistent job
descriptions, and so on. The refreeze stage also needs to help people and the organization internalize or
institutionalize the changes. This means making sure that the changes are used all the time; and that they
are incorporated into everyday business. With a new sense of stability, employees feel confident and
comfortable with the new ways of working.
The rationale for creating a new sense of stability in our every changing world is often questioned. Even
though change is a constant in many organizations, this refreezing stage is still important. Without it,
employees get caught in a transition trap where they aren't sure how things should be done, so nothing
ever gets done to full capacity.
In the absence of a new frozen state, it is very difficult to tackle the next change initiative effectively. How
do you go about convincing people that something needs changing if you haven't allowed the most recent
changes to sink in? Change will be perceived as change for change's sake, and the motivation required to
implement new changes simply won't be there.
As part of the Refreezing process, make sure that you celebrate the success of the change – this helps
people to find closure, thanks them for enduring a painful time, and helps them believe that future change
will be successful.
Practical Steps for Using the Framework
DETERMINE WHAT NEEDS TO CHANGE
Survey the organization to understand the current state.
Understand why change must take place
ENSURE THERE IS STRONG SUPPORT FROM UPPER MANAGEMENT
Use Stakeholder Analysis and Stakeholder Management to identify and win the support of
key people within the organization.
Frame the issue as one of organization-wide importance.
CREATE THE NEED FOR CHANGE
Create a compelling message as to why change must occur.
Use your vision and strategy as supporting evidence.
Communicate the vision in terms of the change required.
Emphasize the "why.”
MANAGE AND UNDERSTAND THE DOUBTS AND CONCERNS
Remain open to employee concerns and address in terms of the need to change.
Do so throughout the planning and implementation of the changes.
Describe the benefits.
Explain exactly the how the changes will affect everyone.
Prepare everyone for what is coming.
Answer questions openly and honestly.
Deal with problems immediately.
Relate the need for change back to operational necessities.
Provide lots of opportunity for employee involvement.
Have line managers provide day-to-day direction.
INVOLVE PEOPLE IN THE PROCESS
Generate short-term wins to reinforce the change.
Negotiate with external stakeholders as necessary (such as employee organizations).
ANCHOR THE CHANGES INTO THE CULTURE
Identity what supports the change.
Identify barriers to sustaining change.
DEVELOP WAYS TO SUSTAIN THE CHANGE
Ensure leadership support.
Create a reward system.
Establish feedback systems.
Adapt the organizational structure as necessary.
PROVIDE SUPPORT AND TRAINING
Keep everyone informed and supported.
Change is a constant in any business today, regardless of the industry, maturity level, or size of the
organization. The good news, this is generally a good thing. There are various models that can help an
organization analyze and communicate the implications of the change(s) to the organization and determine
how to transition as seamlessly as possible. Ultimately, as suggested by Lewin’s “Unfreeze-ChangeRefreeze” Model, change is necessary and it will likely come with some level of discomfort but can create
positive outcomes when given time to run its course.
Burke, W. (1992). Organization Development: A process of learning and changing. (2nd ed.).
OD Network Tools - Weisbord Six-Box Model
Burke, W. W., & Litwin, G. H., (1992). A causal model of organizational performance and
change. Journal of Management, 18(3), 523-545. Retrieved
Ann Howard & Associates (1994), Diagnosis for Organizational Change, Guildford Press,
New York, NY. [Google Scholar]
Falletta, S. V. (2005). Organizational Diagnostic Models: A Review and
Synthesis. Leadersphere, Inc. Retrieved from
Flixabout.com (2016, September 12). Levitts model. [YouTube]. Retrieved
Kaplan, R. (2005). How the balanced scorecard complements the McKinsey 7S model.
Retrieved from: https://managementmodellensite.nl/webcontent/uploads/How-the-balancedscorecard-complements-the-McKinsey-7-S-model.pdf
Mercer Delta Consulting, LLC (2004). The congruence model: A roadmap for understanding
organization performance. Retrieved
O’Loughlin, Eugene (2011, August 23). Problem-solving Techniques #17: Force Field
Analysis. [YouTube]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qj85sDfwRXU
RichReport (2015, March 24). High-Performance and Scalable Designs of Programming
Models for Exascale Systems. [YouTube]. Retrieved
Strategy Directive – MA 208-2 (n.d.). 6.3 Steps of Tichy for change in organizations.
SuperDataScience (2017, May 25). Likert Scale Tableau Tutorial. [YouTube]. Retrieved
Tichy, N. M., Hornstein, H. A., & Nisberg, J. N. (1977). Organization diagnosis and
intervention strategies: Developing emergent pragmatic theories of change. In W. W. Burke
(Ed.), Current Issue and Strategies in Organization development (pp. 361-383). New York,
NY: Human Sciences Press.
Weisbord, Marvin (2013, April 23). Getting the whole system in the room. [YouTube].
Retrieved from https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=weisbord%27s+sixbox+model+You+Tube&view=detail&mid=8A63FAD250370B4435968A63FAD250370B443
Synthesizing a Systems
Principles of a Whole-Systems
William Brock is a consumer products
CFO, managing both finance and
operations for companies operating
throughout North America, Central
America, Europe, and Asia. His
experience includes an emphasis on
organizational turnarounds as well as
mergers and acquisitions. A licensed CPA, William
earned his MBA from Emory University and is structuring
his doctoral studies at Benedictine University around the
whole-systems of organizations.
Volume 30 s Number 3 s Fall 2012
Although comprised of a rich history, the systems
perspective is still relatively rare in OD, and
practical application of systems concepts is
problematic. This paper proposes principles of a
Whole-Systems Metrics model based on a
foundation established from the systems literature.
This model both extends theory and aids
practitioners as a powerful organizational change
tool founded on a synthesis of systems theory and
a combined paradigm of both diagnostic and
dialogic approaches to organizational change.
Organizational change in its abstract form may be
defined as the empirical observance of variation in
an organization’s form, quality, or state over time
(Ford & Ford, 1995; Ven & Poole, 1995), but within
the field of Organization Development (OD), this
abstraction is further refined to focus on a specific
type of change - whole-system change. Although
perspectives vary within OD literature, there is a
normative theme of organizational change as
planned, based on behavioral science values and
methodologies, and encompassing the wholesystem (Burke, 2008a; Cummings & Worley, 2009;
Montuori, 2000). Since its inception, the
organizational development and change literature
has demonstrated an increasing understanding of
the interdependence among the multiple, disparate
“parts” of organizations as well as the danger in
attempts to “fix” organizational symptoms based
on snapshot views without recognition of the
continuous interplay among these parts (Burke,
2008b; Katz & Kahn, 1978; Mohrman, Mohrman Jr.,
& Tenkasi, 1996; Senge, 1990; Weisbord, 2004).
Inherent in this theme is the assumption that “the
whole is greater than the sum of the parts,” an
Aristotelian assertion which serves as one of the
basic foundations of a systemic or “whole-systems”
approach toward organizational change (Ackoff,
1994; von Bertalanffy, 1972).
the organizational and decision-making processes
in human society in order to make them more
responsive to human needs and not simply to
manipulate or control them” (Hammond, 1997, p. 5).
A complementary theme appears in the systems
literature where it is argued that in lacking a
systems view, management makes decisions which
provoke unforeseen reactions, thus creating future
problems as the result of today’s solutions
(Sterman, 2002; Zexian & Xuhui, 2010). It is also
posited that the failure of many management fads
including benchmarking, right-sizing, total quality
management, reengineering, the balanced
scorecard (and others) is the result of applying an
extension of the “one best way” concept of
mechanistic thinking and of the failure to apply a
creative, holistic approach as supported by systems
thinking (Jac ...
Purchase answer to see full