Organizational diagnosis is
a process based upon behavioral science theory for publicly entering a
human system, collecting valid data about human experiences with that system,
and feeding that information back to the system to promote increased understanding
of the system by its members (Alderfer, 1981). Purpose of organizational
diagnosis is to establish a widely shared understanding of a system and
based upon that understanding to determine whether change is desirable.
Concept of system
System can be viewed as a linkage of
input flows (energy, materials, information, human resources, economic
resources) from sources in the external environment, a transforming mechanism
(a machine or a technical-human organization), and flows of outputs or
outcomes provided to users. System may include one or more feedback mechanisms
Focus of attention
Diagnostic activities should focus
its attention to two areas – (a) subsystem areas (top management, department,
group, individual unit) (b) organization processes or organizational health
(decision-making process, communication patterns and styles, relationships
between interfacing groups, the management of conflict, the setting of
goals and planning methods).
Who will diagnose?
People cannot be diagnosticians in
systems in which they are full-fledged members due to overt or covert vested
interests. Diagnosticians must maintain role of researcher (systematic,
objective and result-oriented investigation) and must establish some type
of liaison system between the researcher and the elements of the systems.
The liaison may be an individual or a group.
Internal researchers can work in parts
of a larger system in which they have not been or currently are not members.
But they cannot study their own groups and they generally have a great
deal of difficulty with parts of the system in which they have recently
Phases of organizational diagnosis
Primary objectives of entry are to
determine which units of the system (individual, group and organization)
will participate in the diagnosis and to determine whether the researcher
and respondent can reach agreement about their respective roles during
data collection and feedback. Researchers may experience anxiety related
to potential acceptance or rejection by the respondent system. The more
self-awareness and experience the researchers have, the less these feelings
will interfere with their effectiveness during entry.
The primary objectives of data collection
are to gather valid information about the nature of the system systematically
and to prepare an analysis of that data for delivery to respondents during
feedback. Collection of data proceeds from less (unstructured observation)
to more structured methods (qustionnaires) to produce more valid data.
In unstructured observation, researchers
will be concerned with the relevant documents offered by the respondent,
newsletters, chairman reports, roaming around relevant selected places,
interviewing individuals or group. He must decide how much emphasis to
give to theoretical concepts for understanding the observational data.
Researcher besides observation and theoretical concepts should pay attention
to respondent’s own explanation of the data. Repeated unstructured observation,
explanation of respondents and use of theory lead the researcher to develop
hypothesis about the causal relationship of the specific events, relationships
among the independent, dependent and moderating variables.
It is better to take a case history
of the organization before observational data collection. The case history
should cover the followings:
Identification data: It
includes organization name, location, type of organization, organization
affiliation, size (financial condition, stockholders, employees).
Historical data: Cheap complaints,
duration and possible determinants, short-range and long-range problems,
major crisis of the organization (natural catastrophy, loss of key personnel,
labour problems, financial emergencies, technological changes), product
service history (change and development of organizational goals, sequence
of development in product or service), organizational folklore.
Structural data: Organizational
chart, formal job description, ecology of the organization (spatial distribution
of individuals, activities), financial structure, personnel (size, various
educational levels, average tenure, range or skills, absentee rate, turnover
rate, accident rate), structure for handling personnel (recruitment, orientation,
training, growth of the job, promotion, compensation, performance analysis),
rules and regulations (medical, safety, retirement, recreation, other fringe
Organizational perceptions (alertness, accuracy and vividness), organizational
knowledge (acquisition, use and dissemination of knowledge), organizational
language, emotional atmosphere of the organization and organizational action.
Attitudes and relationship:
Attitudes towards the task agents, relations to things and ideas, attitudes
about self, inter-organizational relationships.
Analysis and conclusions:
Appraisal of the effect of the environment on the organization, appraisal
of the effect of the organization on the environment, reactions, appraisal
of the organization, impairments and level of integration.
Primary objective of feedback is to
promote increased understanding of the client system by its members. Effective
feedback design relates the content of the feedback to the process by which
the analysis is delivered to the system. The process of feedback is the
composition of feedback meetings (i.e., who is present with whom), the
ordering of the meetings (i.e., which groups receive information first,
which is second, etc.), the behavior of the system during feedback and
the behavior of the researchers within and between feedback meetings. feedback
is probably the period of maximum anxiety during the entire diagnosis.
If the system could tolerate the anxiety, system could learn its self.
In sum, the methodology of organizational
diagnosis calls for the researcher to be competent in the conventional
use of social science tools ( observation, interviews, questionnaires and
archives) ant to possess a sophisticated theory and the related behavioural
skills to enter, collect and feedback information to complex multigroup
1. Improving organizational health
and job satisfaction:
A public sector plant interested to
improve organizational health (adequate physical environmnt, organizational
climate and relations with the task environment)and job satisfaction of
managers, supervisors and staffs. Both organizational health and job satisfaction
questionnaire administered to the random samples of three organizational
hierarchies. Hierarchical multiple regression analysis shows managers gave
more importance to organizational satisfaction and organizational awareness.
To supervisors, autonomy in decision making, satisfactory relationship
between organization and task environment, awareness of changes in task
environment, and organizational need satisfaction were important for job
satisfaction. To staffs, problem solving opportunity and good interpersonal
trust were important for job satisfaction. The results were presented to
the authority of the company. The authority of the plant discussed the
results with the colleagues and took some measures.
2. Improving organizational health
of the hospital :
A government hospital is interested
to improve present condition of its organizational health. Organizational
health scale was administered to the doctors and nurses following random
sampling procedure. Results show inadequacy in physical (inadequate machines
and equipments, high level of noise), mental(poor interpersonal trust,
inadequate awareness of safety rules and regulations, less autonomy in
patient care, inadequate financial growth) and social health (poor satisfaction
level of organization with its task agents) of the hospital. Hospital authority
was suggested to (i) introduce quality circle for efficient housekeeping
and for awareness of safety rules and regulations (ii) introduce sensitivity
training programme for interpersonal conflict reduction (iii) introduce
vendor development programme in order to collect quality equipment and
tools from various suppliers.
3. Improving organizational awareness:
A public sector plant is interested
to improve present status of organizational awareness. Organizational awareness
questionnaire was administered to the employees. Results show relatively
poor awareness of organizational objectives, production process, safety
rules. Suggestions were given related to (i) introduction of written job
chart (ii) introduction of suggestion box system in which employees could
give suggestion regarding the improvement of production process, controlling
environmental pollution, safety programme etc. (iii) both way quality circle
programme (iv) organizing safety dramma, safety poem and song writing and
safety poster campaign.
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