Organizational Diagnostics

Every organization undergoes the processes of development and transformation based on its needs and the changes in the external environment. However, before this development is achieved, organizational diagnostic must be conducted either internal or external. Organizational diagnostic is the analysis of the widely accepted understanding of an entity and then determining the necessity for desirable change (Levinson, 1972, pp 24). It is based on the processes of entry, data collection and feedback for a system. An organizational diagnostician is a professional who works with the concerned organization in determining the nature of the organization and the necessity for change (Alderfer, 1968, pp 261).  Organizational diagnosticians only attempt to change the system based on the purpose of the diagnosis. However, they do not insist on effecting change where the purpose of the diagnosis does not conform.

An external organizational diagnostician helps in analyzing an organization from outside and therefore has better insights into the processes and outcomes within the organization (Mahler, 1974, pp 27). In addition, the professional is free from any form of bias and is more likely to give a neutral and honest opinion of their observation. While it may be argued that internal diagnosticians relate better with the organization itself, the advantages of having an external diagnostician far outweigh those of internal ones. The professional must work towards establishing and sustaining a healthy working relationship with the components of the system that they are hired to diagnose (Allcorn, 2005, pp 25). The professional should therefore ascertain the type of data to collect, the best methods of data collection, and the most effective channels of feeding back the information to the organization for better understanding among the main components (Burke et al., 2009, pp 31).

The first step of organizational diagnosis is entry of the diagnostician, in this case an external professional. The main goal of entry is determination of the different units of the organization that are to be diagnosed including the individuals and the organization itself (Oppliger, 1974, pp 42). Moreover, entry should facilitate the determination of the different roles for both the diagnostician and the client in terms of data collection and feedback. The three steps of diagnosis overlap each other and this is evidenced by the fact that the first step involves data collection which is a step in the second stage. Here, the external diagnostician collects data about the system through observations and conversations with the client. There is a danger to being an external consultant as they can be restricted from accessing some of the components of the system (Weisbord, 2002, pp 37). The diagnostician must be wary of this unfolding and insist that they get access to key installations in the organization. At the end of the first stage, the diagnostician should have a well developed idea of the necessary understanding of the system (Harrison & Shirom, 1999, pp 28).

Immediately after entry, the external diagnostician must embark on the next stage of data collection. The stage starts when the professional develops a methodology for data collection and then contacts the components of the system for methodology implementation (Alderfer, 2011, pp 12). Essentially, the goal of this stage of diagnosis is to gather viable and useful information on the nature of the system under diagnosis and then preparing the same for presentation to the client. The process of data collection is done in different episodes each having a unique objective that conforms to the main goal of the process (Burton & Obel, 2004, pp 9). Essentially, each episode of data collection commences through the establishment of the basis of the client-consultant relationship. The importance of having the consultant establish the entry is to help the diagnostician with an opportunity to relook into the hypotheses and confirm its conformity to the initial goal of the process (Adrien et al., 2002, pp 58). The diagnostician must collect both qualitative and quantitative data for an in-depth analysis of the system under diagnosis. Therefore, the professional should specify the specific type of data that they require from the different components of the system. In specifying the type of data required, the consultant communicates the important aspects to the client thus serving as a form of feedback (Latham & Vinyard, 2005, pp 41). Ultimately, the stage comes to an end after the diagnostician analyzes the data and prepares it for feedback to the client.

The final stage involves the submission of feedback from the diagnostician to the client regarding the observations made about the system. The primary objective of this stage is the promotion of better and increased understanding by members of the system being diagnosed (Nadler, 1977, pp 14). Normally, feedback is channeled through a series of meetings between the client and the diagnostician. The results of data analysis are presented to the client during these meetings with each set of results being interpreted to the best understanding of the client. The incidence of feedback presents a form of reentry of the diagnostician into the system (Howard, 1994, pp 29). This is because the diagnostician is assumed to have gone away during data analysis. As mentioned before, the stages are overlapping in nature and one cannot be isolated from the others. Essentially, the reactions of the client to the feedback given are an important source of data to the diagnostician. Depending on the positivity or negativity of the reactions, the diagnostician can determine whether the client agrees or disagrees with the feedback given (Alderfer & Brown, 1975, pp 46). The end of feedback ushers the process of decision making as to whether change is necessary in the organization.



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