In the mid 1970's, Marvin Weisbord, an organisational design consultant, created his six boxes model as a diagnostics tool of organisational effectiveness. He identified six key areas in which 'things must go right' and be internally consistent for an organisation to be successful. The result of the diagnosis is a prioritised list of ready to be implemented interventions that can drive a change process.

 

The diagnosis involved a ten step process during which the consultant or manager builds a profile of the organisation:

 

PHASE I: PRODUCE A HIGH-LEVEL SCAN

1. Draw the boundary between organisation and its environment

2. Draw the organisation's input/output system by listing

    - inputs;

    - outputs;

    - transformation processes;

    - feedback mechanisms.

3. Establish issues for the most important output using a satisfaction congruity matrix.

4. Establish issues for the stakeholders of the organisation based on their

     satisfaction level.

 

PHASE II: FOCUS ON IDENTIFIED KEY ISSUES

5. Purposes

- goal fit: how appropriate is the organisation's goal given its environment?

- goal clarity: are purposes clear enough to provide guidance to organisation members?

- goal agreement: to what extent do organisation members share the organisation's goals?

 

6. Structure

- draw the organisation chart;

- determine the dominant design archetype (functional, product/project/program

   or hybrid);

- assess the rate of change of the environment, technology and departments;

- list issues of the formal and informal systems;

- discover the rationale of past reorganisations to identify continuous symptoms.

 

7. Relationships

assess the quality of relationships between:

- organisation members (peers and manager/staff);

- units executing different tasks;

- people and their technologies

- systems, equipment and methods.

 

The diagnosis takes into account two factors:

- the level of interdependence;

- the degree of built-in conflict in relationships.

 

When interdependence is high and quality of relations is poor, no mode of conflict management suffices, members are required to experiment with new communication styles.

 

8. Rewards

- what the organisation needs to reward;

- what the organisation pays, both in real terms and psychologically;

- what circumstances make the organisation members feel rewarded or punished.

 

Weisbord used Maslow's hierarchy of needs and Herzberg's two factor theory to diagnose the fit between the formal reward system and perceived reward system.

 

9. Leadership

For managers to act effectively, the leadership style needs to fit the informal organisation's behaviour. Leadership's main tasks are to scan the environment, set goals and align the internal organisation to fulfil the defined objectives.

 

10. Helpful mechanisms

Mechanisms are helpful when they:

- assist in the coordination or integration of work;

- assist in monitoring the organisation's work;

- help deal with issues from scanning and diagnostics activities.

 

Mechanism cuts across the other five boxes. Mechanisms are formal and informal, helpful and unhelpful.

 

Classes of mechanisms are:

- policies, procedures, agenda's, meetings;

- informal devices, ad hoc solutions to add to the formal structure;

- planning, budgeting, control and measurement.