http://gom.sagepub.com Organizational Diagnosis: Six Places To Look for Trouble with or Without a Theory
Marvin R. Weisbord Group Organization Management 1976; 1; 430 DOI: 10.1177/105960117600100405
The online version of this article can be found at: http://gom.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/1/4/430
Eastern Academy of Management
Additional services and information for Group & Organization Management can be found at: Email Alerts: http://gom.sagepub.com/cgi/alerts Subscriptions: http://gom.sagepub.com/subscriptions Reprints: http://www.sagepub.com/journalsReprints.nav Permissions: http://www.sagepub.com/journalsPermissions.nav Citations (this article cites 4 articles hosted onthe SAGE Journals Online and HighWire Press platforms): http://gom.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/1/4/430#BIBL
Downloaded from http://gom.sagepub.com by guest on June 12, 2007 © 1976 SAGE Publications. All rights reserved. Not for commercial use or unauthorized distribution.
Six Places To Look for Trouble with or Without a Theory
MARVIN R. WEISBORD
Thisarticle presents a practice theory for diagnosing organizations -that is, a combination of many ideas in a relatively simple framework that can be applied in various settings. It brings together organization/environment, sociotechnical, and formal/informal systems concepts, and proposes six broad categories for looking at an organization: purposes; structure ; relationships; rewards; leadership; andhelpful mechanisms. The author illustrates how these six factors influence each other and provides clues about what to diagnose in each category, considering the infinite number of possibilities. He also suggests that what are called "process" issues show up as blocked work that can be freed by understanding and intervening in one or more of the six boxes.
No single model or conceptual schemeembraces the whole breadth and complexity of reality, even though each in turn may be useful in particular instances. This is why management remains an art, for the practitioner must go beyond the limits of theoretical knowledge if he is to be effective. (Tilles, 1963, pp. 73-81)
labels that would help me better describe what I saw and heard and understand the relationships among various bits ofdata. I started this endeavor when I realized that though I knew many organization theories, most were either (1) too narrow to
maps&dquo; of organizations. These
For several years I have been experimenting with
Copyright © 1976 by Marvin R. Weisbord and Organization Research & Development, a division of Block Petrella Associates, Inc., 23 E. Wynnewood Road,Wynnewood, Pa. 19096. Permission granted for internal educational
Group & Organization Studies, December 1976, 1 (4), 430-447. by University Associates, Inc. Copyright © 1976Downloaded from http://gom.sagepub.com by guest on June 12, 2007
© 1976 SAGE Publications. All rights reserved. Not for commercial use or unauthorized distribution.
include everything I wished tounderstand or (2) too broadly abstract to give much guidance about what to do. This article represents a progress report on my efforts to combine bits of data, theories, research, and hunches into a working tool that anyone can use. It is one example of a process I believe goes on among practitioners that is neither well documented nor well understood (Weisbord, 1974a). The process does not take placein a mode consistent with the protocols of social science research. It is not tied to any particular theory, nor is it subject to easy translation into research instruments. It is not intended to prove or disprove hypotheses. Rather, it represents what Vaill (1975; Friedlander & Brown, 1974) calls a &dquo;practice theory&dquo;-a synthesis of knowledge and experience into a concept that bears...