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In the field of Organizational Development there are many activities and disciplines. One of those is the area of organizational diagnosis and the use of structured organizational diagnostic tools.

The effective diagnosis of organizational culture, and structural and operational strengths and weaknesses are fundamental to any successful organizational development intervention. As Beckhard[1] said in the preface to his seminal work

... in our rapidly changing environment, new organization forms must be developed; more effective goal-setting and planning processes must be learned, and practiced teams of independent people must spend real time improving their methods of working, decision-making and communicating. Competing or conflicting groups must move towards a collaborative way of work. In order for these changes to occur and be maintained, a planned, managed change effort is necessary - a program of organizational development.

This was written in 1969 and while much has been learnt it is just as true today.

Since the beginnings of organizational development as a profession, diagnosis has moved from the purely behavioral towards a strategic and holistic business diagnostic approach. Moving away from looking at human interventions in isolation, to exploring the interactions of people in the context in which they operate. equally as organizations are increasingly collaborative in nature, the traditional silo approach to diagnostics is becoming increasingly rare. Organizational development and in particular the diagnostic phase of activities is spreading from the occupational psychologists towards main stream business. This is important for OD practitioners as the role is increasingly holistic

The Consulting Process

The organizational Diagnostic phase is often integrated within an overal OD process, commonly called 'a consulting process'. An example of such a process is:

Entry --> Diagnosis --> Action Planning --> Implementation --> Termination [2]

As the second phase in the consulting cycle, it is also the first fully operational phase of the consulting process or cycle. The purpose of the diagnosis is to examine the problem faced by the organization in detail, to identify factors and forces that are causing the problem and to prepare the collected information to decide how to implement possible solutions to the identified problems.

The diagnosis of the problem is a separate phase from the solutions themselves.

Organizational diagnostic tools


  1. Organizational Development: strategies and models - Beckhard 1969
  2. Management Consulting - Kubr


  • Cameron & Quinn; Diagnosing and Changing Organizational Culture, 1999
  • Harrison, Michael I. Diagnosing Organizations: Methods, Models, and Processes, 2005
  • Levinson, Harry; Organizational Diagnosis, 1972
  • Organizational Diagnosis - A practical approach to company problem solving and growth, 1988
  • Weisbord, Marvin R; Organizational Diagnosis - A workbook of theory and Practice, 1978

See also

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