Chapter 5: Diagnosis for Change
On completion of this chapter you should be able to
• Understand the role of diagnostic models.
• Apply a range of diagnostic instruments relevant to various aspects of the process of managing. • Form a view on which instruments you find most attractive/helpful. This chapter introduces a range of diagnostic instruments that can be applied to the management of change. Some are designed to highlight a particular aspect of the change process (e.g., the readiness of an organization for change), some deal with one aspect of an organization (e.g., its strategy or its structure), while others—“diagnostic models”—refer to the operation of the organization as a whole.
How a diagnostic device is used also relates to what sort of manager of change you are (in terms of the change manager images discussed in Chapter 2). One option consistent with the change manager as director is to use diagnostic tools to build up your own knowledge base and confidence about what needs to change by using models that specify relationships among variables and pinpoint where change is needed when things are not going well. This chapter provides a number of such models that depict the connections between organizational variables (through the use of boxes, lines, and arrows, etc.). These models may be seen to engender a level of confidence about the desired outputs that will be produced following change interventions that focus on the identified variables and their interrelationships (see, e.g., Nadler and Tushman's congruence model).
The change manager as navigator also will find the diagnostic tools attractive; models are ways of “mapping” the environment they describe. The change manager as caretaker will be less convinced of the capacity of the diagnostic tools to support radical change, but several of the tools (see, e.g., PESTEL and scenario analysis) provide insights into the trends in the external environment that they will have to take into account.
The change manager as coach will focus on the diagnostic tools that highlight the goals being sought and the competencies needed to attain them (see, e.g., Table 5.6, “Testing the Quality of Your Strategy”), while the change manager as interpreter will be attracted to the diagnostic tools that emphasize images, framing, and cognitive maps (see, e.g., Table 5.3, “Diagnosis by Image”). However, the nurturer with an interest in emergent strategy may remain unconvinced as to the value of such diagnostic tools.
The issue of who does the diagnosing is also of relevance in the management of change. There are a range of views as to who is most appropriate. This will become clearer after Chapters 7 and 8, which deal with different “schools of thought” on how change should be managed. For example, in “change management,” (see Chapter 8), the task of diagnosis is part of senior management and/or consultants employed as subject experts and advisers. In “organizational development,” (see Chapter 7), consultants use diagnostic tools as part of their focus on helping the client by managing process (more than content). Organizational development and related approaches stress the importance of those who are to be affected by the change being involved in the diagnosis. The rationale is usually that such involvement produces greater commitment to the change process and, as a result, enhances prospects of success. Those organizational development consultants who subscribe to a future search approach (see Chapter 7) take a hard line on this, explicitly rejecting pressure to be thrust into the role of diagnostician.1
Directly connected to the “who diagnoses” is what Harrison calls “the political implications of diagnosis.”2 Diagnosis may be seen as “the thin edge of the wedge” for those fearing a particular change. No matter how nonaligned and objective the wielder of the diagnostic tools tries to be, it is almost impossible to avoid the situation...
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