Organizational Diagnosis: An Evidence-based Approach

  • McFillen J
  • O'Neil D
  • Balzer W
 et al. 
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Organizational diagnosis plays a critical role in organizational change initiatives in terms of both choosing appropriate interventions and contributing to readiness-to-change within an organization. Although numerous authors identify diagnosis as an integral component of the change process and many have recommended specific theories and models that should be used in diagnosis, little attention has been given to the diagnostic process itself. The lack of rigour in the diagnostic process and the misdiagnoses that follow are likely to be significant factors in the high failure rate of change initiatives reported in the literature. This article reviews evidence-based diagnosis in engineering and medicine, summarizes the basic steps found in those diagnostic processes, identifies three cause–effect relationships that underlie evidence-based diagnosis, and suggests four spheres of knowledge that must intersect to guide the diagnostic process. Based upon that review, an evidence-based approach is proposed for organizational diagnosis with the goals of bringing more scientific rigour to the diagnostic process, improving the appropriateness of interventions chosen for a given situation and contributing to readiness-to-change among organizational members. Finally, specific steps are recommended for advancing the state of organizational diagnosis in the field of organization development and change.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Organizational diagnosis
  • change management
  • evidence-based diagnosis
  • organization development
  • organizational diagnosis model

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  • James M. McFillen

  • Deborah A. O'Neil

  • William K. Balzer

  • Glenn H. Varney

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