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Open Systems Theory: National Presto Industries

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This assignment is about understanding Organizational Diagnostic (OD) models and applying them to a specific organization.

As a Case Study, the paper focuses on National Presto Industries, Inc. (NPI), identified as a leading company in Forbes' 2010 Best Small Companies. http://www.forbes.com/lists/2010/23/best-small-companies-10_rank.html

Eleven of the most common OD models are examined, including:
- Force Field Analysis
- Leavitt's Model
- Likert System Analysis
- Weisbord's Six-Box Model
- Open Systems Theory
- Congruence Model for Organizational Analysis
- McKinsey 7S Framework
- Tichy's Technical Political Culture Framework
- High-Performance Programming
- Harrison's Diagnosing Individual and Group Behavior
- Burke-Litwin Model of Organizational Performance and Change


Make a Case for which OD model you think is the best for doing an OD analysis for National Presto Industries, Inc., based on several current issues the company is facing. There are several parts to this assignment, including both the general discussion of OD models, as well as the specific application to National Presto Industries.

Includes a primary reference to Steve Falletta, (2008). Organizational Diagnostic Models: A Review and Synthesis. Leadersphere, Inc. Sacramento, CA.

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Introduction-Why Organizational Diagnosis

Organizational diagnosis (OD) provides codified methods to align an enterprise's operations with its overall strategy. Many excellent business plans have failed owing to a disconnect between strategy and tactics. OD strives to build a model of an organization which can then be diagnosed for improvements. The field has evolved over the past 50 years, with many competing models offering difference balances between simplicity and complexity, different foci varied between inputs, throughputs, and output. Regardless of the focus and scope chosen, OD offers enterprise leadership the opportunity to objectively assess their organization and directly apply efforts to affect change.

Force Field Analysis
Conceived over 50 year ago by Kurt Lewin, Force Field (FF) theory seeks to analyze and manage organizational problems, (Falletta, 2008). It is a broad, generalized theory of group interaction that requires a great deal of customization to be useful to a specific organization. This can be considered a strength, as it can be applied across disciplines and industries. FF Analysis begins with an organization's current state. This state is the result of various forces applied at equilibrium. Changing some combination of driving forces (those promoting change), and restraining forces (those resisting change) allows transformation of the organization into a new, desired equilibrium, (Falletta, 2008).

Some of the underlying assumptions of FF make its application difficult. First and most fundamental is that an organization is ever at equilibrium. Defining the current state of affairs in order to identify the differentiated fields assumes they are constant- and identifiable at all, (Business, 2009). Modern business is likely obsolete if ever in equilibrium.

Leavitt's Model
An attempt to refine FF Analysis occurred with Leavitt's Model in 1965, (Falletta, 2008). Leavitt expanded the idea of force fields into specific categories: structure, technology, people, and task, (Harwood, n.d.). Similar to FF Analysis, all four variables are interdependent-changes in one likely motivate subsequent changes in another, (Falletta, 2008). Leavitt's model cannot be considered an improvement on FF in that it is even more generalized, lacks any specific criteria for how each variable affects the others, and makes no attempt to consider the organization's relationship- as a whole- with the surrounding environment.
Likert System Analysis

Focusing much more on how internal elements interact-and much less on defining each internal element-Likert System Analysis focuses on the vertical integration of an organization. Likert describes four primary types of organizations, from most to least vertically organized: Exploitive-Authoritarian, Benevolent-Authoritarian, Consultative, and Participative Group, (Falletta, 2008). The major improvement on previous theories was Likert's inclusion of an exhaustive survey for gauging how the target organization operates. Limitations include the dated nature of the theory (written in 1967), as well as a lack of practical application. The crux of Likert's work was the idea that employees were beginning to expect a more democratic work environment, and any movement toward a Participative Group would result in beneficial change throughout the organization, (Likert, 2006). Likert offers more a process for statistical categorization-applicable across disciplines-than specific organizational diagnostic tools, (QuickMBA, 1999).

Weisbord's Six-Box Model
In 1976, Marvin Weisbord developed his six-box model to assess the functionality of organizations, (Reflectlearn.org, n.d.). He divided an organization into six segments, and sought to survey participants in order to optimize relationships between each segment (see Figure 2). The result was a true improvement over previous OD tools- for example, the fields of FF are at least subdivided into specific categories for further study, and the ...

Solution Summary

This 10 page, APA style paper explains 11 different organizational diagnostic models in detail, and makes a case that Burke-Litwin Model of Organizational Performance and Change best applies open systems theory to National Presto Industries. 2,400 words, 17 references cited.

See Also This Related BrainMass Solution

National Presto Industries: Open Systems Theory, Development, Inputs, Outputs, Loops


for National Presto Industries, Inc

Part 1:

What is open systems theory? How can open systems theory be used to understand an organization? Discuss how open systems theory could apply to the military?

Part 2-:

Oganizational Development
OD - How does OD relate to Strategy? How do you think the top management team at National Presto Systems could use OD to inform its thinking about strategy?

Inputs - What are some of the important inputs to an organization to which you belong?

Marketing Strategy (Generic Strategy) - price and product development. And also Market Saturation. How do these relate to each other? How are they best analyzed and developed into a strategy?

Discuss the connection or relationships, if any, among Org Development, Inputs to an organization, and Marketing Strategy (Generic Strategy)?

Part 3:

Discuss this general topic of analyzing and reviewing alignment and congruence, inputs, outputs, and processes. Is there really any value in doing this type of analysis? If so, what? How would you go about actually using this information in an organization, e.g. the military? or National Presto Systems?

Part 4:

What is meant by "organizational structure"? What are the components of organizational structure?

Does National Presto Systems, Inc.'s organizational structure fit or follow from its strategy? Is it important that an organization's structure follow from its strategy? In the case of National Presto Systems, Inc. are strategy and structure aligned? Can you think of examples of organizations in which the strategy follows from the structure?

Part 5:

Are the ideas of balancing and reinforcing loops useful?

Can you provide examples of these "loops" in the military? Put yourself in the place of a member of the top management team at National Presto Systems, Inc. How might you use the concept of feedback loops to improve the business and manage better?

What are the implications of feedback loops for organizational strategy?

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