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Case: Introduction to Open Systems Theory SLP


The case for this course is a little different from most classes, because it is an ongoing case analysis, and we call it the Integrative Case Project.

You will analyze one organization throughout the course, applying different models to assemble an organizational diagnosis. The organization will be National Presto Industries, Inc., identified as a leading company in Forbesâ?? 2010 Best Small Companies. http://www.forbes.com/lists/2010/23/best-small-companies-10_rank.html


Refer to the assigned and optional readings in the background for this module.


Oganizational Development (OD) and Open Systems Theory (OST)

In order to facilitate our integration of the various subject areas in the MBA degree, we will be using several models of organizational analysis and diagnosis. These models are based on open systems theory. You will review various OD models, some of which use OST as a framework for the model. So in this module we will be laying the foundation for the course with a brief introduction to systems theory and how it applies to organizations.

Assigned Readings:

Download and read this white paper by Falletta about OD models. Salvatore Falletta, President and CEO of Leadersphere, has written a white paper that reviews several commonly used models of organizational diagnosis. We will be using several of these models in conducting your integrative Case project. The relevant part of this paper in terms of this class are the first 31 pages. The last part of the paper (pp. 32 - 43) deals with the theoretical foundations of the Burke & Litwin model, Falletta's Organizational Intelligence Model, and reading that is optional. We are not covering Falletta's Org Intelligence Model. Note that on pages 8 and 9, Falletta discusses OST.

Falletta, S.V. (2005) Organizational Diagnostic Models: A Review and Synthesis. Retrieved 11/14/09 from http://www.leadersphere.com/img/OrgmodelsR2009.pdf

Optional Readings:

Faletta provides an overview OST in his paper (pp. 8 & 9). Keep in mind that OST is not an OD model, but is rather a basis for most of the later models.For a deeper understanding, go to this URL and read about systems, systems thinking, and organizations as open systems. You will see that businesses are not unlike living organisms. They depend on the environment for sustenance. They are comprised of multiple, mutually dependent parts. And they affect the environment in the course of their daily activities. Thus, organizations are open systems.

National Defense University, Systems Thinking and Learning Organizations, Retrieved 11/14/09 from http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/ndu/strat-ldr-dm/pt1ch4.html


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.


As the warrant for your case, explain the purpose and the value of conducting an OD diagnosis.
Then briefly evaluate each of the models presented in the background reading by Falletta. Omit Falletta's Org Intel model. Do NOT merely describe the models. You need to infer and comment on their strengths and weaknesses, and specifically indicate what type of organizational problem or functional area would benefit from an analysis using each model. This too will add to the warrant for your Case.
Now, Make a Case. Once you have discussed each of the eleven models, their strengths and weaknesses, and how they could best be applied, identify the model that you would choose for use in your analysis of the chosen company. First, introduce the company and describe its products/services. Then clearly explain the issues you are most concerned about. Then explain why your selection would be the best choice. You may want to find more data/information about the chosen model to make a stronger case with more backing.

This should be a 5 to 7 page paper (not including Title Page and References.) This paper is due by the end of the module.


Your paper will be evaluated on the following seven (7) points:

Precision - Does the paper address the question(s) or task(s)?
Breadth - Is the full breadth of the subject, i.e., all the keys to the assignment, addressed?
Depth - Does the paper address all elements of the topic in sufficient depth? Does it include and apply the background readings and other background resources? Are they included as references?
Critical thinking â?" Are the concepts of this module applied accurately, logically, and relevantly?
Organization - Is the paper organized in a coherent and systematic manner? Are headings included in all papers greater than 2 pages?
Clarity - Is the writing clear and the concepts articulated properly? Are paraphrasing and synthesis of concepts the primary means of response to the questions, or are thoughts conveyed through excessive use of quotations?
Referencing (citations and references) - Does the paper use citations and quotation marks where appropriate? Are all references listed in the bibliography used and referred to via citation?


The biggest problem students run into in this assignment is in simply describing the different models. In evaluating the models, be sure to go beyond mere description and discuss them in terms of strengths, weakness, similarities, differences, etc. Stress critical thinking! Use these insights to support and justify your assessment of which of these models is best for your chosen company.
Optimize your research time: Get an overview of the case assignments so you know what information you will be looking for when you do research. As you do research for Case 1, you can also be finding information and data for the other cases, too. Continue this strategy as you do research for the next case and the next, etc. The more information you have about the chosen company, the better you will get to know it. The better you get to know it, the better your analysis will be.
You may use a simple diagram to highlight important factors. However, do not use the diagram in lieu of valuable analysis (or to take up valuable writing space) - it should be in addition to your paper of 5-7 pages of analysis.
Just because you have written the minimum five pages does not mean that you have adequately covered the topic. Err on the side of writing more rather than less.
Choose the data you use carefully. Is it relevant and important?
Include a cover page and reference page, in addition to the 5-7 pages of analysis described above.
Include headings within the paper
Cite AND reference all sources that you use in your work, including those that you do not quote but paraphrase. This means include citations and quotation marks for direct quotes of more than 5 words, and citations for that information which you have "borrowed" or paraphrased from other sources.

Solution Preview

The response addresses the queries posted in 1921 words with references.
// The Organizational Diagnosis concept is explained by various scholars and authors in different ways. Harrison & Shirom (1999) has also explained the numerous Organization diagnosis concepts in this review. The above section is aimed to reveal the basic needs to bring a successful change in an organization through a proper diagnosis of problems and their solution. This section discusses the meaning and the importance of Organizational Diagnosis.//

Introduction: Organization diagnosis (OD)

In organizations, several types of key concepts are used to increase the effectiveness of organization and its different processes. Organization development is one of the methods used by many organizations to increase the organization's effectiveness. For this purpose, various types of tools and techniques are used by organizations. Among the various tools and techniques, 'Organization Diagnosis' technique is very popular, which is often called as 'OD'. The term diagnosis refers to assessment of various things and processes as to find the area where necessary improvements are required. According to John Slocum, "Organizational Diagnosis is the power of assessing the functioning of the organization, department, team, or job to discover the sources of problems and areas for improvement" (Burton, 2004).

Need of Organizational Diagnosis

In many organizations, the failure of change efforts by managers and consultants happens due to the ignorance of proper Organizational Diagnosis. Sometimes, applying the wrong techniques produces unanticipated and undesired results, which only add to the organization's problems. As a consequence, disappointment and disillusion grows with planned change and organization consultation. One of the reasons for a high rate of failure of change efforts in organizations could be that managers and consultants alike frequently fail to diagnose the needs of the organization and examine feasible routes to change. Also, they might not be considering whether proposed interventions fit the focal organization. If an adequate diagnosis of the risks associated with a proposed change in an organization, the attempt of bringing about the required change gets failed. An accurate diagnosis of organizational problem and functioning is absolutely essential as a starting point for planned organizational change. A planned change program also requires a careful assessment of individual and organizational capacity for change. Two important aspects of individual readiness for change are the degree of employee satisfaction with the status quo and the perceived personal risk involved in changing it. For example, when employees are satisfied with the status quo and perceive high personal risks in change, their readiness for change probably would be low (Harrison,1999).

Process of Organization Diagnosis

For the diagnostic purpose, many types of tools and techniques are used for the collection of data.

Information needed to diagnose organization problems may be gathered by questionnaires, interviews, observation, and organizational records. To diagnose an organization, managers need to have an idea about what information to collect and analyze. Choices on what to look for invariably depends on managers' perceptions, the leadership practices used, how the organization is structured, its culture, ...

Solution Summary

The response addresses the queries posted in 1921 words with references.