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Some Types of Organizational Diagnostic Models


Much of the content of this topic came from this book: Consulting and Organization Development - Book Cover

© Copyright Carter McNamara, MBA, PhD, Authenticity Consulting, LLC.

Sections of this Topic Include:

Critical Role of Organizational Diagnostic Models

Some Types of Diagnostic Models for Organizations


Critical Role of Diagnostic Models in Evaluations

An evaluation could collect a vast range of information. However, unless there is some framework around which to know what information to collect and how to make judgments about that information, the analysis will likely become a very overwhelming and confusing endeavor. This is where a diagnostic model is very useful. A good diagnostic model will:

  1. Suggest some standard of performance about how a high-quality organization should be operating, including about the quality of its overall intended outcomes, practices within the organization and how those practices are integrated with each other. The standards might be, for example, best practices or standards of excellence.
  2. Suggest what types of information need to be collected in order to compare the current performance of the organization with the suggested standard of performance.
  3. Facilitate the comparison of the current performance of the organization to the preferred standard of performance in order to generate recommendations to improve the performance of the organization.

You will select your diagnostic model later on, while you are designing your evaluation plan in the next topic. There are numerous types to choose from.
Some Types of Diagnostic Models for Organizations.


Some Types of Diagnostic Models for Organizations

Well designed models to improve the performance can also be very useful diagnostic models, depending on the reason for using the model and how it is used.

The following descriptions are general and brief. Follow the link to get more information about each of the approaches. There certainly are other approaches than those listed below for a planned, comprehensive approach to increasing organizational performance. It may very well be that the vast majority of approaches used in organizations are highly customized to the nature of the organizations, and therefore not publicized or formalized in management literature.

Balanced Scorecard: Focuses on four indicators, including customer perspective, internal-business processes, learning and growth and financials, to monitor progress toward organization's strategic goals

Benchmarking: Using standard measurements in a service or industry for comparison to other organizations in order to gain perspective on organizational performance. For example, there are emerging standard benchmarks for universities, hospitals, etc. In and of itself, this is not an overall comprehensive process assured to improve performance, rather the results from benchmark comparisons can be used in more overall processes. Benchmarking is often perceived as a quality initiative.

Business Process Reengineering: Aims to increase performance by radically re-designing the organization's structures and processes, including by starting over from the ground up.

Continuous Improvement: Focuses on improving customer satisfaction through continuous and incremental improvements to processes, including by removing unnecessary activities and variations. Continuous improvement is often perceived as a quality initiative.

Cultural Change: Cultural change is a form of organizational transformation, that is, radical and fundamental form of change. Cultural change involves changing the basic values, norms, beliefs, etc., among members of the organization.

ISO9000: Is an internationally recognized standard of quality, and includes guidelines to accomplish the ISO9000 standard. Organizations can be optionally audited to earn ISO9000 certification. Another major quality standard is the Baldridge Award. ISO9000 is a quality initiative.

Knowledge Management: Focuses on collection and management of critical knowledge in an organization to increase its capacity for achieving results. Knowledge management often includes extensive use of computer technology. In and of itself, this is not an overall comprehensive process assured to improve performance. Its effectiveness toward reaching overall results for the organization depends on how well the enhanced, critical knowledge is applied in the organization.

Learning Organization: Focuses on enhancing organizations systems (including people) to increase an organization's capacity for performance. Includes extensive use of principles of systems theory. In and of itself, this is not an overall comprehensive process assured to improve performance. Its effectiveness toward reaching overall results for the organization depends on how well the enhanced ability to learn is applied in the organization.

Management by Objectives (MBO): Aims to align goals and subordinate objectives throughout the organization. Ideally, employees get strong input to identifying their objectives, time lines for completion, etc. Includes ongoing tracking and feedback in process to reach objectives. MBO's are often perceived as a form of planning.

Outcome-Based Evaluation (particularly for nonprofits): Outcomes-based evaluation is increasingly used, particularly by nonprofit organizations, to assess the impact of their services and products on their target communities. The process includes identifying preferred outcomes to accomplish with a certain target market, associate indicators as measures for each of those outcomes and then carry out the measures to assess the extent of outcomes reached.

Program Evaluation: Program evaluation is used for a wide variety of applications, e.g., to increase efficiencies of program processes and thereby cut costs, to assess if program goals were reached or not, to quality programs for accreditation, etc.

Strategic Planning: Organization-wide process to identify strategic direction, including vision, mission, values and overall goals. Direction is pursued by implementing associated action plans, including multi-level goals, objectives, time lines and responsibilities. Strategic planning is, of course, a form of planning.

Systems-Based Model to Diagnose For-Profit Organizations: The model follows a logic model format, and specifies which management functions should be addressed and in which order. It is aligned with this online organizational assessment tool.

Systems-Based Model to Diagnose Nonprofit Organizations: The model follows a logic model format, and specifies which management functions should be addressed and in which order. It is aligned with this online organizational assessment tool.

Total Quality Management (TQM): Set of management practices throughout the organization to ensure the organization consistently meets or exceeds customer requirements. Strong focus on process measurement and controls as means of continuous improvement. TQM is a quality initiative.

NOTE: There are various other approaches that, if used comprehensively with strong focus on achieving organizational results, can be used to increase organizational performance, e.g., Statistical Process Control, Quality Circles, best practices, etc.


Suggested Additional Readings

About The Role of Strategic Evaluation in Nonprofits
Basic Guide to Program Evaluation
Designing Assessment and Evaluation Tools

Employee Performance Management
Group Performance Management
How to Evaluate Organizations


Learn More in the Library's Blogs Related to Organizational Performance

In addition to the articles on this current page, also see the following blogs that have posts related to organizations. Scan down the blog's page to see various posts. Also see the section "Recent Blog Posts" in the sidebar of the blog or click on "next" near the bottom of a post in the blog. The blog also links to numerous free related resources.

Library's Consulting and Organizational Development Blog
Library's Human Resources Blog
Library's Leadership Blog
Library's Project Management Blog
Library's Supervision Blog


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