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Challenges In Diagnosis


Since diagnosis is the process of understanding how the client system organization is functioning currently and this understanding helps in determining the interventions to achieve the desired change outcomes, it is important that:

  • Diagnosis has to be a collaborative process – Any unilateral approach to diagnosis is never recommended. It is prudent that the OD consultant alongwith the key stake holders of the client system jointly approach the organizational diagnosis process. Correct diagnosis is an output of the collaborative approach of the client system as well as the OD consultant to identify the areas of change for design outcomes
  • That diagnosis does not necessarily mean finding faults – It needs to be noted that in the context of Organization Development, the process of diagnosis is to be taken in the spirit of ‘understanding for further development’ and not necessarily making a list of things in the organizations that are faulty.
  • The OD consultant needs to be careful that diagnosis is not a disciplinary activity for punitive measures. It is rather a deep dive into the organization to identify the scope of further improvement in the existing aspects of functioning and identify those areas which may have the potential to be changed for better organizational performance.
  • Focus remains on processes and not on persons. Since the spirit of diagnosis is development, the OD consultant needs to be alert and not play into the hands of the client system by focusing too much on individuals and not on institutional processes. The idea of diagnosis is not to zero upon ‘Who’s not Working’ but to examine ‘What’s not working’.
  • Systemic Challenge – Whatever be the size of the organization and irrespective of the complexity of the processes, organizations have to be viewed upon as Systems. Often, an error of judgement is made by focusing on one part of the organization in isolation of other parts. It needs to be understood that diagnosis must encompass understanding each part of the organization and how the different parts of the same organization, seemingly different, are linked or likely to be linked causing the effects as experienced by the organization today. Scope of alignment of the several parts of the organization into a systemic entity must not escape the diagnosis.
  • Ethical Challenge – The OD consultant must have his ethical radar on full alert to ensure that any proposal on diagnostic approach offered by the client system is not an imposition to steer the whole process into something of its own personal choice in the name and garb of organizational development and change management systems. The ethical challenge here for the organizational consultant is to ensure that the client system does not use the OD consultant and the OD endeavor to drive goals of personal interest.
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