12 Apr Weisbord’s 6 Box Model
Weisbord’s 6 box model is a framework developed to diagnose organisational issues that are not obvious to senior management. The model outlines six possible areas of investigation to look into when looking to find areas where the organisation is not functioning as efficiently as it could. Often organisations are so large and complex that despite managers knowing it could operate more efficiently, they do not know where to begin in finding and correcting the problem.
Weisbord suggests you ask yourself a set of questions for each area being examined. The aim of this process is to reveal information you previously were not aware of, and subsequently expose possible areas of weakness. Below we have summarised a few of the key questions Weisbord suggests you ask for each area of investigation.
Acknowledging the main mission and vision of the organisation and asking yourself how well the goals it sets itself and its employees are understood is a good first step. Then assessing how well these goals fit with your organisation’s competencies may reveal why it is not operating at maximum efficiency. The setting of these goals is also important, every employee should not only be aware of them, but also contribute to their design.
Firstly, determine the nature of your organisational design, who reports to who and who does what. This can then be aligned with the processes of the organisation to determine how well they are being supported. More specific questions, about communication pathways for example, can then be asked to determine how efficient these processes are.
This section explores team dynamics, communication and collaboration occurring within the organisation. A lack of communication between different departments is often an invisible cause of many issues.
The incentive mechanism is very important for determining employee performance and can often be a key cause in organisational issues. It is not only important to assess how employees are being rewarded, but also what work is being rewarded. Generous reward systems may exist, yet some employee’s achievements may be consistently ignored. This lack of recognition can lead to resentment and demotivation.
It is the job of the organisation’s leaders to ensure all these elements are running properly, as well as making sure the correct balance is struck between them. They are also responsible for resolving any internal conflict that may be occurring. Weisbord suggests asking who these leaders in the organisation are, how they have got there and how effective they are at the tasks they are responsible for.
Assessing the communication pathways, policies and procedures and planning, budgeting and controlling systems for organisational processes can often reveal areas of inefficiency.
Weisbord’s 6 box model is not going to solve all of your organisation’s underlying issues, but it is an excellent tool for starting the process. It is a logical and practical tool for investigating all the key areas of the business for possible weaknesses.
Weisbord, Marvin Ross. (1978). Organizational Diagnosis. Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley Pub. Co., 1978. Print.