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WEISBORD’S

SIX BOX MODEL


INTRODUCTION
• Introduced by Marvin Weisbord in 1976.
• Focus is on organization as a whole.
• Advocates viewing an organization from both formal and informal
perspectives.
• Identifies six interrelated processes inherent in all organizations.
• Weisbord notes that process issues usually are systemic (part of the
organization's management culture), and that this culture can be
described in two ways:
– The "fit" between organization and environment :- The extent to which
purposes and structure support high performance and ability to change
with conditions; and/or
– The "fit" between individual and organization :- The extent to which
people support or subvert formal mechanisms intended to carry out an
organization's purposes.
• The circle encompassing the boxes represents the external
environment.
• The bi-directional arrows depict the input and output
representations.
• It is important to understand the formal systems (the
structure) and the informal systems (the culture) of an
organization.
• Weisbord emphasized the importance of gaps between the
formal and the informal aspect of structure and called for
action to reduce the gap (this action represents the process
side), so as to function effectively.
PUPROSES
• When we examine an organization's purposes, we must be
concerned with both the formal goal clarity and the informal
commitment to those goals.
• Goal clarity must exist before goal agreement is possible.
• People's purposes are some balance between "what we have to do"
and "what we want to do" (for growth, self-expression, idealism,
and so on). The result is priorities.
• Ill-defined or overly broad purposes create anxiety. When people
disagree on priorities, conflict exists.
• The questions to be asked are:
– What is the degree of clarity in the organizational members’ minds
regarding the organization’s mission?
– What is the extent of support by them for the organization’s mission?
STRUCTURE
• This deals with the adequacy and fitment of the internal
structure with the organization’s mission.
• When we study structure, we need to be aware of the formal
organizational chart and the informal ways in which work
actually is accomplished (or not accomplished).
• A consultant must look for the fit between the goal (output)
and the structure producing it (formal system), then notice
how the work actually is assigned and performed and how
people use or subvert the organizational chart.
RELATIONSHIPS
• The formal aspects of relationships involve who deals, with
whom on what issues; the informal aspects involve the quality
of those relationships.
• Weisbord discussed relationship in three fold:
– Between individuals;
– Between and among departments, units and groups;
– Between the person vis a vis his job.
• He stressed on the quality of relationships, which are
essential before the model is applied for managing and
dealing with conflicts.
REWARDS
• When examining an organization's rewards or incentives system,
one must consider both
– The explicit system of salaries, wages, bonuses, and the like, and
– The more implicit rewards of how members of the organization respond
emotionally to successful task accomplishment and how much support for
achievement there is in the system.
• Having a formal reward system does not guarantee that people will
feel or act as if they are rewarded.
• Studies of motivation indicate that a reward system that pays only
salary and fringe benefits is inadequate unless people value their
work and perceive in it a chance to grow.
• The fit between person and organization improves when there is a
chance for growth, responsibility, and achievement.
HELPFUL MECHANISMS
• Mechanisms are the procedures, policies, meetings, systems,
committees, bulletin boards, memos, reports, spaces, information,
and so on, that facilitate efforts related to the contents of all the
other boxes.
• Mechanisms typically facilitate problem solving, planning,
budgeting, control, and measurement (information).
• An effective organization continually revises its mechanisms as the
need arises.
• The formal aspects of helpful mechanisms involve the
establishment and management of these functions (for example,
rational planning, and budgeting, control, and measurement
systems).
• The informal aspects involve how well, if at all, these mechanisms
are used. This aspect includes corrective feedback.
LEADERSHIP
• The leader’s main responsibility is to overlook and supervise
the effective functioning of all the boxes and maintain a
balance among them.
• In the area of leadership, one needs to note both what the
management responsibilities of the leaders are and how
effectively they carry out these responsibilities.
• The four essential leadership tasks seem to be
– defining purposes,
– embodying purposes in programs,
– defending institutional integrity, and
– managing internal conflict.
STRENGHTS AND CRITICISM
STRENGHTS
• The model gives due importance to leadership, which represents
the coordinating function.
• Useful for organizations with less sophistication with respect to
their systemic thinking and the larger complexities of organizational
dynamics.
CRITICISMS
• Oversimplification: In real life situations, organizations are too
complex to be represented by only six categories.
• Insufficiency: Deeper and more complicated diagnoses requires
more detailed model.
• Inadequacy: The relationship between ‘purposes’ and other boxes
(with exceptions to relationships and structure) are inadequately
explained.