Organizational Diagnosis of Palm Capstone Project

Excerpt from Capstone Project :

Organizational Diagnosis of Palm

Palm Computing had reinvented the hand held computer market overnight with the line of PalmPilot and similar devices geared to the mobile gadget industry. According to Clancy (1999), "Palm Computing ultimately sold faster than the videocassette recorder, the color TV, the cell phone, even the personal computer that was its great-grandfather. Introduced in April 1996, within 18 months Palm Computing had shipped more than 1 million units of the handheld and some estimate there were 2 million Palm devices shipped in 1998 alone." (Clancy, 1999)

Such incredible demand for Palm Computing's products were a function of the brilliant and innovative management and design team that launched and built the company. The two prominent executives of the company, responsible for developing product and marketing, and product releases, were Jeff Hawkins and Donna Dubinsky.

According to Clancy (1999), "In Hawkins, Silicon Valley has one of its most independent, original thinkers. And in Dubinsky, it claims one of its most methodical, thorough managers. Add a dash of Ed Colligan, the energetic marketing force behind first Palm Computing and now Handspring and you have Silicon Valley's version of what is known in Broadway theatres as a triple threat." (Clancy, 1999)

The maker of handheld mobile computing had a quandary on its hands as its leadership was departing for other ventures. Hence, Palm was a clear target for a merger. Hewlett Packard buys Palm and enables the company to run as a unit within the HP operation. The organization dynamic for Palm at this junction requires re-examination within the framework of prevailing organization development theory. [1:]

The Nadler-Tushman Congruence Model

The Nadler-Tushman Congruence Model for Organization Analysis outlines an integrated network, "specifying inputs, throughputs, and outputs, which is consistent with open systems theory (Katz & Kahn, 1978)." (Leadersphere, 2008) The model, as is the same with all organizational diagnostic models, is based on a set of assumptions with regard to the framework of the environment. According to Leadersphere (2008), these assumptions are listed below. [2:]

Organizations are open social systems within a larger environment

Organizations are dynamic entities (i.e., change is possible and occurs)

Organizational behaviour occurs at the individual, the group, and the systems level

Interactions occur between the individual, group, and systems levels of organizational behaviour.


The variables sought to be inputs for analysis by this model include the "patterns of past behaviour" (Leadersphere, 2008) and strategies engaged by the organization, which includes how resources are expended to meet organizational goals and objectives within a hostile external environment. The inputs include the "environment, resources, history, and strategy. The environment is all factors, including institutions, groups, individuals, events, and so on, that are outside the organization being analyzed, but that have a potential impact on the organization." (Leadersphere, 2008)

The resources are the tangible and intangible assets the organization has under management. The history includes the effective behaviour in activity, its effectiveness relative to past performance, and how the organization based on past behavioural patterns will fare in the future. The throughputs include the actual work of the organization, such as task management in the service or hospitality industry and customer service management. The individual component is the potential for innovation and development, and profitability of effort. The formal organizational arrangements include the "various structures, processes, methods, and so on that are formally created to get individuals to perform tasks." (Leadersphere, 2008) The informal organization includes organizational structures, their internal processes and external result, and the B2B, B2C relationship.

The outputs of individual behaviour, group and intergroup behaviour, and system functioning, and affect include the universe of possibilities that include adverse decision-making affecting one's ability to perform profitably for the organization.

"Nadler and Tushman (1980) describe congruence, or fit, as "the degree to which the needs, demands, goals, objective, and/or structures of one component are consistent with the needs, demands, goals, objectives, and/or structures of another component" (Nadler and Tushman, 1980). The weakness of this model is that one must clearly define the organization before the parameters of the model. The model also is static and not dynamic in its ability to adjust to a quickly changing modern economy.

The McKinsey 7S Framework

The McKinsey 7S Framework is really a concentrically linked strategy of inputs that are symbiotically focused on the objective of shared values. However, the formal explanation is somewhat different. According to Leadersphere (2008),"The shape of the model was also designed to illustrate the interdependency of the variables; the illustration of the model has been termed the "Managerial Molecule." While the authors thought that other variables existed within complex organizations, the variables represented in the model were considered to be of crucial importance to managers and practitioners." (Leadersphere, 2008) The downside to this model is its complexity and rather difficulty in implementing the model within a cost effective framework. This model is suitable for large organizations within the growth stage but not suitable for a small company with limited resources. [3:]

The Burke-Litwin Causal Model

The Burke-Litwin Causal Model "includes several key features which go beyond the models discussed earlier." (Leadersphere, 2008) [4:]

Includes twelve theoretical constructs (i.e., organizational variables)

Distinguishes between the culture and the climate of an organization

Distinguishes between transformational and transactional dynamics

Specifies the nature and direction of influence of organizational variables

Is based on previous models, empirical studies, and OD practice


This model is more analytical in its assessment of organizational variables by operationalizing constructs into measurable variables. The external environment is the independent variable that is supported by systems theory as the underlying model. Alignment of operational variables are critical to the effectiveness of the model. The external environment is linked directly to three components, the mission and strategy, leadership, and culture. Performance is also linked directly to three components, jobs skills, motivation, and individual needs and values. [5:]

Management Practices are central to the processes integration of all components within the framework. According to Leadersphere (2008), "As is evident through the climate and culture variables, Burke and Litwin make a distinction between organizational climate and culture. Climate is defined as individuals' perceptions of how their work unit is managed and how effectively they and their colleagues work tougher (Burke & Litwin, 1992).

Additionally, the model involves harnessing operational change as a catalyst toward creating a transformational leadership environment. According to Leadersphere (2008), "Transformational change is associated more with leadership, while transactional change is associated more with management. Hence, transformational dynamics represent fundamental changes in behaviours and values that are required for genuine change in organizational culture. In terms of management, transactional dynamics are the everyday interactions and exchanges in work life related to organizational climate (Burke & Litwin, 1992)

The Organizational Intelligence Model

The organizational Intelligence Model is the newest organizational diagnostic model in the organizational development theory field. According to Leadersphere (2008), The model was developed to "drive employee engagement and performance." (Falletta, 2004) "The Organizational Intelligence Model can serve as a diagnostic framework for OD purposes as well to facilitate the design and interpretation of most employee and organization survey efforts." (Leadershpere, 2008) [6:]

This model views the organization as a holistic and globally integrated entity with human resource capital engages in strategic positions throughout the operational environment. Eleven critical areas are addressed under the model. Most of the components are similar to the other models, and even include additional components that serve to buttress the analysis of the variables within the nexus of integrated components. Qualitative and Quantitative assessments are used within this analysis, which can be a positive or negative aspect of the model depending on the ability of the organization to utilize the effectiveness of the model.

According to Leadersphere (2008), "While the Organizational Intelligence Model is similar to the B-L model in many respects, it differs in the following ways." (Leadersphere, 2008)

The Organizational Intelligence Model depicts and emphasizes the notion of employee engagement which goes beyond employee motivation and commitment.

The Organization Intelligence Model depicts and emphasizes growth and development as a key factor for engaging and retaining talent.

The Organizational Intelligence Model has been tested in a number of settings with respect to validity and reliability vis-a-vis factor analysis and causal modelling procedures.


Force Field Analysis [7:]

The early 1950s saw a practical theoretical approach to organizational diagnosis in the form of Lewin's Force Field Analysis (French & Bell, 1995; Fuqua & Kurpius, 1993; Lewin, 1951). This framework is ostensibly a modern form of a contemporary macro strategic planning approach that is intended to place an internal SWOT analysis to an external SWOT analysis in a sort of Venn Diagram to determine negative and positive overlap. Additionally, this approach determines where the opportunity through value is internally and externally and can maximize intrinsic value relative to the external environment.

According to Lewin et al. (1951), "The model relies upon the change process, with the social implications built into the model (e.g., disequilibrium is expected to occur until equilibrium is re-established).…

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