Organizational Diagnostic Case Whole Foods Market

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According to Blinov (2014),organizational diagnostic (OD) is the process of analyzing anorganization (considering the internal and external variables thatinfluence the performance of the organization) for determining thedisparities between its current position and its preferred position,and also for finding out ways to reach its desired position. It is anintegral element of ‘Organizational Development’. Therefore, thispaper will analyze six different OD models in order to identify whichmodel would be best suited for Whole Foods Market based on itscurrent situations and problems.

Overview of the ODModels

McKinsey7S Framework

This modeluses 7 variables to analyze an organization. They are- shared values,structure, staff, strategy, skills, systems, and style. Shared valuesmean the guiding concepts or significant meanings, which the membersof the organization share. Structure is the organizational chart. Thestaff as the name suggests are the employees of the organization.Strategy is the method of using resources by the organization forachieving its objectives. Skills refer to the ability of theemployees to carry out the tasks assigned to them. The systemsindicate the regular procedures and processes followed by theorganization to complete its usual activities. Finally, style refersto the organization’s cultural style (Falletta, 2005).

TheCongruence Model

Nadler-Tushman’s Congruence Modelis an all-inclusive OD framework that specifies inputs, throughputs,and outputs in details. According to Falletta (2005), this modelencompasses the attributes and elements of open systems theory,Leavitt’s model, and the Weisbord six-box model. The mainassumptions of this model are described below-

i.Organizations are a part of thelarger environment, which makes them open social entities.

ii.Organizations are vibrant innature, which makes changes feasible.

iii.The behaviors of theindividuals, groups and the organization as a whole make up theentire organizational behavior.

iv.Interactions within theorganization take place between all the parties above.

TheBurke-Litwin Causal Model

This modelencompasses numerous key aspects that cannot be found in thetraditional OD models. It has 12 organizational variables, itdifferentiates between the organizational climate and theorganizational culture. It also differentiates between thetransactional and transformational dynamics. Finally, it identifieswhat kind of influence each of the 12 variables has on theorganization. The 12 variables of this model are- individual andorganizational performance, individual needs and values, motivation,individual skills and task requirements, work unit climate, systems,management practices, structure, organizational culture, leadership,mission and strategy, and external environment (Falletta, 2005).

ForceField Analysis

This moderecognizes an organization’s driving and restraining forces. Thedriving forces like external factors ignite the changes in theorganization whereas the restraining forces such as the internallimitations of the organization keep the changes from occurring. Sothis model identifies these forces first and based on them thestrategies to achieve the organizational goals are made (Falletta,2005).

Weisbord’sSix-Box Model

Falletta(2005) mentioned that the Weisbord’s Six-Box Model includes 6 broadinterrelated components of an organization. They are- purposes,helpful mechanisms,structures, rewards,leadership andrelationships. The definition, nature, and the mutualinteractions among these components are quite similar to the McKinsey7S Framework. However, in this model, Leadership is the key componentthat maintains the balance between the other components.

Tichy’sTechnical Political Cultural (TPC) Framework

Thismodel also has inputs, throughputs, and outputs like some other ODmodels. The history of the organization, its external environment,and internal resources are the 3 major inputs in this model. And theemergent networks, organizational processes, people, prescribednetworks, tasks and strategy/mission are the throughputs. Finally,the individual and organizational performance are the outputs in thismodel. It should be noted that all the variables are interrelated inthis model (Falletta, 2005).

The Strengths and Weaknesses of Each Model

McKinsey7S Framework

The mainstrength of this model is that it includes all the internal variablesthat are crucial to the success of any organization. It also focuseson the fact that all these variables need to be changedsimultaneously for bringing about an effective and lasting change orimprovement within the organization. However, this model’s mostnotable weakness is that it completely ignores the effects externalfactors/environment can have on an organization.

TheCongruence Model

This is aholistic model that includes almost all the possible factors relatedto the inputs, throughputs and outputs of an organization. It alsoconsiders the formal and informal arrangements of the organization.And it clearly identifies the inter-links between each and everyvariable. It focuses on the fits between the components of the model,which makes it more inclusive and detail oriented. However, itdoesn’t consider the micro level (such as individual employeemotivation) factors. This is its only weakness.

TheBurke-Litwin Causal Model

It is oneof the latest OD models. Therefore, it is based on the previousinclusive models and consequently, it incorporates all the externaland internal variables that affect the success/failure of anorganization. It takes the climate, culture, group and individuallevel ingredients into account because it recognizes that allinternal and external factors, no matter how big or small, contributeto the success or failure of the organization. These are thestrengths of this model. Because of its all-inclusive nature, theredoesn’t seem to be any obvious weakness in this model.

ForceField Analysis

It’s arelatively simple model. It identifies all the driving andlimiting forces ofan organization no matter how big or small they are. Afterward, themodel plan on how to deal with both forces at the same time, so theorganizational goals can be achieved. These are the strengths of thismodel. Considering its simplicity, this model doesn’t have anyapparent weakness.

Weisbord’sSix-Box Model

Like theMcKinsey 7S Framework, this model mostly emphasizes on the internalfactors of an organization while analyzing the organization. This isits only strength. However, this model does not include many vitalinterrelations between the internal factors. Moreover, it merelyconsiders the effects of the external environment to a very smallextent.


Like anyother open system model, TPC includes the inputs, throughputs andoutputs to analyze an organization. It identifies the interconnectionbetween all internal and external factors and their level of impacton the organization. Moreover, this model identified that asuccessful change requires a simultaneous maneuver in severalinternal variables. These are the strengths of this model. The heavyreliance on the cultural, political and technical factors is the mainweakness of TPC.

The Issues Faced by Whole Foods Market

Branderosion or loss of reputation is the main issue faced by Whole FoodsMarket. In July 2015, the company admitted that it has beenovercharging the consumers on some of its products (Mourdoukoutas,2015). This created a massive buzz among its customers and resultedin enormous loss of trust in the company. People even mocked thecompany mercilessly on social media. Moreover, the company’sdecision to downsize its workforce by 1500 employees in September2015 wasn’t accepted well by the community as a whole. This alsoled to further loss of reputation.

Inaddition, lately, Whole Foods has not been so successful in growingits location base as rapidly as its competitors. With many nationaland regional competitors in the same market, growing at a faster paceis Whole Foods’ one of the best options to retain its profitability(Osterndorf, 2015). However, Dent (2015) mentioned that Whole Foodsbig competitors like Kroger, Natural Grocers Vitamin Cottage, andSprouts Farmers Market are also trying to expand their operations atnew locations. This is heating up the competition for real estate andmaking it harder for Whole Foods to expand the location base.

The Best OD Model for Whole Foods Market

From theabove discussion, it is obvious that Whole Foods is facing bothinternal and external issues. Considering this, The Burke-LitwinCausal Model would be the best OD model for Whole Foods to properlydiagnose the issues mentioned earlier. By using this model, theexternal factors along with Whole Foods’ Leadership, Mission andStrategy, Culture, Management Practices, Structure, OperationalSystems, and Internal and External Climate will be analyzedthoroughly. This model will also identify the interlinks between allthese variables. Consequently, it will be possible to figure out whyit has been difficult for Whole Foods to grow its operations and whythe company has to lay off so many people. These two problems aresomewhat interrelated. If the company can grow easily, then it’llneed more manpower to carry out the operations in the new locations.So it might not have to lay off these employees. Moreover, the use ofthe Burke-Litwin Causal Model might also identify the other issues ofthe organization, which was ignored by the management previously. Itwill also help Whole Foods detect its climate and culture, also theproblems in its transactional and transformational dynamics. As aresult, the Burke-Litwin Causal Model would be the most optimal modelin Whole Foods Market’s case.



Dent, M. (2015).&nbspWhy Whole Foods Is Facing a Whole Lot ofProblems.&nbspThe Fiscal Times. Retrieved 19 August 2016,from

Falletta, S. (2005).&nbspOrganizational Diagnostic Models: AReview &amp Synthesis&nbsp(pp. 1-31). Organizational DiagnosticModels: A Review &amp Synthesis: Leadersphere, Inc. Retrieved from

Mourdoukoutas, P. (2015).&nbspForbes.& 19 August 2016, from

Osterndorf, C. (2015).&nbspWhole Foods isn’t as progressive aseveryone thinks—and the money trail shows it.&nbspThe DailyDot. Retrieved 19 August 2016, from

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