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Boeing Company’s Diagnostics Using Burke-Litwin Model Case Study

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Updated: Jan 18th, 2021

Diagnostic models

Organizations operate in an environment that is under constant change. Therefore, organizations should have efficient change management strategies to guarantee their future prosperity. Diagnostic models serve as change management guidance for organizations. Diagnostic models include the Burke-Litwin model, the congruence model, and the Six Box model. The congruence model uses the open system principle to analyze change management within an organization. The congruence model views the organization as a dynamic and social system, whose sole purpose is realizing congruency among its different subparts.

The degree of organizational effectiveness depends on the level of congruency, and the strategy that the management uses to ensure various subparts are congruent. An organization must ensure that it uses a strategy that fits its operational environment conditions and the four organizational components – people, work, formal structures and process, and informal structure and processes (Nadler and Tushman 38). The major limitation of the congruency model is that it does not explain the method of determining congruency and the level of congruency that would have desirable results.

The Burke-Litwin model overcomes some of the limitations of the Congruency model. The model provides twelve variables at different organizational levels, which are critical in change management. The organizational levels are total system level, group or work unit level, and the individual level. The total system level encompasses leadership, strategy, culture, and the external environment.

The group or work unit level encompasses management practices, structure, systems, and climate. The individual-level includes values, needs, motivation, and tasks (Burke and Litwin 524). Boeing faces the issues explained in the Burke-Litwin model. Therefore, the Burke-Litwin model would help in explaining the problems that Boeing faces.

Explanation of the Boeing situation using the Burke-Litwin model

The drastic change of the external environment is one of the major factors that make Boeing find itself in its predicament. Increased competition from Airbus necessitated Boeing to undertake drastic changes to avoid losing its competitive edge. Also, an increase in market demand necessitated Boeing to increase its production capabilities to meet the demand. The inability of the company to cope with the changes efficiently led to several problems.

Organizations should ensure that changes in the external environment do not affect their core mission and strategy. Boeing’s diversification into the space industry and the merger with McDonnell Douglass makes the company stray away from its core mission and strategy. This is because McDonnell Douglass focused on defense contracts, whereas Boeing was mainly involved in the manufacture of civilian aircraft.

An organization must ensure that it preserves its organizational culture despite undertaking various changes. Boeing undertakes several simultaneous changes, which undermine its organizational culture. Merger with McDonnell Douglass undermines Boeing’s organizational culture as it makes the company strayed from its family-oriented culture, by incorporating defense contracts in its operations. Also, Boeing’s relocation from Seattle to Chicago undermined its organizational culture. This is because relocation severed its connection with its traditional home, which was responsible for the prosperity of the organization.

The Burke-Litwin model also emphasizes the working climate of an organization in ensuring efficient change management. Organizations must create a favorable working environment. Several changes within Boeing led to a reduction in employee motivation. This affected the productivity of the company adversely. Also, rapid technological changes in production processes make it difficult for Boeing to map task requirements with the skills of its employees. Technological changes led to a lack of collaboration in product procurement. This poses several problems for the organization.

The appointment of Harry Stonecipher, the previous head of McDonnell Douglass, as the CEO of Boeing will not solve the problems that the company faces. Stonecipher is part of the problem as Boeing’s merger with his previous company – McDonnell Douglass – undermined Boeing’s organizational culture. Stonecipher’s previous association with McDonnell Douglass makes him incapable of fully understanding the problems that Boeing faces.

Works Cited

Burke, W. Warner, and George H. Litwin. “A causal model of organizational performance and change.” Journal of Management 18.3 (1992): 523-545. Print.

Nadler, David A., and Michael L. Tushman. Managing the organization’s readings and cases. Boston, MA: Little, Brown, and Company, 1980. Print.

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