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7 S Framework

What Is It? The 7-S Framework is a useful tool that describes seven key interdependent variables of organizational design. These variables take into account both the hardware (strategy, structure and systems) and the software (management styles, staff, skills and shared values, i.e. culture) of an organization. The framework can be used as a basis for discussion about organizational capacity and organizational design with relevant stakeholders within the organization. Special attention must be given to the relationships between the seven variables.

The 7-S framework Strategy The direction and scope of the company over the long term. The basic organization of the organization (who reports to whom) to support its Structure objectives. The formal and informal procedures that support the strategy and structure. The procedures, processes and routines that characterize how the work should be System done, i.e. financial systems, recruiting, promotion and performance appraisal, information systems, budgeting systems.

What it does best. The values and beliefs of the company. how do informal institutions in society impact on the organization’s culture and design? • It is important to remain focused in asking appropriate questions that will provide sufficient detail to assess the identified organizational capacity gaps. e. Other aspects of the wider institutional context: For example. based on desk research and interviews with key stakeholders throughout the organization. Special Considerations/Weaknesses • A key weakness of the 7-S framework is its failure to look at the external environment. trained and motivated. there are a number of external issues that need to be considered. In practice.g: 1. Participation Level Low to medium. Identify key stakeholders within an organization and relevant experts. Resources Required A well-prepared series of questions that will be asked of key staff within the organization. the assessment is with individuals or within a focus group. Objective To accurately assess the capacity of an organization. Key questions to ask may include: .Style Staff Skills Shared values The leadership approach of management and how key managers behave in achieving the organization’s goals. The central guiding concept and ideas of an organization around which it is strengthened. Outcome A documented assessment of organizational capacity and how any gaps are impacting on organizational performance and the potential to achieve desired outcomes. Gather data on each of the seven areas. The capabilities and competencies that exist within the company. Supportive legislative structures: Do new laws need to be introduced to enable agency formation? 2. Wider policy context: How does the institutional reform being implemented fit in with other reforms in progress? 3. 2. The company's human resources and how they are developed. Steps 1.

Clarity of vision and goals guiding the organization? Extent to which these are Strategy shared amongst staff? Level of participation in the formulation of these? Shortterm goals to achieve strategy? Organization of functions and roles of main departments and units? Definitions of roles and responsibilities? Mechanisms for participation of key stakeholders – Structure staff. civil society? Is the structure supportive of strategic and organizational goals? Effectiveness of human. but poor understanding of strategic direction within organization leading to confused on-ground outcomes and overlapping responsibilities with other natural resource management agencies. This report can be used as a basis for further discussion of capacity needs at the organizational level. Current capacity: 1 2 3 4 5 Required capacity to achieve action outcomes: 1 2 3 4 5 . government. how do managers make decisions? How do they spend Style their time? On what do they focus their attention? Extent to which there is a supportive environment for staff? Level of communication? Effectiveness of staff utilization? Adequacy of staff resources? Level of staff Staff motivation? Factors that would increase staff satisfaction? What is the organization best at? Nature of the task requirements and individual Skills skills or knowledge needed for task effectiveness? Adequacy of the task–skill match? Opportunities for training or knowledge sharing? Nature of the rules (formal and informal). Summarise the findings in a report to key organization members involved in the interview process. A useful reporting framework may be: Organizational capacity Strategy 1 = low 5 = high Structure System Style Staff Skills Shared values Required action and current capacity to perform action Strategic direction clearly laid down through legislation. financial and technological systems that support System objectives? Nature of incentives within human resources? Rewards systems? Monitoring and evaluation systems? The management style. values. customs and principles that Shared guide the organization's behaviour? Extent to which core professional values are values internalized? 3.

as shown below. incentive earnings. equilibrium represents the present level of productivity. for diagnosing situations. pressure from a supervisor. In terms of improving productivity in a work group. Driving Forces Driving forces are those forces affecting a situation that are pushing in a particular direction. and competition may be examples of driving forces. Equilibrium is reached when the sum of the driving forces equals the sum of the restraining forces. Apathy.when attempting to overcome resistance to change. . a pioneer in the field of social sciences. In our example. It will be useful when looking at the variables involved in planning and implementing a change program and will undoubtedly be of use in team building projects. hostility. they tend to initiate a change and keep it going. and poor maintenance of equipment may be examples of restraining forces against increased production. Restraining Forces Restraining forces are forces acting to restrain or decrease the driving forces.Lewin assumes that in any situation there are both driving and restraining forces that influence any change that may occur.Force Field Analysis Force field analysis is a management technique developed by Kurt Lewin.

The former manager had upset the equilibrium by increasing the driving forces (that is. can be raised or lowered by changes in the relationship between the driving and the restraining forces.Equilibrium This equilibrium. or present level of productivity. and that. The manager may do this by taking time away from the usual production operation and engaging in problem solving and training and development. In the short run. which lowered productivity shortly after the new manager arrived. they may become new driving forces. THE SIX BOXES MODEL – THE SYSTEMS VIEW . For illustration. being autocratic and keeping continual pressure on subordinates) and thus achieving increases in output in the short run. new restraining forces developed. along with the elimination of the hostility and the apathy that were restraining forces. output will tend to be lowered still further. Managers are often in a position in which they must consider not only output but also intervening variables and not only short-term but also long-term goals. and other restraining forces. However. It can be seen that force field analysis provides framework that is useful in diagnosing these interrelationships. Now a new equilibrium at a significantly lower productivity is faced by the new manager. however. such as increased hostility and antagonism. consider the dilemma of the new manager who takes over a work group in which productivity is high but whose predecessor drained the human resources. and at the time of the former manager's departure the restraining forces were beginning to increase and the results manifested themselves in turnover. if commitment to objectives and technical know-how of the group are increased in the long run. Now just assume that our new manager decides not to increase the driving forces but to reduce the restraining forces. By doing this. absenteeism. will now tend to move the balance to a higher level of output.

and investments made to change behavior often come from many different parts of the organization. The Six Boxes Model is a comprehensive categorization of these influences. based on over 60 years of basic behavior science. additions of inexpensive programs or simple changes in management are discovered and bring greater impact. we can identify and coordinate all the factors that affect a change in behavior. It allows us to coordinate all behavior influences for maximum impact.” We use this plain English model to teach leaders. Behavior influences comprise the far-left link in the Performance Chain. The list can be very long. Often. The challenge in any organization is to determine what combination of behavior influences are most likely to produce desired changes in behavior. when planning for new behavior or programs. what we call behavior influences. and when working on continuous improvement or development. Choices of which steps to take (Do they need training? Would a bonus be motivating? Should we provide a coach?) are better understood and addressed when the whole picture of influences is understood. and performance professionals how to think systemically when identifying factors that currently enable or obstruct behavior. . Balancing and tuning the system of behavior influences that affects any given behavior is how we achieve maximum return on investments that the organization makes in people.Now that we’ve linked what people do to what the organization wants to accomplish by identifying what they need to produce (the Performance Chain). managers. the enablers of human performance. simplified into six easy-to-remember “boxes. to establish and accelerate it.

program.Sharing the Six Boxes Model across levels and functions in an organization leads to a shared understanding and coordinated implementation of all interventions. Two premises which are not apparent in Weisbord’s model are crucial to understanding the boxes in the model. leadership. people. controlling. The purposes of an organization are the organization’s mission and goals. or project – where multi-skilled teams work together. The first premise refers to formal versus informal systems. The external environment is also depicted in Weisbord’s model. including the balance between the other boxes. The leadership box refers to typical leadership tasks. Organizational Development Models . informal systems are those behaviors which actually occur. Formal systems are those policies and procedures the organization claims to do. rewards. Weisbord identifies as inputs the money. ideas. structures.Weisbord’s Six-Box Model Weisbord (1976) proposes six broad categories in his model of organizational life. budgeting. relationships. this may be by function – where specialists work together – or by product. Organizations can often dramatically improve productivity and profitability per employee while increasing employee engagement by using the Six Boxes Model as the foundation for performance planning and performance improvement. Finally. and information systems that serve to meet organizational goals. and helpful mechanisms. The outputs are products and services. The ways in which people and units interact is termed relationships. the helping mechanisms are the planning. including purposes. although it is not represented as a "box" (see figure beow). and machinery which are used to fulfill the organization’s mission. Also included in the box of relationships is the way in which people interact with technology in their work. The bigger the gap between the formal and . In contrast. Rewards are the intrinsic and extrinsic rewards people associate with their work. Weisbord refers to structure as the way in which the organization is organized.

These questions serve to convolute the model because they do not flow from the logic of the model. government. and unions. between departments. Weisbord’s model focuses on internal issues within an organization primarily by posing "diagnostic questions" which have to do with the fit between "what is" and "what should be. they appear to be based on his OD practice. The second premise concerns the fit between the organization and the environment. he suggests that OD consultants determine whether organizational members agree with and support the organization’s mission and goals within the purposes box. rather. For example. . and between individuals and the nature of their jobs? Is their interdependence? What is the quality of relations? What are the modes of conflict? • Rewards: What does the organization formally reward. that is. This question refers to his premise regarding the nature of the formal and informal systems within the organization. Weisbord defines external demands or pressures as customers. A sample of some of the questions he poses are as follows: • Purposes: Do organizational members agree with and support the organization’s mission and goals? • Structure: Is there a fit between the purpose and the internal structure of the organization? • Relationships: What type of relations exist between individuals. Weisbord omits many interconnections between the boxes of the model.informal systems within the organization." The questions he poses are not predicted by the model. Weisbord poses diagnostic questions for each box of his model. Finally. Weisbord only tangentially addresses the impact of the external environment in the model. the less effective the organization is. Moreover. and for what do organizational members feel they are rewarded and punished? What does the organization need to do to fit with the environment? • Leadership: Do leaders define purposes? Do they embody purposes in their programs? What is the normative style of leadership? • Helpful Mechanisms: Do these mechanisms help or hinder the accomplishment of organizational objectives? In summary. the discrepancy between the existing organization and the way the organization should function to meet external demands.