Leavitt’s Diamond – A Study

United as one, but still showing individuality

Introduction

Often, while project handling the define processes may not return the expected results, leading to loss of time and money. Initially, the project goals are well defined, only later to acknowledge a secondary set of objectives emerging from the defined procedure, which would simply deviate the course of action. To resolve the consequences of this deviation, an effective change management plan should be in place. However, change never occurs in isolation, and is a random process that affects the project results and people.

So, why only specific elements of change bring success while others simply fail?

The answer lies in how you assess the change process and how effective your change management plan is.

As mentioned previously, the process of change is a chain reaction that affects all the departments of an organization. Since change is consistent, it is impossible to apply innovation to only a single link, without influencing the interrelated processes. Thus, processes will fail and companies will fall, if change is applied on a singular section or process.

Therefore, it is wise to apply change to unified sections of the project or the company to bring positive results. For situations like this, Harold J. Leavitt came up with the Leavitt’s Diamond, also known as the Leavitt’s System Model in 1965. With the help of this method, you would be able to identify the interconnected pieces in an organization, which is most likely to be affected by the change successfully and efficiently and thus accordingly come up with a change management plan.

What is Leavitt’s Diamond?

Dr. Harold Leavitt who had been a Professor at two major Universities, Stanford University and Claremont University, first introduced the Leavitt’s Diamond method. Since then, it has been put to use extensively for identifying the parts of a system or an organization, which are most likely to be affected by the implementation of a certain change to a particular project. Dr. Harold Leavitt stated that every organization is made up of at least four different yet interconnected sectors and making a change in any one of these sectors will start a chain reaction of change in all the different elements of the other connected sectors. The Leavitt’s diamond model helps you identify the interdependent main sectors or major components in an organization or in a system and take change management steps accordingly. The four sectors, which an organization is usually divided in, are:

  • People
  • Tasks
  • Structure
  • Technology

The four sections of an organization

According to the Leavitt’s diamond framework every industry can be broken down into four major interdependent sections. Doing this helps you predict the path, which a change process would follow while acting within system and you can plan your change management technique effectively and accordingly. The interaction occurring between these four different sections decides the outcome of the project thus becoming a deciding factor to whether the project would succeed or not. These four main components of an organization have been defined and briefly discussed below:

People:

The people involved with an organization are an integral part of the project. The skill set, efficiency, their knowledge, and their ability with production should be taken into account while using this method besides noting their current job description. Implementing a change in a system requires tremendous amount of up gradation in the system as well as in its employees. A modification in an employee usually refers to adequate training and interactive sessions helping them grasp the new contours of the change that has been undertaken. This generally includes three different aspects stating how the human front of an organization is affected by each of the other three components:

  • Change in task: With change come new opportunities and job descriptions which often makes the older methods obsolete. This might often give rise to new tasks and duties that the people under you must get acquainted with. To help them with this you should provide training sessions on handling the new ways of getting the job done.
  • Change in structure: Any changes made within an organization will always result in some people who have worked hard for the project as well as change being promoted. When a person is promoted his job description changes along with his position. This in turn gets him assigned to an entirely new set of duties. To understand their new role in the company the employee should receive proper training and sufficient learning period so that he can take control over his newly developed responsibilities.
  • Change in technology: change within an organization often gives rise to the necessity of an up gradation in the technological interface of the project. The people in charge of handling this technology needs to be properly trained and taught about the new ways of the up graded version of the technology so that they continue working on the project without any hindrance and avoid any damage to the newly installed system and to themselves.

Article signup banner

Tasks:

When a change occurs in a system it is often seen that most of the age-old tasks and job descriptions are replaced with modern task force requirements. The qualitative aspect of these new tasks and goals should be properly evaluated and the people should be trained accordingly. Requirements and benefits of the new task should be identified and it should be checked whether it is relevant.

Structure:

The structure of an organization generally refers to the system of hierarchy followed within the system and the relationship between the different levels of the organization. This hierarchy helps you define the flow of power and responsibilities in the project without any complication. Any change in the project is bound to affect this structure and thus in turn affect every single person associated with it.

Technology:

Any up gradation or change within the system renders the existing technological framework useless and to keep up with the new ways new software and other technological inputs needs to be up graded. The people in charge of supervising or handling these installations should be accordingly trained to cope up with the new system.

To Wrap Up

Thus the Leavitt’s diamond helps you identify the sectors in an organization you should focus on and how accordingly you can manipulate the changes to make things work for anyone and everyone who is a part of the project as well as for the efficient running of the system.

Other tools you might find interesting