What is Leavitt’s Diamond?

In early 1960s an American Professor Harlod J. Leavitt presented a model which explains organizational change. This model revolves around four components of organizational change and these elements are: structure, task, technology and people. These four elements are interconnected and interdependent. Professor Leavitt placed these elements in a square shape to reflect the mutual connection among all of these. This square shape looks like a diamond and that is why it is widely known as Leavitt’s Diamond Model.

What is Leavitt Diamond Model

Four Components of Leavitt’s Diamond

Let’s go into details of all four elements of Leavitt’s Diamond model and how these work and affect each other in the process of organizational change.

Structure

Structure is a foundation of an organization. It covers many things. It includes staff, layers of hierarchies, departments and how these all interact with each other. What is communication style among different layers of hierarchies and department. Hence, it is important for any change to happen that structure needs to be adjusted and evolved as per the requirements of change. If there is change in structure, there is change in other components of this model.

Relationship between Structure and People

If there is change in structure it does affect change in employees. It may bring positive or negative changes in their behaviour and productivity. Similarly, if there are changes in employees it can bring changes in organizational structure. For instance, if the new employees join in who have strong technically skills, which will result into a structure where less employees are working who need minimum supervision and this also means less number of employees.

Relationship between Structure and Task

When there is a change in organizational structure it does bring changes in different tasks which need to be performed by employees. For instance, if a special department is set to improve performance and support operations then employees of others will be required to perform different tasks as per requirement of the new structure.

Relationship between Structure and Technology

Technology brings revolutionary changes in organizational structure. In present times, procedures and processes are being automated which cause changes in structure like less number of employees, more strong technological infrastructure etc. Likewise, new set up or department may also demand shifting on new technology.

Task

Tasks refer to activities which are being performed by employees. In addition to this, tasks also encompass bigger actions such as organizational goals. Therefore, tasks are about who is doing what and what purpose organization is pursuing.

Relationship between Task and People

There is a change in employees then their tasks will also get changed. In the same way if new actions and tasks are being introduced then it will surely affect employees. Employees get new experience and enhance their expertise through dealing with new tasks.

Relationship between Task and Structure

If new department is set up or new layer of hierarchy is introduced in an organization, the tasks and functions of employees will also get changed. The work flow and process will also get affected and adjusted if structural changes are introduced in organizations.

Relationship between Task and Technology

Change in technology will lead to change in tasks and actions which are performed by employees. Employees need to adopt to technology by changing the way of doing things. There may be reduced manual tasks.

People

This element is about employees of an organization. Employees are the backbone of an organization and organizational functions and goals depends on its employees and how they work, what expertise they posses, what knowledge and skills they exhibit. And change in employees affects all other elements and there will be changes in these. 

Relationship between People and Task

When tasks are changed then employees need to change its old methods of doing tasks. With proper training and coaching employees become adjusted to new tasks.

Relationship between People and Technology

When a new technology is introduced in an organization, it also affects employees who need training and extra skills to adopt to new technology. In some situation, application of new technology demands new hiring who have skills and expertise to handle the technology.

Relationship between People and Structure

If organizational structure is altered then employees are the first who need to adjusted to new structure, set up or department. They might get new roles and responsibilities under the new structure.

Technology

Technology helps employees to better perform tasks. It ranges from computer, machines to cellular phones, other software and latest machines which are used to provide easier, faster and reliable services. Like other elements of Leavitt’s Diamond model, if there are changes in other elements technology also need to be replaced, changed or upgraded.

Relationship between Technology and People

Technology must be at par with the needs of employees of an organization. Employees skills and expertise also determine the level of technology being in use in an organization.

Relationship between Technology and Tasks

If there are changes in task then technological alterations happen. For instance, an organization needs to change its registration process and aim to replace it with more efficient and effective one then only solution is to replace it with online registration process.

Relationship between Technology and Structure

Technology provides solution when an organization alters its structure. For instance, if an organization need to dismantle its huge department to cut cost and have more productivity then technological automation is the answer.

Advantages of Leavitt’s Diamond Model

One should use Leavitt’s Diamond Model because:

  • This model is a good for doing early analysis of change in an organization. It provides the initial path to have an understanding about organization which is going to implement change. 
  • It is easy to use and everyone within an organization can undertake this to assess strength of their organization with respect to managing change.
  • This model is very popular with IT based technological organizations. IT companies has been frequently using this model to craft their path towards change.    

Disadvantages of Leavitt’s Diamond Model

  • This model does not take into account external environment or factors which also drive change.
  • It does not address issue of organizational change of all organization. It has limited applicability and best fit to analyze change in tech based organizations.
  • It only provides analysis and does not show the pathway of change.

Take Home Points

  • Professor Harlod J. Leavitt developed this model which helps to understand interplay of four key elements which are structure, task, people and technology.
  • This model is also known as Leavitt’s Diamond model and its key principle is that if one variable of organizational change is change it does affect other variables.
  • If structure gets changed then it will affect people, tasks and technology and if there are changes in employees then it will have implications for all other elements which are structure, tasks and technology.
  • The same is true for other two that if tasks get changed then all the rest of three elements will be changed and if technology is replaced then task, people and structure undergo big adjustments.

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