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The Marvin Weisbord Six-Box Model (Weisbord’s Model)


The six-box model is a framework developed by the American analyst Marvin Weisbord to assess the functioning of organizations. It is a generic framework and is intended for use across a wide variety of organizations. It is based mainly on the techniques and assumptions of the field of organizational development.

Outline of the Approach

The model represents a particular way of looking at organizational structure and design. It gives attention to issues such as planning, incentives and rewards, the role of support functions such as personnel, internal competitions among organizational units, standards for remuneration, partnerships, hierarchies and the delegation of authority, organizational control, accountability and performance assessment. The model also follows the basic 'systems' approach to organizational functioning including the well-known inputs and 'outputs' categories.

The six-box model is comprised of the following components (boxes):

  1. Purposes: What 'businesses' are we in?
  2. Structure: How do we divide up the work?
  3. Relationships: How do we manage conflict (coordinate) among people? With our technologies?
  4. Rewards: Is there an incentive for doing all that needs doing?
  5. Leadership: Is someone keeping the boxes in balance?
  6. Helpful mechanisms: Have we adequate coordinating technologies? 

Find out More

Some complementary information and resources on the model can be found on Marvin Weisbord website. The model is also detailed in a book entitled "Organizational Diagnosis: A Workbook of Theory and Practice," by Marvin Weisbord, published by Addison-Wesley in 1978 and only available in English.  The book comes in two parts - Part 1 deals with the six-box model including explanation of all the components and tips on how best to use them. Part II contains a series of background readings on organizational diagnosis by noted American academics and writers.