“Reframing Organizations” by Bolman, Lee G, Deal

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Bolman and Deal’s four frames have been used here to initiate a change in the planning stages of Robert F. Kennedy High School. They help to change our approach towards an issue and determine the organizational needs, circumstances and challenges faced by the institution and formulate appropriate actions that need to be undertaken. Depending on the various contexts, one or a combination of several frames may be appropriate. We can also use the frames for reconsidering unfavorable change initiatives taken earlier. (Bolman, 2008)

In the following, we have discussed the problems faced by the institution and their appropriate solutions in context with the four frames.


This frame refers to the policies, processes and organizational structures up on which the institution is formed. The pattern of this framework influences the operations of the organization, like staffing, student service and student enrollment schemes.

The problems faced by the institution are due to weak combination of goals, responsibilities and specialized roles of the staff members and unclear association among them. Their hierarchical matrix structure is not properly defined and they lack proper limitations and boundaries.

Working according to Bolman and Deal theory, the structural manager in order to change the structural elements of the institution has to clarify its organizational goals. A responsibility chart sketching the division of labor has to be drawn and specialized roles have to be defined to eliminate ambiguity, uncertainty and conflict. To outline the hierarchical matrix structure first, the line of authority has to be clarified and a clear structure fit for their environment and tasks has to be developed.

The different roles can only be coordinated when the institution as a whole decides its line of action. Only when everyone in the institution agrees to the changes, they can be implemented as they all have a part in the decisions made. (Bolman, 2008)

Human Resource

This frame mainly deals with the people of the institution. Through this frame, we can emphasize on staff development, support and awareness of employee demands and empower their leadership qualities.

The problem with the institution is that basic needs of the staff members, like their safety issues, are not met with. The management is unable to handle situations in case of conflicts and the staff has very little authority and power to take their own decisions.

This approach can only be successful when there is very little conflict among the employees. Thus, they have to be trained in conflict management and improve their communication with each other. In order to deal with the above problems, the human resource, or HR manager, need to view the staff members to the heart of the institution and should respond to their needs.

This is done so that they are loyal and committed. The HR manager has to be open to the employees and communicate cordially with them. The resources required for them to work properly have to be provided to them so that they can wholeheartedly participate in the operations of the institution. There has to be abundant resources to lower diversity and conflict among the employees. Their job security and safety also has to be improved so that their morale does not decline. (Nilsson, & Axelsson, 2008)


This approach centers about the political realisms, which are present outside and within the institution. It emphasizes on the various groups and their agendas, coalition formation and power bases and negotiation of conflicts due to limited resources. This approach is suitable only when there is a scarcity of resources and there is a conflict in the values and goals of the institution.

Problems faced by the institution that fall under this approach are the conflicts between the departments and racial tension. Problem also arises when the concentration of power takes place in the wrong place or is so widely dispersed that no work is done. Outside constituents, like media and parents, also play a part here.

In order to solve the problems the political leaders of the institutions have to recognize the major constituencies for developing links. They have to create arenas to carry out negotiating for eliminating differences and find reasonable compromises for them. For damage control, the leaders have to communicate the similarities of the different groups and unite against outside threat by identifying their external enemies.

The political frame focuses on tactics and strategy rather than in resolving conflict among the groups. As the institution is a coalition, there will be differences among the members. Thus, the political leader has to see to it that the goals of the institution are clear and there is communication between the political and structural frames. (Nilsson, 2008)


This approach focuses on inspiration and vision, which are critical for the employees so that they believe that their work is meaningful and important to the institution. It is suitable when the goals are ambiguous, cause-effect relationships are misunderstood and cultural diversity is very high.

Problems under this frame arise when symbolism, like ceremonies and traditions, is not shared in the institution; there is lack of faith and religious division and loss of identity of institution.

To deal with the problems the institution has to hoist their banner, which is a common symbol for all and the students and employees will be loyal to the institution when it has its unique identity. Symbolism in the form of rituals and ceremonies develop caring and excellence among the members and creates faith and belief inside them. The symbols also eliminate ambiguity and confusion. The symbolic leaders have to personify and express culture as this provides direction and cohesiveness to all. (Hill, 1998)


When changes initiated have to be implemented in Robert F. Kennedy High School, a combination of these four frames and their different perspectives is totally justified. According to some educators, the structural frame of the changes initiated there has been strongly emphasized and that the other frames have been concurrently neglected. Since the leaders are often found to be stronger in one or two of the frames but never in all, it is very important that everyone addresses and conceptualizes the various aspects of the changes initiated.

Organizational culture can be defined as a specific personality of an organization. It comprises of attitudes, assumptions, beliefs, experiences, norms, values and artifacts which are shared by the various groups and people that form an organization and the way they interact and behave with each other and people who do not belong to the same organization. Corporate culture and organizational culture are not completely similar as the latter has a deeper and wider concept and defines what an organization is instead of what it has.

Organizational culture is among those terms, which are hard to express clearly, but people know when it exists. The culture of an organization is formed by the experiences, language, education, weaknesses, strengths and work practices that each employee contributes in the organization. The executives, managerial staff and founders of the organization also influence organizational culture as they play an important role in the strategic direction and decisions made in the organization. (Cameron, 2004)

Effective organizational culture has a number of traits and is evident by high degrees of employee commitment, creativity and productivity. This brings about an increase in profitability, innovation and quality of the organization. This drives the leaders in an organization to develop proper organizational culture among its employees for enhanced results. However, cultures do not suddenly emerge all by themselves and needs to be actively shaped by those people responsible for ensuring the organization’s financial and strategic success.

Thus, just as organizational leaders have to manage finances and operations of their company, they also have to manage its culture. However, although organizational culture is an intangible and subtle phenomenon is quite difficult for the managers to bring about and manage as it cannot be influenced or manipulated directly. There are no workable tools, which can be used to cultivate organizational culture as it is defined by the behavior, attitude and beliefs of the employees. However, leadership, communication and people skills can be the only ways though which the organizational culture of a company can be managed effectively.

The organizational leaders need to determine the degree to which an employee understands and follows the strategic directions and missions set for the company. They also need assess how well employees interacts with each other and share information and knowledge. (Hiatt, 2003)

In order to manage the culture in an organization, it needs to be shaped in a slow and steady manner. Strategic vision, behavior and shared values need to be formulated for the organization. Culture needs to be managed by the heads of an organization. Thus, they need to display a commitment that is in favor of implementing a proper culture in an organization. Their behavior should symbolize the norms and values, which needs to be realized by the rest of the people. Legal and ethical sensitivity also needs to be developed. Lack of discipline and poor performances should not be tolerated as it impedes success, harming culture.

The employees themselves need to learn and execute certain behaviors through either the negative consequences or rewards that are associated with it. A behavior that is rewarded, like a simple thank you for work well done, is repeated and thus, becomes a part of the organization’s culture. In addition, culture of the employees can be shaped by their interaction with others, both inside and outside the organization. Thus, the behaviors of an applicant during an interview should be taken into concern so that he or she is able to fit into the present culture of the organization, once accepted.

Sometimes employees look for rewards, which are not always related to the behavior that is desired by the heads and leaders of the organization. They get their rewards from their coworkers and a feeling of belonging arises in their teams and departments. The most important factor, which shapes the culture in an organization, is the experiences and personalities of the employees. If the employees of an organization are forthcoming and outgoing then its culture is going to be sociable and open.

However, if negativity is widespread among the employees and complains take place all the time then a negative culture, which is hard to overcome, will be observed in the organization. The values, vision and missions of the departments should be created such that it has a positive impact on the employee. They must be informed about the present culture of the organization so that they can understand it and express it through his daily actions. The employees must also be told what type of culture is expected from them as it affects not only their success and commitment but also the culture of the whole organization.

Sometimes to shape up culture among the employees of an organization certain organizational structures of the firm also need to be altered. On certain occasions, the recognition and reward system of the organization also needs to be redefined to encourage behaviors that are vital for maintaining the culture of the organization. Several work systems, like employee selection, performance management, employee promotions and pay practices, need to be aligned with the culture desired by the organization. (Wilson, 2002)

It is quite clear that a single person, whether an employee or a managerial head, cannot shape up the culture of an organization. Together the employees and leaders need to set a proper direction and workable environment in the organization, decide the manner in which work should be done in it and the way decisions are taken in the workplace. The employees as a group should feel responsible for upholding the standards and system developments of the organization.

We have to remember that changing the culture of an organization is very difficult, as it requires that the people in the organization alter their behaviors too. It is tough for people to simply forget and change the way they are habituated in doing things and start behaving differently. Thus, in order to shape the culture in an organization, people have to be involved, disciplined, persistent, understanding and kind towards each other and train and develop them to bring about an appreciable culture in the organization. (Hiatt, 2003)


Bolman, Lee G & Terrence E. Deal; 2008; Reframing Organizations: Artistry, Choice, and Leadership; John Wiley and Sons.

Cameron, Esther & Mike Green; 2004; Making Sense of Change Management: A Complete Guide to the Models, Tools & Techniques of Organizational Change; Kogan Page Publishers.

Hiatt, Jeffrey M. Jeff Hiatt, Timothy J. Creasey; 2003; Change Management: The People Side of Change; Prosci.

Hill S, McNulty D; 1998. OVERCOMING CULTURAL BARRIERS TO CHANGE. Health Manpower Management, (UK), Vol 24, 1, 98-104. Web.

Nilsson, Elin, Axelsson, Matilda, Sörberg, Sigrid; 2008; Line-Managers’ Perceptio of Change at Ericsson: A study of the process and effects of a re-organization; Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, EMM (Entrepreneurship, Marketing, Management).

Nilsson, Anders and Georgsson, Linus; 2008; Breaking hierarchies; Uppsala University, Department of Business Studies.

Wilson, David C; 2002; A Strategy of Change: Concepts and Controversies in the Management of Change; Cengage Learning EMEA.

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