Bolman and Deal's Four-Frame Analysis : Case Study

3121 words 13 pages
BOLMAN AND DEAL'S FOUR-FRAME ANALYSIS : CASE STUDY by Dr. P. McCabe, January 2003
Four-Frame Theory
There are volumes written on leadership theory in nearly every discipline. Bolman and Deal sifted through the complex theories and literature and combined with their own analyses, theories and experience devised a four-frame model as a way of understanding organizations and leadership within organizations. Frames are described as being the lens through which anyone sees the world and places that world in order (University of Melbourne). Frames help individuals to filter out the things in the world they do not want to see, thus, frames are inherently inaccurate and skewed in terms of reality (University of Melbourne). But, people need
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Bolman and Deal sum up the core problem of management, which has to do with control: "Control is an illusion and rationality an afterthought.... Organizational life is always full of simultaneous events that can be interpreted in a variety of ways" (1991, p. 266). They way to succeed in management is not to hold tightly to one's own framework or perception, but to consider the multitude of ways of seeing any given issue; there are numerous divergent perspectives (Bolman and Deal 266). These authors say: "Their frame-not yours-determines how they will act" (Bolman and Deal 1991, p. 270).
Consider this table regarding effective leadership according to the four frames.
Frame Leader Leadership Process
Structural Analyst architect Analysis, design
Human resource Catalyst, servant Support, empowerment
Political Advocate, negotiator Advocacy, coalition
Symbolic Prophet, poet Inspiration, framing experience
Unfortunately, many managers still try to manage through their own narrow view of the world and what any experience means. Bolman and Deal suggest that managers make a mistake when they:
Operate as though there was only one frame for any situation (Bolman and Deal 1991).
Are not capable of looking for new ways to deal with old problems (Bolman and Deal 1991).
Strive for control, rationality and certainty (Bolman and Deal 1991).
On the other hand, effective

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