Tak Shing Hung
BA544: Organizational and Management Theories
December 4, 2011
Dr. Rhonda Polak
The purpose of this paper is to explain why reframing can be so important to a business. In today’s world, businesses must stay on top of the competition and in touch with the ever-changing world of technology. Over time, a business can become stagnant, may be running on cruise-control or run out of new ideas. Sales may even start to slip with new competition affecting the bottom line. Initially a business is organized and it begins to function on a structural level that works for the business. In time, minds can become hard-wired to continue to function within that initial frame; however, framing is simply a concept. It can be changed by altering the conceptual and emotional setting or viewpoint of the business. Reframing allows a business to break free from the limits of the original frame. The business first assesses its operations via multiple outlooks and frames. There are four common frames used to analyze operations and those include the Structural Frame, the Human Resource Frame, Political Frame, and the Symbolic Frame. Each frame has its own emphasis and key concepts and each will be further explained in this paper.
Organizations are complex entities. There are many factors that make organizational life complicated, ambiguous, and unpredictable. “The biggest challenge for managers and leaders is to find the right way to frame our organizations in a world that has become more global, competitive, and turbulent (Stadtlander, n.d.) Organizational framing is a theory in which the management of a business assesses its operation via multiple outlooks.
The ability for a leader to make sense of the complex and ambiguous work world depends on the mental models or “frames” applied to the task (DeGrosky, 2011). A frame “is a mental model-a set of ideas and assumptions-that you carry in your head to help you understand and negotiate a particular “territory” (Bolman & Deal, 2008, p. 11). It helps managers understand the situation at hand so they are able to make decisions. There are different angles for managers to consider while making decisions in their organizations. Each angle gives the manager a different view of the situation and helps them capture what is actually going on. The Four Frames
Bolman and Deal (2008) developed an organizational theory that consists of four frames. The organizational theory “prescribes a multi-dimensional or multi-frame approach in understanding the attributes and situational contexts of organizational behavior” (Thompson, n.d.). The four frames are: Structural, Human Resource, Political, and Symbolic.
“The structural frame is the view that an organization is a “factory” or a “machine”. “The structural frame depicts a rational world and emphasizes organizational architecture, including goals, structure, technology, specialized roles, coordination, and formal relationships” (Bolman & Deal, 2008). It defines the responsibilities of each position and the relationships between them. Six assumptions undergird the structural frame: 1. Organizations exist to achieve established goals and objectives. 2. Organizations increase efficiency and enhance performance through specialization and appropriate division of labor. 3. Suitable forms of coordination and control ensure that diverse efforts of individuals and units mesh. 4. Organizations work best when rationality prevails over personal agendas and extraneous pressures. 5. Structures must be designed to fit an organization’s current circumstances (including its goals, technology, workforce, and environment). 6. Problems arise and performance suffers from structural deficiencies, which can be remedied through analysis and restructuring. Human Resource Frame
“The human resource...