Four Frames: Leadership Study Group (SUNY Libs Assn. 2011)


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  • tend to see people as the centerof any organization  if they feel the organization is responsive to their needs and supportive of their personal goals  you’ll have their commitment & loyaltyas a result view organizations sort of like a family, stressing fit and relationships, where informal roles/networks matter as much as job titles, if not moreview yourself as a facilitator who is very open, who listens and empowers peoplefocus on teamwork, communication, trainingdon’t let strengths become weaknessesrecommend Bolman & Deal, exhibit 15.1
  • besides a possible sense of reluctance or discomfort with the attributes above, the 2 biggest traps to watch out for…don’t need monster equipment to dig a giant holeThese are some of the tough things, but they can be very powerful things—for good or illThe boss’s idea won’t work, he wouldn’t listen to me even if I tried to tell himI know I’m right about this, of course she agrees with me, duhThis guy has no idea what he’s getting himself into, oh wellIf I tell her that she’s coming off as inept it will hurt her feelings and she may not like me anymoreWhat a jerk, dealing with him will only make it worserecommend Bolman & Deal, chapters 8 & 15
  • she has 4 hours before the students return, from an HR perspective…what is happening?what are some HR-focused options?Communication—no way she shouldn’t have known there were problems in the CircdeptCustomers—it sounds like end of fall semester, or even end of school year, they’ve been dealing with this for awhileEmployees—no one enjoys not being able to understand; bad fit between skills and dutiesDo some homework in the next 4 hours so she can approach the meeting with a better handle on things – Listen, take notes, clarifying questions, maybe bring in Circ manager as an observer so they can hear firsthand – solicit their ideas, suggest possible actions now or maybe wait  don’t even try to “put them off,” bring them inRegular meetings to share information, brainstorm ideas, foster collaboration; try to spend more informal time in various areas of the library – involvement Student Advisory Group incorporating some of the delegation—they obviously care about the library and the college; this will be helpful with student-related issues besides this one – ownershipcollege probably has services to help international students with language skills; partner with native speakers; teach coping techniques; reassign to non-public duties as appropriate – support recommend Bolman & Deal, chapters 16 & 20
  • Review political
  • Review political frame characteristics
  • Who has the power in this situation?Is the student delegation an informal group or part of a formal student organization?What is the student’s agenda? Issue can cause conflict between Asian students and other students (could go beyond the library and becoming a bigger campus issue)
  • Who has the power in this situation?Is the student delegation an informal group or part of a formal student organization?What is the student’s agenda? Issue can cause conflict between Asian students and other students (could go beyond the library and becoming a bigger campus issue)
  • Four Frames: Leadership Study Group (SUNY Libs Assn. 2011)

    1. 1. The Four Frames: Leadership Study Group Stephan J. Macaluso (New Paltz) Mark A. Smith (Alfred Ceramics) Jill Dixon (Binghamton) April Davies (Cobleskill)
    2. 2. Organizational Development Four Frames Approach (Bolman and Deal) • Structural Frame (machine) • Human Resource Frame (families) • Political Frame (jungles) • Symbolic Frame (theater) Gallos, J. (2007). Reframing Complexity: A Four-Dimensional Approach to Organizational Diagnosis, Development and Change. In J.V. Gallos (Ed.), Organizational Development: A Jossey-Bass Reader. Retrieved from
    3. 3. What kind of leader are you?
    4. 4. Leading in the Structural Frame Key Concept: Organizational problems originate from inappropriate structures or inadequate systems and can be resolved through restructuring or developing new systems.
    5. 5. Requires: Rational / Logical Analysis Clarity of Purpose Clarity of Roles, Tasks & Relationships Clarity in Rules / Policies Establishing Hierarchical Accountability Some Benefits: Functional Inter-Dependence Aligned Goals, Tasks, Technology & Environment Appropriate Division of Labor Mediates Tension between Individual & Organizational Priorities (“constrained by norms of rationality”) Preventive Maintenance
    6. 6. Some Tools: Lines of Authority (Org Chart) Rules/Policies Standard Operating Procedures Information Systems Meetings Fusing Lateral Relationships Job Descriptions Etc. Key Assumption: Coordination and Control are Essential to Effectiveness
    7. 7. Why Think Structurally Big Picture Clarity Can Neutralize Conflict It’s the Easiest Frame to Use! Happier Staff! Challenges Can Inhibit Creativity/Innovation Requires Clear Communication of Goals/Mission Broad Shoulders & Rigid Consistency Can be OVERPLAYED
    8. 8. Ya Give Me Fever Some Structural Considerations in Case Study Clarity of Expectations ? • authority, role clarity • supervisory roles • employment criteria Policies/Procedures ? • training/supervision • internal communication • user feedback loop Alignment w/ External Structures ? • open Admissions Policy • budgeting Priorities • legal precedence? Clarity of Mission ? • embedded alignment w/institutional mission • clarity of own values • Responsiveness
    9. 9. Human Resources Frame If you’re strong in this frame… • family, relationships, fit • catalyst, facilitator, open • listen, educate, empower • teamwork, communication, training • romanticized view of human nature – no, we can’t all get along all the time • trying so hard to keep us happy that problems are ignored or responsibility is abdicated Bolman, L. G. & Deal, T. E. (2008). Reframing Organizations: Artistry, Choice, and Leadership. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
    10. 10. Human Resources Frame If you’re weak in this frame… • untested assumptions – he’s already made up his mind – she agrees with me • avoidance – it will work itself out – it will be unpleasant – it’s a risk Bolman, L. G. & Deal, T. E. (2008). Reframing Organizations: Artistry, Choice, and Leadership. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
    11. 11. Case Study – Yellow Fever Analyzed through the HR frame…  communication breakdown within the library  frustrated, “insistent” customers  unhappy employees, poor fit  ideas from the group/s  meetings, walkabouts  student advisory group  training, mentoring/partnering, reassignment
    12. 12. Political Frame Politics is the ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month and next year. And to have the ability afterwards to explain why it didn’t. - Winston Churchill Source:
    13. 13. Political Frame • the workplace as a jungle • the workplace as strife with power struggles • enduring and unavoidable differences • a constant need to manage conflict among individual and groups • the importance of interest groups and the necessity to build coalitions If you’re strong in this frame, you see…
    14. 14. Political Frame Political Arenas • Office politics • Campus politics • SUNY / NYS politics University politics are vicious precisely because the stakes are so small. - Henry Kissinger
    15. 15. Political Frame If you are weak in this frame, you assume… • everyone has shared values, beliefs, and perceptions • resources are plentiful and readily available • organizations/people are uniform in goals and objectives • decisions only emerge from the top-down • power conflicts can be avoided • networking is not necessary
    16. 16. Case Study – Yellow Fever Analyzed through the political frame… • Delegation of students have power and an agenda • Issue is very important to student delegation • Possibility of conflict expanding beyond library • Staff communication issues and internal politics
    17. 17. Case Study – Yellow Fever Next steps through the political frame… • Begin a fact finding mission • Set an clear agenda for resolving issue with detailed strategy and timeline • Build and formalize a coalition with students / student groups to deal with any future issues • Work with staff on understanding library and campus mission and goals