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Framing Change



The article offers a look at how organizations manage ongoing change and development. It refers to the book "Reframing Organizations," by L.G. Bolman and T.E. Deal, in which they state that the ability to utilize multiple frameworks is a foil for blindness that paralyzes organizations. It looks at four different frameworks that create a broader system-level perspective. They are: structural which define organizational hierarchy and responsibility, human resources which define how organizations manage and motivate employees, political which relates to gain and loss of organizational power and symbolic which relates to organizational culture.
Winners of the 2008 Organization Development Network Graduate Student Paper and
Presentation Award.
Framing Change
A New Approach to Change Management Analysis
The problem of sustaining healthy
organizational systems during periods of
intense change can hardly be understated.
It is the nature of the world, and
therefore of organizations, to change.
Organizational, like physical survival,
depends on the ability to tolerate sustained
internal and external changes. Economies,
societies and organizations wax and wane.
Those that do not anticipate change are still
subject to it, but in often unanticipated and
detrimental ways.
Methodologies and philosophies
already exist to help organizations navigate
the waters of change and sustain successful
organization development. The question
is not, “Is there a solution?” but “Which
solutions best t my organization?” For
example, Meyers-Briggs training may help
managers understand their employees
and each other better, but will it eliminate
barriers to change resulting from
entrenched political alliances? 360 reviews
may help organizations recognize pervasive
issues, but will they identify the underlying
assumptions that created them?
No single program, no matter how
loyal its adherents, xes every current and
future organizational problem. So the
question remains, how do organizations
manage ongoing change and development?
Dening Frames
Merriam-Webster (2007) denes “frame
of reference” as “a set of ideas, conditions,
or assumptions that determine how
something will be approached, perceived,
or understood.” In Reframing Organizations
(2003), Bolman and Deal claim that the
ability to utilize multiple frameworks
is a foil for the blindness that plagues
organizations, that “learning multiple
perspectives, or frames, is a defense
against cluelessness” (p. 18). Examining
organizations from four different
frameworks creates a broader, systems-level
perspective. The four frames dened by
Bolman and Deal are:
1. Structural: How organizations delegate
responsibility, construct hierarchy,
dene rules and regulations, and how
these elements affect organizational
2. Human Resources: How organizations
develop, manage, motivate, and
compensate the people that comprise
them. This frame deals with issues
such as employee satisfaction,
retention, and training.
3. Political: How power is gained and lost,
competition for scarce resources, and
the need to build coalitions, loyalty, and
negotiation skills.
4. Symbolic: How organizational culture,
symbolic behavior, rituals, myths,
theater, creativity, and play affect
organizational development, and how
the organization represents itself
through vision, values, and goals.
Framing and Change
In Four Steps to Keeping Change Efforts
Headed in the Right Direction (1999),
Bolman and Deal point out some
challenges organizations encounter
By Carol Howard, Karl Logue,
Michelann Quimby, and
Jeff Schoeneberg
25Framing Change: A New Approach to Change Management Analysis
when attempting large-scale change
initiatives. Most commonly the effects of
change are only examined from a couple
of perspectives, or frames, but change
disrupts organizations across all frames.
In fact, change may cause conict among
employees adjusting to altered structures
or hierarchies, create confusion about
job paths and the value of skills, change
the makeup of alliances and networks,
and disrupt cultural norms and rituals.
Change is most likely to succeed when
the organization takes a multi-framed
approach to problem evaluation.
Using multiple frames helps
organizations and individuals go beyond
the limitations of habitual perception to
achieve a more systems-level perspective.
For example, if a poor market causes a
downturn in prots, company leadership
may cut staff to save money and improve
the appearance of protability for
stockholders—a structural solution. While
this may provide the intended short-term
results, it will also have long-term, possibly
unforeseen effects. Layoffs can lower
employee loyalty and trust, increasing
attrition, which nancially impacts
operating costs—an HR problem. Layoffs
may disrupt reporting structures, impeding
efciency while employees learn new roles
and responsibilities—a structural problem.
Employees may interpret layoffs as lack
of loyalty and concern among leadership,
increasing self-interest and cynicism
while reducing employee commitment to
corporate vision and values—a symbolic
issue. And nally, layoffs may disrupt
or destroy the internal alliances that
employees use to further the organization’s
strategic initiatives—a political issue.
The long-term effects of signicant
systemic may be far worse than those that
prompted the original action. Multiple
framework analysis anticipates outcomes
to proposed changes, as well as helps trace
previously unforeseen events back to their
Those who favor the structural frame
depend on organizational hierarchy
for solutions to challenges. This
preference is often demonstrated
through re-organization, downsizing,
and restructuring. Kim Cameron, in
“Investigating Organizational Downsizing”
(1994), found that although announcement
of a dramatic layoff could escalate stock
prices of public corporations by as much
as 8 percent, those gains were short-
lived. In fact, less than half of the studied
organizations achieved their objective
of reducing expenses or increasing
prots. Other expected outcomes, such as
increased competitive advantage, reduced
bureaucracy and increased customer
satisfaction, had success rates of less than
20 percent. Unless structural change
initiatives address the potential effects on
other frames, the consequence may be
more negative than positive.
Human Resources
The Human Resources frame emphasizes
the connection between effective
investment in people and successful
organization change (Bolman & Deal,
2003). A survey of executives involved
in change efforts, summarized in an
article entitled “Harnessing Energy
to Drive Organizational Change”
(Isern & Pung, 2007), concluded that
employee motivation, enthusiasm, and
commitment are key components of
successful organizational transformation.
Ram Charan documents an HR-focused
change effort in his article “Home
Depot’s Blueprint for Culture Change”
(2006). Performance reviews, leadership
development, communications programs,
HR processes, employee task forces, and
manager training were key mechanisms for
inculcating change efforts into the fabric
of the company. While these change efforts
had positive short-term nancial results,
they were ultimately unsuccessful because
leadership ignored the existing culture and
values of the organization (Forseter, 2007).
In the political frame, competition for
scarce resources affects the balance of
power by creating informal networks and
alliances. The article “Informal Networks:
The Company Behind the Chart”
(Krackhardt & Hanson, 1993) posits that
“informal organizations,”—those that are
controlled by political rather than positional
power centers—are more inuential than
formally structured organizations. The
authors discuss types:
Advice network: People depending on
others for problem solving.
Trust network: Loyalty-bound groups
that share information with one
Communication network: Employee
networks that discuss work regularly.
Examination of these networks can
reveal causes of non-routine problems
and underlying political dynamics.
Managers who understand where power
is consolidated can work with informal
networks to solve problems and align
organizational performance. Managers
who do not recognize the power of
these informal networks have difculty
accomplishing their objectives.
Politics, power, control, and leadership
play a vital role in organization change. In
Most commonly the effects of change are only examined
from a couple of perspectives, or frames, but change disrupts
organizations across all frames. In fact, change may cause
conict among employees adjusting to altered structures or
hierarchies, create confusion about job paths and the value
of skills, change the makeup of alliances and networks, and
disrupt cultural norms and rituals. Change is most likely to
succeed when the organization takes a multi-framed approach
to problem evaluation.
OD PRACTITIONER Vol. 41 No. 1 20092
modern organizations, the term “political”
is often taboo, but relationships, networks,
and coalitions often have more inuence
than positional authority.
The symbolic frame reveals itself through
organizational rituals and myths, cultural
behaviors and beliefs, and the way the
organization portrays itself. Consciously or
unconsciously, people express truths that
resist literal explanation though symbolic
The symbolic frame is most clearly
represented in organizational culture—its
conventions, rituals, language, and taboos.
In the article “If You Want Strategic
Change, Don’t Forget to Change Your
Cultural Artifacts” (2004), authors Higgins
and McAllaster state that successful
strategic organization change depends on
identication and evaluation of existing
cultural artifacts (dened as symbols,
myths, ceremonies, and values). They
claim Continental Airlines was successful
in changing the goals of the company and
returning to protability by addressing
cultural artifacts associated with its poor
performance, while Digital Equipment
Corporation’s internal myth of invincibility
prevented leadership from recognizing
the threat represented by the emerging
personal computer market.
Discussing this concept in depth,
Chris Argyris denes corrective, short-
term change as “single-loop learning” and
reective, long-term change as “double-
loop” learning. Recognition of existing
beliefs and norms, and “the underlying
program, or master program, that leads
individuals to believe as they do about
their error correction strategies” allows for
cultural shifts that mere structural or policy
changes may not (Argyris, 2005).
Initial Hypothesis
We propose measuring the inuence of
frames in the client organization from
two viewpoints: the individual’s personal
frame preference, and the individual’s
perception of the overall organizational
preference. We use survey instruments and
interviews to determine these preferences.
The alignment between these two values
is used to predict issues of frame usage
and the attendant communications and
management issues that are likely to
When the frame preferences of a
management team are homogeneous (for
instance, mostly structural or political in
preference), less team disharmony will
occur, but less creativity can be expected
because of the lack of divergent viewpoints.
One would anticipate and even desire a
variety of personal preferences and styles in
an innovative, high-performing company.
While high alignment of personal frame
preferences may create feelings of warmth
and camaraderie among team members, it
can be at the expense of creative conict,
and the innovation that results. See Figure 1
for a graphical representation of this
The ability of the organization to
propagate a standard corporate message
demonstrates alignment in perceived
corporate preferences. The greater
the alignment in individuals’ views of
corporate frame preferences, the stronger
the internal communication mechanism.
A weak communication mechanism leads
to a widely distributed interpretation of
company frame preferences.
Alignment of perceived corporate
preferences indicates the company’s
vision and goals are well communicated,
and that managers feel they understand
organizational values. When managers
disagree over what the company’s
perceived actions would be, side effects
Loss of morale
Feeling that the company doesn’t listen
to alternative viewpoints
Feeling that the individual’s
contributions to the company are not
Confusion or surprise at corporate
Quantitative Analysis
The research team designed a survey
to measure how managers at the client
organization utilized organizational frames
and how they perceived the company
would utilize the frames. Presenting
hypothetical scenarios, we asked the
managers to choose among four possible
responses, each choice representing a
frame preference. They were also asked
to identify the choice they believed the
company would make. It was possible to
make the same choice for the company as
one did for oneself. For the purpose of this
survey, the validity of the questions was not
Conducted through SurveyMonkey.
com, requests for participation were sent
Figure 1
2Framing Change: A New Approach to Change Management Analysis
to 130 managers, senior managers, vice
presidents, and executives. We received
72 responses.
Qualitative Analysis
Following administration of the
quantitative survey, 13 respondents were
chosen to participate in a one-hour
interview. Managers, senior managers and
directors were interviewed. Each interview
began with a description of how each of
the four frames applies to organizations,
along with a short question and answer
period to resolve any outstanding questions
from the interviewee. The interviewer then
encouraged the interviewee to discuss
specic change initiatives and identify
which frames were most actively in
use at the time. Interviewers and inter-
viewees also discussed potential issues
resulting from over- or under-use of
specic frames.
Survey results were used to report to
the interviewees which frame preferences
they had chosen. The interviewee was
given an opportunity to agree with and/or
discuss the results. This process allowed
the interviewee to relate his individual
experiences to his preferences.
Research Results
Quantitative Results
Survey results indicated a marked
difference between individual frame
choice and the perceived company choice.
Although there was some variance in this
difference depending on the organizational
level of the respondent, overall the
respondents chose different frames for
the company than they did for themselves
more than 50 percent of the time.
The juxtaposition of personal
preferences to perceived company
preferences provides two data points that
can be graphed. Data pairs are determined
by standard deviation of each of the scales.
The personal preference scale is inverted
compared to the perceived company
preference scale, with lower numbers
represented towards the top of the scale.
The data pairs are converted from raw
numbers into percentages in order to arrive
at a standard deviation ranging between
0 and 50.
The company’s results were as follows:
Personal preferences returned a standard
deviation of 7.55. Perceived company
preferences returned a standard deviation
of 8.34. Using these numbers, the
alignment graph looks like Figure 2.
Individual frame preferences indicated
that the organization was strongly
politically oriented, while weakly symbolic
(see Figure 3).
Individuals showed no more than
50% alignment with perceived company
preference, while deviating as much as 75%
at the senior executive level (see Figure 4).
Qualitative Results
Thirteen interviews were conducted
after the survey results were received.
Figure 2
Figure 3: Frame Preference: Individual Figure 4: Individual vs. Company Alignment by Organizational Level
OD PRACTITIONER Vol. 41 No. 1 200928
Interviewees ranged in level from senior
executives to individual contributors.
Overall, references to the symbolic
frame were discussed positively, but
communication was overwhelmingly
discussed negatively. Structural issues were
mentioned as often negatively as positively,
indicating disagreement among the
interviewees regarding the organization’s
current state of health. Negative issues
regarding company strategy and execution
came up in several interviews. One
respondent indicated that employees
experienced low morale because several
change initiatives had failed or oundered.
When execution or long-term strategy was
discussed it was usually negatively viewed.
Five respondents raised cultural
issues. Concerns included language
barriers, time zone differences, and
physical separation. One respondent
indicated that the lack of a vision and
mission statement created issues in
maintaining focus and direction.
Whether implicitly or explicitly mentioned,
trust issues emerged in relation to the
rm’s ability to execute change initiatives.
One respondent said, “We have failed on
so many change initiatives that we have a
credibility problem,” indicating pervasive
communication issues, resulting from a
weak cultural focus and over-reliance on
ineffective structural channels to solve
Echoing the trust issue, another
respondent noted confusion regarding
compensation practices: multiple corporate
communications had indicated different
dates that merit raises would occur,
and most of those dates passed without
action. Other respondents also used this
incident to illustrate mistrust of formal
communication channels.
One respondent said that some company
news was only communicated via the
“grapevine.” He related that the departure
of a senior manager was only announced
after an email had been sent regarding a
going-away party, resulting in confusion,
dismay, and reduced trust of leadership.
Confusion and structural upheaval
from recent changes were indicated in the
interviews. One interviewee commented,
“There are a lot of new people, old people,
a new management team, a new direction,
and things that are not communicated
well.” This manager predicted that this
opinion would be reected in the other
In particular, managers who only
utilize a single frame often experienced
communication problems. One
predominantly structural manager
indicated frustration over her inability
to communicate with a peer whose
preferred frame was HR. She indicated
she would prefer to address the issue
utilizing a “more structured format, rather
than the grapevine.” The “grapevine,”
or political communication network, is
likely a persistent cultural artifact from
repeated restructuring which disrupted
formal communication channels.
Interviewees expressed concern that this
informal network had replaced formal
communication channels, sometimes
with negative results. This indicates an
underlying prevalence of the political
Political Frame Use
While the quantitative and qualitative
research showed a strong individual
preference for the political frame,
interviewees often did not recognize
this, rendering it an “unconscious” or
unrecognized frame. One manager related
that new managers (with the company for
less than a year) were more likely to favor
structural solutions but as they adapted to
the culture they become more focused on
the political “path of least resistance” for
getting work done expeditiously.
One manager indicated a personal
preference for the structural frame, but
his interview revealed that he spent a
great deal of time focusing on building
inter-departmental alliances to accomplish
his goals. This is a positive use of the
political frame; an example of creation
and use of the trust network noted by
Krackhardt and Hanson (1993). He noted
that while he nds the structural aspect
of the organization to be functional, he
often relies on informal communication,
indicating a weak or blocked structural
One of the more striking results of
the survey data is the bell-shaped curve
of alignment in the managerial ranks
(see Figure 4). One could expect that the
closer the respondent is to the top of
the management chain, the more likely
his personal preference will align with
company preferences. However, while
line managers through directors showed
a steady increase in alignment, the trend
then reverses, showing lower alignment
for executives. This trend indicates a lack
of agreement at the executive level on
company values and vision, and is reected
in the interviewee comments regarding
poor communication.
Personal frame preferences
measurements yielded relatively diverse
results (Figure 2). In accordance with
research regarding Jungian personality
One could expect that the closer the respondent is to the
top of the management chain, the more likely his personal
preference will align with company preferences. However, while
line managers through directors showed a steady increase in
alignment, the trend then reverses, showing lower alignment
for executives. This trend indicates a lack of agreement at the
executive level on company values and vision, and is reected
in the interviewee comments regarding poor communication.
29Framing Change: A New Approach to Change Management Analysis
types, diverse individual frame preference
is desirable. However, interview data
supports our hypothesis that lack of
agreement on company frame preference
indicates a systemic communication
problem. Survey results showed a relatively
even spread of perceived company
preferences among three of the four
frames, indicating a lack of alignment in
perception of how the company would
prefer managers to address issues. While
diversity in individual frame preference
is healthy and preferred, disagreement
on company frame preference indicates
confusion about organizational vision,
values, and goals.
Repeatedly, interviewees commented
on communication issues, including lack of
communication, incorrect communication,
or late communication. Issues were also
noted with communication style; some
respondents preferred more personal
forms of communication such as town hall
meetings, while others were satised with
Poor communications may be a
surface level issue that denotes deeper
problems, including:
Lack of a common understanding of
Insufcient planning
Lack of trust
Few interview subjects engaged all four
organizational frames, tending to rely on
only one or two -- usually political or HR.
While the respondents found the concept
of frames intuitive and understandable,
they were unsure about how to use all four
Interviewees expressed a need
for improved structure and clearer
communication, while indicating that
political alliances and channels were more
effective in the current culture. They did
not recognize that manager effectiveness
was limited by informal power structures,
which inhibited open communication
within the existing structure and blocked
change and leadership effectiveness.
To illustrate, a strong political alliance
of middle managers can control the
managing executive’s impression of the
effectiveness of their unit (regardless of
the reality) by controlling his perception
and limiting access to information. While
the political network may have developed
to “get the job done” during periods of
management change, layoffs and cutbacks,
these same alliances may then inhibit
progress by cutting off communication
channels for those not enmeshed in the
political network.
The symbolic frame was the least
chosen in both the individual and perceived
company frame preferences, while a lack
of cohesive organizational culture surfaced
in the interviews. The lack of a “common
language” impedes this strongly diverse
work force from realizing their
full potential as innovators. The weak
corporate culture is a contributing factor
to poor communication and low levels of
trust, and the lack of clearly stated vision
and values impedes managers’ abilities to
collaborate effectively towards common
Generally, the management team
seemed focused on short-term goals driven
by quarterly cycles. This is not unexpected
in an environment that has seen frequent
layoffs and management change. However,
the Research and Development leadership,
perhaps due to a departmental cultural
difference relating to its product-oriented
focus, showed a longer-term orientation
that more actively utilized all four frames.
This department exhibited many of
the traits and characteristics consistent
with a trusting environment, resulting
in successful implementation of large-
scale structural and process changes.
Department leadership provided consistent
communications, clear objectives, and
regularly inspected and adjusted efforts to
ensure goals were met, demonstrating high
levels of employee trust.
In contrast, several other groups
showed poor long-term planning
affecting morale, alliance, structure and
leadership. Lack of long-term planning is
demonstrated in negative political frame
use. For example, when managers hoard
information or create exclusionary groups
that create barriers to employee promotion
and development. Management’s
unconscious use of the political frame
may be inhibiting long-term growth and
The results of the management survey
and interviews reect fractures in the
corporate culture. More than 50 percent
of managers surveyed indicated that
their response to a hypothetical scenario
would be different from the company’s
response. Furthermore, there was no
broad agreement on what the company’s
response would be to a given scenario.
Although the managers are motivated to
succeed, the company does not behave
as a team. Repeated layoffs and
reorganizations have reduced trust
within the organization. Change in a
healthy, adaptive organization is inhibited
when trust is lacking. Lack of trust surfaces
in symptomatic behavior such as poor
communication, poor execution, and
high turnover. However, high levels of
employee diversity and commitment
greatly improve its chances of overcoming
these challenges.
Although the managers are motivated to succeed, the
company does not behave as a team. Repeated layoffs and
reorganizations have reduced trust within the organization.
Change in a healthy, adaptive organization is inhibited when
trust is lacking. Lack of trust surfaces in symptomatic behavior
such as poor communication, poor execution, and high turnover.
However, high levels of employee diversity and commitment
greatly improve its chances of overcoming these challenges.
OD PRACTITIONER Vol. 41 No. 1 200930
Future Implications
The frame-based tools developed for
this project help organizations face
development challenges. Frames act
as a lens through which researchers
and consultants can view recurring
issues to identify underlying causes and
cultural artifacts that might otherwise
be undetectable to those enmeshed in
the corporate culture and operations.
Recommendations can be specically
targeted to address core issues currently
inhibiting organizational development,
while minimizing disruption, and
conserving resources. These techniques
will prove even more valuable when
applied to a larger group of employees,
representing all levels, departments and
regions. Expanding this research to include
multiple companies will yield further
insight into correlations between individual
and group frame preference across varying
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Carol Howard, MBA, MSOLE, is a partner at DiaMind Consulting and is Vice
President of Human Resources at an Austin, Texas software company. With
more than 15 years of experience in human resources, she specializes in
developing strategic and tactical plans, aligning HR activities to business
goals and guiding leaders in organizational change. She holds an MBA from
St. Edward’s University, and a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership
and Ethics. Carol can be reached at
Karl Logue, MSOLE, is a partner at DiaMind Consulting, an organization
development consultancy. Karl is one of the developers of the DiaMind
Organizational Facets methodology. He is a certied Myers-Briggs
administrator, helping non-prots boards become more functional
through type diversity awareness. Karl holds a Master of Science in
Organizational Leadership from St. Edward’s University. Karl can be
reached at
Michelann Quimby, MM, MSOLE, is CEO of DiaMind Consulting and a 12-
year veteran of the interactive marketing industry. She specializes in helping
entrepreneurs and small businesses identify and align values, vision, and
strategy with stakeholder needs. Michelann has published on the topic of
international business ethics. She holds a Master of Music from San Francisco
Conservatory of Music and a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership
and Ethics from St. Edwards University. Michelann can be reached at
Jeff Schoeneberg, MBA, MSOLE, is a partner at DiaMind Consulting, and
is Human Resources Director at a software company in Austin, Texas. Jeff’s
expertise extends to recruiting, eld support, organization development,
compensation and benets, and HR systems. Jeff holds an MBA from the
University of Texas at Austin, and a Master of Science in Organizational
Leadership and Ethics from St. Edward’s University. Jeff can be reached at
Copyright © 2009 by the Organization Development Network, Inc. All rights reserved.
31Framing Change: A New Approach to Change Management Analysis
... Uncertainty and ambiguity often accompany change (Adams, 2003;Howard, Logue, Quimby, & Schoeneberg, 2009). Data about the BDLO frames can be used to give an indication of how well equipped an individual is for managing change since the use of multiple frames provides a system-wide perspective from which to respond. ...
Given the rapid changes that 21st century museums must manage, flexible thinking about leadership forms and purposes is needed. Today's complex leadership landscape necessitates that staff engage in enacting leadership with positional leaders. Limited empirical literature exists that describes how the next generation of museum leaders is being nurtured and developed. The purpose of this study was to: describe museum professionals' perceptions of leadership practices; investigate museums as sites of organizational and leadership learning; and consider the experiences of museum professionals who have participated in leader development programs. The study involved an on-line survey with 310 professionals working in U.S. museums and follow-up interviews with a subset of 13 survey participants. Bolman and Deal's (1990) Leadership Orientations Inventory (BDLO) was used to assess museum leadership practices; Marsick and Watkins (1999) 21-item version Dimensions of a Learning Organization Questionnaire (DLOQ-A) was used to assess supports for learning in the museum. Findings based on bivariate correlation and multiple regression analysis show a significant relationship between ratings for leadership effectiveness at the department and organization levels and scores on the BDLO and the DLOQ-A. While leadership effectiveness at both levels tended to be positive, over 60% of middle and non-managers did not perceive their museum’s leadership as mastering any of the BDLO Leadership Orientations Inventory frames. Statistically significant differences in the perception of museums as learning organizations were found with decreasing support from senior managers to middle managers to non-managers. With regard to learning leadership, findings indicate that the DLOQ-A Strategic Leadership for Learning dimension, Organization Support, and Peer Support are important for facilitating continued learning and application of new knowledge and skills derived from leader development programs. Finally, most leader development program participants indicated that they were immediately able to apply some skills learned; however sustaining incorporation of new knowledge was difficult. Implications for museum professionals, leader development program providers, museum studies programs, leadership and change, and future research are discussed. A digital introduction accompanies this dissertation. This dissertation is accessible at:
Strategists must manage a number of factors when executing strategy. One of the most important of these is organizational culture. And to successfully manage organizational culture, strategists must manage cultural artifacts. Cultural artifacts include myths and sagas about company successes and the heroes and heroines within the company; language systems and metaphors; rituals, ceremonies, and symbols; certain physical attributes such as the use of space, interior and exterior design, and equipment; and the defining values and norms. In managing execution by managing culture, strategists usually think in terms of managing values and norms. But as it turns out, if they don't also manage existing cultural artifacts, then they build in barriers to failure. Why? Because existing cultural artifacts support the old strategy not the new one. To be successful, strategists must create new cultural artifacts or modify the existing ones so that they support the new strategy. This article uses the case of the successful turnaround at Continental Airlines to demonstrate precisely how managing cultural artifacts enhances strategy execution.
A glance at an organizational chart can show who's the boss and who reports to whom. But this formal chart won't reveal which people confer on technical matters or discuss office politics over lunch. Much of the real work in any company gets done through this informal organization with its complex networks of relationships that cross functions and divisions. According to consultants David Krackhardt and Jeffrey Hanson, managers can harness the true power in their companies by diagramming three types of networks: the advice network, which reveals the people to whom others turn to get work done; the trust network, which uncovers who shares delicate information; and the communication network, which shows who talks about work-related matters. Using employee questionnaires, managers can generate network maps that will get to the root of many organizational problems. When a task force in a computer company, for example, was not achieving its goals, the CEO turned to network maps to find out why. He discovered that the task force leader was central in the advice network but marginal in the trust network. Task force members did not believe he would look out for their interests, so the CEO used the trust map to find someone to share responsibility for the group. And when a bank manager saw in the network map that there was little communication between tellers and supervisors, he looked for ways to foster interaction among employees of all levels. As companies continue to flatten and rely on teams, managers must rely less on their authority and more on understanding these informal networks. Managers who can use maps to identify, leverage, and revamp informal networks will have the key to success.
After the Asian financial crisis, companies are now contending with the current global economic slowdown. Whether it is at the national, industry or organizational levels, restructuring has gained currency as a strategic decision to realign internal structure with changing macro environmental factors. Faced with more competitive markets and greater demands on costs controls, organizations and businesses are taking the fast track to cost-cutting by downsizing, reorganizing their divisions, streamlining their operations, and closing down unprofitable divisions. Changes that are introduced in an organizational restructuring will affect the socio-psychological well-being of organization members given the potential for uncertainty that may accompany such changes. There is a need to better understand the consequences of organizational restructuring and consider some of its potential side effects on the work environment. Employees in a post-restructuring context are understandably wary about the future direction of the organization and their roles within it. This study is an attempt to examine the social-psychological impact of organizational restructuring on trust and work satisfaction. Additionally the inter-relationships between trust and work satisfaction, including their antecedents in the work environment are examined. Trust and work satisfaction levels were tracked before and three months after organizational restructuring for varying types of changes that were initiated during the restructuring. Both trust and satisfaction with working in the organization declined significantly when compared to pre-restructuring levels. Independent t-tests analysis indicated that there was a significant decline in trust for the work group which had a newly hired manager and a change in work processes. Results showed that there was a negative relationship between both work satisfaction and trust with the extent of change required of employees. The findings also showed that there was a positive relationship between trust and work satisfaction and that trust contributed to work satisfaction. Perception of colleagues’ willingness to help solve job-related problems contributed significantly to strengthening of trust relations among colleagues. Additionally, colleagues and supervisor’s willingness to listen to employee problems contributed significantly to work satisfaction. Results of the study highlighted the need for strategic decision-makers to consider the social impact of organizational restructuring. Top managers must realize that both trust and work satisfaction are important ingredients for the effective functioning of an organization and to actively ensure that support systems or structures are adequate and available to mitigate the negative impact, particularly if the changes to be implemented are extensive.
Double-loop learning. Blackwell Encyclopedic Dictionary of Organizational Behavior
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Guest Editor's Note: Investigating Organizational Downsizing-Fundamental Issues. Human Resource Management
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Home Depot's blueprint for structural change
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Culture shock at Home Depot. Chain Store Age
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