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Reframing Organizations: Artistry, Choice, and Leadership
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Reframing Organizations: Artistry, Choice, and Leadership

3.84  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,248 Ratings  ·  77 Reviews
First published in 1984, Lee Bolman and Terrence Deal's best-selling book has become a classic in the field. Its four-frame model examines organizations as factories, families, jungles, and theaters or temples: The Structural Frame: how to organize and structure groups and teams to get results The Human Resource Frame: how to tailor organizations to satisfy human needs, im ...more
Paperback, 527 pages
Published August 1st 2008 by Jossey-Bass (first published December 31st 1990)
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Sulaiman ALR
Dec 12, 2010 Sulaiman ALR rated it really liked it
It is a great book that looks at the need to change your perception of things. It teaches you how to break your mental frames and construct new ones. It mainly talks about organizations, yet the techniques can be useful in personal life.

Although organizations start with a simple idea, they are complex and there is not one direct cause to a problem. People interpret different situations differently because there are different languages, different perspectives (frames), and different alternative w
Jul 29, 2012 Eric rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a great book not only because contains an extremely useful model to understand organizations but because in the process of explain how it works, summarizes many of the best business books on organizational behavior, change and leadership. So you are reading one book but referring to many other excellent literature on this topic as you advance.

The four frames (structural, human resources, political and symbolic) are a great resource to understand organizational "reality" from very differ
Feb 26, 2014 S rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a school text, however, it is a keeper. If you forget how to put things into perspective at work or in other organizations, this will help guide you to broaden your view.
Geir Skårland
Sep 01, 2015 Geir Skårland rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Danielle Gawronski
This is a great book for anyone in a leadership position. It is current with today's issues and industry. The book is presented in a more narrative style using relevant examples. This is not a technical how-to book, but rather a presentation of tools to help facilitate change, implement vision, and be a diverse leader.
Tara Brabazon
May 15, 2015 Tara Brabazon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Finally - finally - a good and effective book on leadership, management and organizational culture. This book is clear, but not simple. In fact, the book argues that simplifying concepts, ideas and theories is profoundly destructive for organizations.

Most powerfully, Bolman and Dean explain the reasons for the vertical and lateral configuration of organizations. They argue that the whole point of line management and committees - the death of individual innovation and imagination - is to crush in
Mar 14, 2013 Renee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of my grad school texts that I kept and still go back to. I find org theory fascinating, and likewise this book. It is accessible, interesting, and relevant to what we all do every day.
Ben Chapman
May 25, 2011 Ben Chapman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyed the #Leadership steps!
Wendy | Wensend
You can find this review, more reviews and other bookish things at

I had to read this non-fiction work by Bolman and Deal for a course I followed: Introduction to Governance and Organization. This book was used to explain the underlying principles of organization and the different point of views towards running and restructuring an organization. Though this is not my common area of interest (I had to do this course in order to get into the Masterprogram I would like to do next year),
Jason Evans
May 31, 2010 Jason Evans rated it really liked it
Why am I reading books on organizational theory and leadership? Well, the convenient answer is that they are required for a class at Fuller. But to be frank, I'm faced with leadership and organizational challenges in my work just like everyone else. Honestly, I was bit surprised at how helpful I found this one in particular. It's a whopper of a book at almost 500 pages long. But below I'd like to do my best to offer a review of this tome and how I found it beneficial to my work in Christian mini ...more
Thomas Hatton
Dec 15, 2015 Thomas Hatton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is one of my favorites. It takes a dense topic like organization theory and makes it into something very understandable, through well written case studies, excellent examples, and illuminating essays.
Valerie (He Said Books Or Me)
This book was one that we used during my Masters Degree program. Bohlman and Deal, thank you for changing how I think about the world. I loved the part about 'lenses' and how that it shapes how we see the world.
Jun 01, 2014 Matthew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: master-s-degree
I read this book as a part of my course requirements for my Masters of Education in School Administration.

This book gives a very good outline on how to conceive of organizations from multiple perspectives and to consider multiple solutions and alternatives to leadership challenges. I appreciated the detail and consistency throughout the book.

I especially appreciate Bolman and Deal's perspective that there is no surefire program to create perfect leaders, but rather that leading is an artistic en
Dec 11, 2014 J rated it it was amazing
Shelves: finished
"talk about taking your medicine. finished reading this phone book. mediocre at best. a bit outdated. superficial discussion on business ethics, stereotypical platitudes on the nurturing aspects of gendered (read: female) organizational leadership. puh-leez."
Mar 04, 2016 Andi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an excellent school text for a Human Relations course. The ideas were engaging and relatable. It is certainly not a leisure read, but worthwhile within the educational context.
Aug 19, 2015 Suesaroo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book - taking a look at all organizations across private and public sectors - this was part of my graduate program - class was introduction to educational administration
Craig Statucki
Just finished this for a leadership class. I did like the book except the case studies and examples are essentially ancient history in the business world.
Josh Belice
Reframing Organizations by Bolman and Deal is an easy read from start to finish. The two really did their homework in finding examples of many structural styles that go on mainly in the business world. Although I would recommend this book, I have two quams. The first is that there are not enough Disney references. When your main goal is to talk about the successful structure of business, Disney needs to be included. Second, Bolman and Deal reach with their examples, sometimes, attributing the fa ...more
Feb 21, 2012 McKenzie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first book I've read on organizational theory, and while I was skeptical, it does have some interesting insights. It goes through the four ways to view organizations or general issues: structural, human resource, political, or symbolic. Understanding the four frames and being able to "reframe" any situation to better understand what is really going on and how to solve problems can be very useful, especially for administrators/managers. I wouldn't recommend this as light reading, but ...more
May 16, 2015 Karla rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book places organizations within different structures and thus the leadership challenges are viewed accordingly.
ildo ndreka
Oct 24, 2015 ildo ndreka rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

A m a z I n g a n d s I m p l e . . . .
Anthony Hibbert
Sep 25, 2014 Anthony Hibbert rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The philosophical foundation of my leadership style.
Trish Bodine
Apr 06, 2013 Trish Bodine rated it really liked it
Even though this was a required text for AEL, I thought it was very good. The frames of organizations were well laid out and included examples. The writing was such that I interacted with the book. I could picture the frames in my school, and see the frames that were at play at previous organizations. While I have never thought of frames in my educational beliefs, I see where my values lay in those frames. I also see how the other frames influence how I feel and why I feel comfortable, valued, a ...more
May 07, 2009 Jeff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: leadership
Pretty good book. Seems like the authors fall into a long line of those wanting to create a catchphrase for leadership (i.e. Kouzes & Posner, Tichy, etc.).

The reframing concept is incredibly viable if one keeps in mind that the frames don't operate in a vacuum. They are related and affect one another. I especially enjoyed the last few chapters where the "act" of reframing was tied together.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in organizational cultures - leading, form
Dwight Walker
good analysis of organizational change
Excellent text. It provides background literature, evidence, and advice for looking at situations from four perspectives (structural, human resource, political, symbolic). Great for leaders to use when reframing an issue, problem, or change effort when feeling stuck or ineffective. The four frames offer tools and resources that can help. Supports my perspective of coaching and positive psychology that means using reframing to work around obstacles and remove barriers in order to achieve goals.
Nov 25, 2012 Harold rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Bolman & Deal take on organizational management Malcolm Gladwell-style, weaving in stories from fortune 500 companies, school systems and government agencies. Yet, they do so without any acknowledgement of the differing missions and goals of these distinct sectors. Moreover they show preference for the for-profit sector by assuming the audience's key concern is profit, utilizing for-profit examples much more often and generally being apologetic toward the ultimate 1%ers.
Dec 28, 2012 LaTisha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I read this book for my Administrative Class and thoroughly enjoyed it. I have been enlightened on how to see a problem in an organization through four different frames: structural, human resource, political and symbolic. The authors rewrite this book often which keeps the scenarios fresh and current. I do recommend this book for leaders in secular as well as spiritual organizations. I will definitely pick this one up again.
Fyreball Reed
Mar 03, 2013 Fyreball Reed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: students of conflict resolution and leadership
This was a textbook we used in the Abilene Christian University's Masters program in Conflict Resolution. Bolman & Deal do a great job helping you understand different frames of reference, including the political and symbolic. It's well laid out and written in every day language, making it easy for the non-student to appreciate its concepts. I have used the book to change how I lead my team and refer to it regularly.
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“Significance is built through the use of many expressive and symbolic forms: rituals, ceremonies, stories, and music. An organization without a rich symbolic life grows empty and barren. The magic of special occasions is vital in building significance into collective life. Moments of ecstasy are parentheses that mark life’s major passages. Without ritual and ceremony, transition remains incomplete, a clutter of comings and goings; “life becomes an endless set of Wednesdays” (Campbell, 1983, p. 5).” 0 likes
“Learning is relatively easy when the link between cause and effect is clear. But complex systems often sever that connection: causes remote from effects, solutions detached from problems, and feedback delayed or misleading (Cyert and March, 1963; Senge, 1990).” 0 likes
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