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

3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  637 ratings  ·  53 reviews
In this third edition of their best-selling classic, authors Lee Bolman and Terrence Deal explain the powerful tool of "reframing." The authors have distilled the organizational literature into a comprehensive approach for looking at situations from more than one angle. Their four frames view organizations as factories, families, jungles, and theaters or temples: The Struc ...more
Paperback, 484 pages
Published August 27th 2003 by Jossey-Bass (first published December 31st 1990)
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Sulaiman ALR
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
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
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
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
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
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
"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."
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
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
Anthony Hibbert
The philosophical foundation of my leadership style.
Trish Bodine
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
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
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.
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 4 of 5 stars
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.
A very interesting business book that provides different "frames" for understanding issues. It's academic and full of information. I just hope I can remember the important parts that I want to stick with me. For me, the human resource frame is the one that resonates. However, I think that being able to look at issues through each of the four frames presented adds a certain amount of value.
David Bunnell
This was one of the books assigned in my Organizational Leadership class for my doctroral program at UGA. It was the best of the books assigned to the course, the most readable, and the most applicable to practical use in the field. Every administrator, manager, and CEO needs to be familiar with the ideas of frames in organizations and the power of reframing to initiate change.
yeah, another grad school book... again, it is a pretty interesting and helpful to people that are thinking about moving from teaching to being a school leader or starting their own school. I had no idea about the various aspects of an organization and this book gave me a fram of reference to think about how i would bring a collaborative leadership style to a school.
Sheri Lehman
This book uses real-world, real-life examples for the reader to better understand concepts and content. If you're interested in learning more about reframing and reorganizing your organization, this is the book for you. The authors touch on hierarchy, culture, politics, and traditions - all important aspects to healthier, more-productive working environments.
Hey look what I'm reading. Aren't you jealous?? It is my required text for the class I'm taking this semester. Please feel sorry for me...I'm dying for one of my "good reads". Though, I will admit, for a text book, this book is not toooooo.... bad! But I would totally put so many book before this (Holly, we had this discussion Sat. night).
Selma Siahaan
I like this book very much. This book inspire me to see what is the lesson learn of one occasion, how people acting the way they are, how to gather people who have the same mission but acting in the different ways, etc. Very good for learning management concept and leadership especially how to manage people in the organization.
Awesome, awesome book for those who are in organizational consulting. The four frames are well illustrated by examples and case studies and the application is smart. I'd be interested to see how the authors rewrite some case examples like GM now with the impending bailout in their next edition.

Bolman and Deal continue to build on their multiframe model (structure, human resource, political, & symbolism) to show the way to more balanced leadership and organizational assessment. Best quote: "versatility in thinking that fosters flexibility in action" (p. 435).
This is a good introductory book on organizations and the frames through which they can be viewed. I would like to have seen a bit more theory integrated throughout, but the authors use examples from business, government, and education to appropriately illustrate key points.
Great advice if you're in a position to reorganize your organization. For those with little power, it gives good insight into how organizations survive or die depending on what tactics are implemented in the system. Other than that, it was a tedious book to read for class.
Deana Kay
This isn't a dry, data-sputtering, research-quoting text book. Don't get me wrong, it has all the good stuff in it, but it was actually joyful to read.I enjoyed the chapter beginnings which give real-world, interesting accounts of inspiring leadership experiences. :)
Aug 10, 2011 Miel added it
An excellent book for looking at things from different angles. It also highlights a great number of leadership authors that I've encountered during my masters studies in leadership - so it's good in terms of getting a good overview as well.
I found this book enormously helpful in thinking through organizational challenges. It is well-written and engaging, with many useful and up-to-date examples. Much more accessible than many academic business management books, IMHO.
This was an assigned text for an Organizational Theory class last semester, and it's actually a very applicable text. Easy to read and gives some great ideas/analyses of how leadership affects and organization.
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