Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Reframing Organizations: Artistry, Choice, and Leadership” as Want to Read:
Reframing Organizations: Artistry, Choice, and Leadership
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Reframing Organizations: Artistry, Choice, and Leadership

3.86  ·  Rating Details ·  1,550 Ratings  ·  88 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 Struct
Paperback, 484 pages
Published August 27th 2003 by Jossey-Bass (first published December 31st 1990)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Sulaiman ALR
Dec 09, 2010 Sulaiman ALR rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 21, 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.
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.
Mar 14, 2013 Renee rated it really liked it
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
Feb 19, 2011 Ben Chapman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyed the #Leadership steps!
Jason Evans
May 26, 2010 Jason Evans rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 10, 2017 Nicole rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Textbook for Organizational Behavior - definitely a keeper. Easy to read and understand the four frames. Written with a business slant but easily applicable to public sector as well.
Dave Moyer
Thought provoking at times.
May 25, 2017 Simon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very dense, but it had excellent stories that made it quite entertaining.
EG Gilbert
Jan 02, 2017 EG Gilbert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"They gave us lousy jobs and pay, order us around --never telling us what is going on. Then they wonder why we don't love our work."

This was textbook for an Organizational Behavior course in grad school. Very solid resource. Some random notes (not a summary of the book):

When things go wrong, we: blame people, blame bureaucracy, blame thirst for power.

Four principles of successful structural change:
1. Study existing structure to understand what works and what doesn't.
2. Develop new conception of
Geir Skårland
Sep 01, 2015 Geir Skårland rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
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
Jan 16, 2012 McKenzie rated it really liked it
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
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.
Trish Bodine
Jan 05, 2013 Trish Bodine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 12, 2009 Jeff rated it really liked it
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
Apr 24, 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
Nov 25, 2012 Harold rated it it was ok
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.
Mar 03, 2013 Fyreball rated it really liked it
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.
Dec 28, 2012 LaTisha rated it really liked it
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.
Nic Calder
Aug 24, 2014 Nic Calder rated it it was amazing
This is one of my favorite texts from my MA. Bolman and Deal outline a logical framework for making sense of the complexity of organisational environments - and they do it in a way that, for me, catalyzes my creative energy. Refraining Organisations is a book that enlivens my passion for leadership and ultimately leaves me with hope, deeply rooted in reality. I'm reminded that change is not only possible, but inevitable and that the process can be quite beautiful, as leadership is often an art.
David Bunnell
Sep 05, 2007 David Bunnell rated it it was amazing
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.
Sep 21, 2009 Sandy rated it it was ok
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).
Dec 23, 2014 Kendra added it
Texas mythology intersects with corporate mythology: the Texas Supreme Court granted Southwest Airlines the right to fly after four years of legal wrangling, in 1971. A local sheriff's threat to halt flights under a court injunction prompted cofounder Herb Kelleher to say "You roll right over the son of a bitch and leave our tire tracks on his uniform if you have to."
Sheri Lehman
Jul 01, 2013 Sheri Lehman rated it really liked it
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.
Mar 22, 2009 Selma rated it really liked it
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.
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.
May 11, 2014 Paul rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very readable and a nice primer into organizational thinking and developmental theory. Its used in a lot of higher education settings for this reason and will help college and university administrators think about their settings in meaningful ways. However, if you are a higher education professional, please do not stop there. Move on to Schein, Birnbaum, and Bess & Dee.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • How Colleges Work: The Cybernetics of Academic Organization and Leadership
  • Organizational Culture and Leadership (The Jossey-Bass Business & Management Series)
  • Exploring Leadership: For College Students Who Want to Make a Difference
  • Leadership: Theory and Practice
  • The Leadership Challenge Workbook
  • Learning to Lead: A Workbook on Becoming a Leader
  • Student Development in College: Theory, Research, and Practice
  • Student Success in College: Creating Conditions That Matter
  • Leading in a Culture of Change
  • Leadership and the New Science: Discovering Order in a Chaotic World
  • Images of Organization
  • Strategic Planning for Public and Nonprofit Organizations: A Guide to Strengthening and Sustaining Organizational Achievement
  • A History of American Higher Education
  • The Adult Learner, Sixth Edition: The Definitive Classic in Adult Education and Human Resource Development
  • The Five Most Important Questions You Will Ever Ask about Your Organization: An Inspiring Tool for Organizations and the People Who Lead Them
  • Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive Through the Dangers of Leading
  • Classics of Organization Theory (with InfoTrac)
  • Leadership

Share This Book

“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
More quotes…