Organizational and Management Theories Essay

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Organizational and Management Theories


The purpose of this paper is to explain why reframing can be so important to a business. In today’s world, businesses must stay on top of the competition and in touch with the ever-changing world of technology. Over time, a business can become stagnant, may be running on cruise-control or run out of new ideas. Sales may even start to slip with new competition affecting the bottom line. Initially a business is organized and it begins to function on a structural level that works for the business. In time, minds can become hard-wired to continue to function within that initial frame; however, framing is simply a concept. It can be changed by altering the conceptual and emotional setting or viewpoint of the business. Reframing allows a business to break free from the limits of the original frame. The business first assesses its operations via multiple outlooks and frames. There are four common frames used to analyze operations and those include the Structural Frame, the Human Resource Frame, Political Frame, and the Symbolic Frame. Each frame has its own emphasis and key concepts and each will be further explained in this paper.

Vision 2011

Organizations are complex entities. There are many factors that make organizational life complicated, ambiguous, and unpredictable. “The biggest challenge for managers and leaders is to find the right way to frame our organizations in a world that has become more global, competitive, and turbulent (Stadtlander, n.d.) Organizational framing is a theory in which the management of a business assesses its operation via multiple outlooks.

The ability for a leader to make sense of the complex and ambiguous work world depends on the mental models or “frames” applied to the task (DeGrosky, 2011). A frame “is a mental model-a set of ideas and assumptions-that you carry in your head to help you understand and negotiate a particular “territory” (Bolman & Deal, 2008, p. 11). It helps managers understand the situation at hand so they are able to make decisions. There are different angles for managers to consider while making decisions in their organizations. Each angle gives the manager a different view of the situation and helps them capture what is actually going on.

The Four Frames

Bolman and Deal (2008) developed an organizational theory that consists of four frames. The organizational theory “prescribes a multi-dimensional or multi-frame approach in understanding the attributes and situational contexts of organizational behavior” (Thompson, n.d.). The four frames are: Structural, Human Resource, Political, and Symbolic.

Structural Frame

“The structural frame is the view that an organization is a “factory” or a “machine”. “The structural frame depicts a rational world and emphasizes organizational architecture, including goals, structure, technology, specialized roles, coordination, and formal relationships” (Bolman & Deal, 2008). It defines the responsibilities of each position and the relationships between them. Six assumptions undergird the structural frame: 1. Organizations exist to achieve established goals and objectives.

2. Organizations increase efficiency and enhance performance through specialization and appropriate division of labor. 3. Suitable forms of coordination and control ensure that diverse efforts of individuals and units mesh. 4. Organizations work best when rationality prevails over personal agendas and extraneous pressures. 5. Structures must be designed to fit an organization’s current circumstances (including its goals, technology, workforce, and environment). 6. Problems arise and performance suffers from structural deficiencies, which can be remedied through analysis and restructuring.

Human Resource Frame

“The human resource frame centers on what organizations and people do to and for one another” (Bolman & Deal, 2008, p. 117). It focuses on the individuals that work in an organization and their skills, attitudes, energy, and commitment. The human resource frame is built on core assumptions that highlight the following linkages: * Organizations exist to serve human needs rather than the converse. * People and organizations need each other. Organizations need ideas, energy, and talent; people need careers, salaries, and opportunities. * When the fit between individual and system is poor, one or both suffer. Individuals are exploited or exploit the organization-or both become victims. * A good fit benefits both. Individuals find meaningful and satisfying work, and organizations get the talent and energy they need to succeed. (Bolman & Deal, 2008, p. 122).

Political Frame

“The political frame views organizations as roiling arenas hosting ongoing contests of individual and group interests” (Bolman & Deal, 2008, p. 194). Politics occurs because employees are trying to obtain power. The individuals with the most power will be the individuals that will get want they want. There are five propositions to summarize this frame: 1. Organizations are coalitions of assorted individuals and interest groups. 2. Coalition members have enduring differences in values, beliefs, information, interests, and perceptions of reality. 3. Most important decisions involve allocating scarce resources-who gets what. 4. Scarce resources and enduring differences put conflict at the center of day-to day dynamics and make power the most important asset. 5. Goals and decisions emerge from bargaining and negotiation among competing stakeholders jockeying for their own interests. (Bolman & Deal, 2008, p. 194-195).

Symbolic Frame

The symbolic frame “views an organization as a tribe or nation” (Henderson, 2011). It helps to give employees a meaning to their work. There is a traditional way of completing tasks. It is the way that an organization forms its culture. The organizational culture shows the internal (employees) and external (customers & stakeholders) how the company wants to be perceived. The symbolic frame distills ideas from diverse sources into five suppositions: * What is most important is not what happens but what it means.

* Activity and meaning are loosely coupled; events and actions have multiple interpretations as people experience life differently. * Facing uncertainty and ambiguity, people create symbols to resolve confusion, find direction, and anchor hope and faith. * Events and processes are often more important for what is expressed than for what is produced. Their emblematic form weaves a tapestry of secular myths, heroes and heroines, rituals, ceremonies, and stories to help people find purpose and passion. * Culture forms the superglue that bonds an organization, unites people, and helps an enterprise accomplish desired ends. (Bolman & Deal, 2008, p. 253).


Steve Jacobs worked as an engineer in the US Army. After serving for 15 years he retired and he started a small workshop that manufactured parts for industrial boilers. The company was called Steve Jacobs Engineering however with the growth he changed it to Steve Jacobs Engineering LLC. From the start hard work and luck seem to have paid off and over the years the company continued to grow in capital and production. By the time his great grandson Martin Jacobs took over the company in 2007 as the CEO the company had 2200 employees and an annual turnover of $3.2 billion. An engineering graduate with an MBA, he had worked in the company during his student days and was concerned about the company and its tread based on the changing business environment.

Despite the growth in capital, labor force, market and profits the company had outdated management systems that made it venerable to a crisis in a changing business environment. Martin Jacobs spent his first year as CEO identifying the challenges being faced by the organization. He figures he need to change the * Structure of the organization to make it more decentralized and open where employees can share ideas within divisions and ranks. The old system was based on a top down system that he believes cannot be sustained. * Groupings in the organization based on position, skills, age and department * Training, motivation and compensation of the workforce is not in sync with current economy * Technology which is outdated

* “Way things are being done now”

Martin Jacobs ponders on these changes and as he contemplates on how to roll them out the United States Congress, in their infinite wisdom and pressures of the global economy has elected to change the formal U.S. weights and measures standards to the metric system, effective by 2010. Changing into metric system will be good for the company and the country as all the exported goods have to be labeled in metric system or they will not sell. For the CEO Steve Jacobs Engineering has to change the way it operates or it will not survive. This provides an opportunity for him not only to change the metrics system but the entire operations of the company.

Analysis of Theories being used

Maslow’s hierarchy of need-people are motivated by a variety of wants, some more fundamental than others. (Human Resource Frame). * Basic needs for physical well-being and safety are “prepotent; they have to be satisfied first. Once lower needs are fulfilled, individuals are motivated by social needs and ego needs. At the top of the hierarchy is self-actualization. * When changes occur in organizations, people become fearful of the new changes and the unknown of the future. * Managers need to decrease this fear by providing employees with psychological support and training to help them overcome this fear. When this fear is overcome; they can move up in the hierarchy of needs and take a step closer to reaching self-actualization-developing to one’s fullest and actualizing one’s ultimate potential. *Andrew will be writing the analysis once everyone has provided their root theories.

Academic Literature Review

Needs to include at least 5 peer-reviewed journal sources.

1. de Jager, P. (2001). Resistance to change: A new view of an old problem. The Futurist, 35 (3), 24-27. Retrieved from 2. Tan, N. (2005). Maximising Human Resource Potential in the Midst of Organizational Change. SingaporeManagement Review, 27(2), 25-35. Retrieved from: 3. Sigler, K. J. (1999). Challenges of employee retention. Management Research Review, 22(10), 1-5. Retrieved from

Comprehensive Business Literature Review
1. Case Studies
2. News Reports
3. Service Offerings.
Predictions of Major Challenges
Structural Frame

The Structural Frame emphasizes goals, specialized roles, and formal relationships; this frame can be used to organize and structure groups and teams to get results and fit an organization’s environment and technology.

The process of organization design matches people, information, and technology to the purpose, vision, and strategy of the organization. Structure is designed to enhance communication and information flow among people. Systems are designed to encourage individual responsibility and decision making. Technology is used to enhance human capabilities to accomplish meaningful work. The end product is an integrated system of people and resources, tailored to the specific direction of the organization.

Good organizational design helps communications, productivity, and innovation. It creates an environment where people can work effectively. The fundamental responsibility of managers and leaders is to clarify organizational goals, to attend to the relationship between structure and environment, and to develop a structure that is clear and appropriate to the goals, the task, and the environment. Without such a structure, people become unsure about what they are supposed to be doing. The result is confusion, frustration, and conflict. In an effective organization, individuals are clear about their responsibilities and their contribution. Policies, linkages, and lines of authority are well-defined. When an organization has the right structure and people understand it, the organization can achieve its goals and individuals can be effective in their roles.

Major challenges:

* Lack of structural design to enhance communication and information flow among people. * Outdated technology to enhance human capabilities to accomplish meaningful work.

Human Resource Frame

The human resource frame “highlights the relationship between people and organizations” (Bolman & Deal, 2008, p. 137). “It includes people’s skills, attitudes, energy, commitment and relationships as fundamental resources of organizations” (DeGrosky, 2011). During times of change, managers need to consider the effects the changes will have on the workforce. If the changes that occur do not align with the employee’s needs and wants; it could cause negative impacts on the organization. Managers need to understand that whenever changes occur; resistance will happen. “Resistance is simply a very effective, very powerful, very useful survival mechanism (de Jager, 2001).

Employees question the reasons things need to change when they have worked in the past or are currently working. Losing employees that resist the change process is one of the biggest risks in managing business change. The employees that make the greatest contribution to your business are usually heavily invested in their role and your business operations. Often these employees are the most challenged by change process. “Research has shown organizational change to be a primary cause of stress. Because of the feelings of uncertainty, insecurity, and threat that it invokes” (Tan, 2005). Organizations that have employees that are overly stressed or burned out have more cases of absenteeism, lower productivity, lower job satisfaction, and low morale.

Major challenges:

* Resistance to change due to not being involved in the change decisions and/or implementation process; and fear of having to learn something new * Retaining employees through the changes
* Increased stress on employees

Political Frame

Bowman and Deal (B & D) describe organizations as “living, screaming political arenas that host a complex web of individual and group interests.” (2008, p. 194). Organizations comprise groups of people from diverse background with different beliefs, preferences, experiences and ideals. Organizations have goals to achieve and they hire people from diverse backgrounds to help them achieve them. On the other hand people come into organizations with their own expectations and desires which they expect to be fulfilled within the organization. Individuals in the organization join groups that will advance their agendas or that share their ideas and desires.

Due to scarce resources and differences in the organization conflicts erupts among different groups. To access more resources each group tries to use its power and skills to influence decisions that work to their advantage. However, the goal of the leaders is to bring different groups of people together and ensure they work together as a team in order to achieve organization goals. Leaders are the guardians of the organizations and its goals. Therefore they result to negotiations, bargaining and discussions with different groups to ensure despite their differences they are able to work together. Major Challenges

* Divisions among groups that may affect productivity
* Union resistance to changes arising from new metrics systems for fear of job loss
* Inability of leaders to negotiate, bargain and jockey with different groups * Retraining of employees on the new metrics system may further divide the old and younger employees

Symbolic Frame

The Symbolic Frame describes the organizational culture, the rituals, the ceremonies; all the symbols and heroes that help us make meaning of organizational events and activities (Bolman & Deal 2008). In the symbolic frame, people judge organizations primarily by their appearance. It is in this frame that organizations create the image that is expected of them, reassure their constituencies, and generate support for their missions.

The symbolic frame can offer insight into fundamental issues of meaning and belief within an organization and bring employees together if the leader is effective. Symbolic leaders are able to interpret experience and in that interpretation, they can bring meaning and purpose. Leaders of this type need to look for something visible and dramatic to signal that change is on the way. A key function of symbolic leadership is to offer plausible and hopeful interpretations of experience. An effective leader is able to do this is by painting a vision, a hopeful image of the future. The vision addresses both the challenges and the hopes and values of its followers. When employees are confused or uncertain in times of change, they seek hope and direction – this is where a symbolic leader can bring people together and succeed. Symbolic leaders can create the vision – and then they can persuade others to follow it.

Symbolic leaders tell stories. A successful way to do this is to embed their vision in a mythical story. A story that tells where the company has been, where it is, and where it is going in the future or looking back at the history of the company and the employees and what has brought you this far already. These types of stories will succeed because people want to believe them and it makes it personal. Even a flawed story will work if the leader is persuasive in the values and hopes of the listeners. Good stories and a genuine personal touch reflect the power and the danger of symbolic leadership. Power is positive in the right hands but power in the wrong hands, can create devastation (2004).

Major challenges include:

* Afraid of the changes and the impact it will have on their jobs * Can I learn the new ways-what if I can’t? * The symbolic leader may fail to find symbols, rituals or hero’s that can bring the listeners together * The symbolic leader may fail at finding and incorporating humor and play at work to ease tensions during the times of change * The organization’s culture is not well aligned with the challenges the organization faces or the organizations symbols and customs lose meaning Assessments on How to Resolve Challenges

Structural Frame

Lack of structural design to enhance communication and information flow among people. The job of managers and leaders is to focus on task, facts, and logic, not personality and emotions. Most “people” problems really stem from structural flaws rather than from flaws in individuals. Structural managers and leaders are not necessarily authoritarian and do not necessarily solve every problem by issuing orders. Instead, they try to design and implement a process or structure appropriate to the problem and the circumstances. A structural scenario casts managers and leaders in fundamental roles of clarifying goals, attending to the relationship between structure and environment, and developing a structure that is clear to everyone and appropriate to what needs to be done.

This is a structural design to enhance communication and information flow among people. Without a workable structure, people become unsure about what they are supposed to be doing. The result is confusion, frustration, and conflict. In an effective organization, individuals are relatively clear about their responsibilities and their contribution to the mission. Policies, linkages, and lines of authority are straightforward and widely accepted. When you have the right structure, one that people understand, organizations can achieve goals and individuals can see their role in the big picture. Outdated technology to enhance human capabilities to accomplish meaningful work. Technology is about improving how we put our knowledge to work and increase our ability to produce valued results. Performance improvement continues to shape the future of many individuals and organizations around the world through learning, sharing, working together, and networking.

If recent assertions are to be believed, the pace of implementation of Information Technology (IT) within organizations would appear to be relentless and its scope pervasive, with extravagant claims made in terms of IT’s organizational benefits such as increased efficiency and higher levels of customer service. IT has also been said to facilitate the way in which information is processed, with the potential to change the way in which decision making is undertaken, and even to effect a shift in the nature and scope of activities undertaken by the business. For example, IT at least promises dramatic repercussions for the form and content of inter-organizational relationships as well as intra-organizational communication; the bases on which organizations compete; the means of production; the process of distribution and service support; indeed for almost every aspect of accepted organizational activity.

Human Resource Frame

Resistance to change.

The first challenge in the human resource frame that Martin Jacobs will need to face is resistance to change. Resistance to change can happen due to many reasons. Employees resist because they feel uninvolved and ignored. It is important to get employees involved either by letting them explore and provide some options in the decision-making process. When people are involved in the decision-making and/or implementation of changes, they feel more committed to it. (de Jager, 2001).

Another reason employees resist change is they fear having to learn something new. “It’s not that they disagree with the benefits of some new process; rather, they simply fear the unknown future and doubt their ability to adapt to it” (de Jager, 2001). This type of resistance can be overcome by creating an environment where learning is the norm. In this learning environment, “early failures of any learning endeavor are not frowned upon or punished, but are rewarded because failure is honored as evidence of effort (de Jager, 2001).

Retaining employees through the changes

The loss of talented employees may be very detrimental to the company’s future success. During times of change, outstanding employees may leave an organization because they become dissatisfied and/or feel unmotivated. Management can help keep employees by offering incentive pay, such as: cash bonuses and stock ownership.

Another way that this company can help retain employees during times of change is through increase job satisfaction. “Management can insure talented employees are given autonomy in their job functions and are given meaning meaningful assignments, allowing them to be involved in the decision making for their area of expertise” (Sigler, 1999). Other ways that can help increase job satisfaction are making sure that the working conditions are pleasant and offering employees training to ensure they know how to use the new metric system within their job positions.

Increased stress on employees

When employees are overly stressed, it could cause more cases of absenteeism, lower productivity, lower job satisfaction, and low morale. Managers can help relieve the stress employees feel during the change and maximize their human resource through the following: 1. Increase communication and disseminate adequate information about the change. 2. Create a supportive environment at the workplace.

3. Empower their employees to play a more active role in the implementation of change. (Tan, 2005).

Political Frame

Changing the company to metric system may elicit different opinions from different groups in the organization. New alliances will be formed between those who support the changes and those resistant to them. This will call for new bargaining and negotiations that may affect the morale and production. Union within the organization will seek assurances that the changes will not lead to layoffs and changes in benefits. Management assurance of availability of expanded market due changes may motivate the unions to negotiate. In their bargaining management must educate employees the benefit of being proactive in a changing economic environment.

The younger groups of employees who are more technologically advanced and curious may immediately embrace the changes. On the other hand older employees with more experience and dedication to the organization may feel threatened. This can strain relations between the groups. Careful planning will need to be implemented to ensure both groups embrace the change within workable differences. Managers will spend more time communicating changes and answering questions. This is important to prevent grapevine and rumors that may undermine the changes. Managers will be called upon to hold meetings with different groups to discuss progress and updates.

Symbolic Frame

Resolving the changes in the symbolic frame include finding a way to bring employees together using stories, symbols, rituals or finding hero’s that unite the group. The group is looking for hope, a role model, a history that shows they will get through this change. Simple actions can unite. Things such as sharing stories, talking to the group or individuals about positive attributes of the companies history, being positive yourself, recognizing the fears and concerns and reassuring, celebrating the things you can to bring the group together. A good visual that unites by telling a story without actually even being present is to put up bulletin boards, photos, birthday or anniversary lists…the pictures from last years Christmas party or picnic will bring the group together and offer support and reassurance for the coming year. It’s all about being able to inspire and create a vision.

The symbolic frame relates to the human needs theory but goes even beyond that by asserting that organizations are populated by people who strive for self-actualization through cooperative efforts.

Forecast of the Future Impact of the Recommended Changes

Structural Frame
*Waiting for Joe to provide his information.
Human Resource Frame (Topics discussing)
* Employees may need to be dismissed if their role becomes redundant after the change occurs.
* Attitudes may change in the workplace; this could cause a negative/positive work environment; low employee morale
* Decrease of productivity; costing the company money.

* Relationships grow stronger or weaken between management and the employees.
* Loss of talented employees

Political Frame (Topics discussing)

* New groups and alliances will emerge and some groups may be formed or eliminated * Union and management will have to compromise and failure to agree may result to strained relations or strikes * There will be intensive negotiations, bargaining and jockeying within the first one year until a balance is reached among different groups * There could emerge strained relationships between some technologically challenged and technologically savvy workers

Symbolic Frame

Changing from the formal U.S. weights and measures standards to the metric system will impact everyone at our company. The symbolic frame leads us to find a unifying them that will bond everyone together, a common ground to rally around. For this change in our company, we are going to go back to the beginning, what brought everyone to this company and the longevity of the company. * Afraid of the changes and the impact it will have on their jobs

Each employee has their own concerns and worries about this change. Am I too old to learn this is one concern along with what was wrong with the “old” way of doing things” This is where the symbolic leader must assure employees that there will be a learning curve for sure but everyone will be worked with to help them understand the new changes. * Can I learn the new ways-what if I can’t?

It will not be an overnight change and everyone will learn at their own pace. The organization is committed to the employees and their jobs are not on the line. * The symbolic leader may fail to find symbols, rituals or hero’s that can bring the listeners together

The symbolic leader will focus on the companies founder and how the company was able to make it to this point. All the years of commitment from the employees rallying around the company. The company will not turn their backs on the employees over this change but this will just be another challenge for us to all ALL overcome. And we will. * The symbolic leader may fail at finding and incorporating humor and play at work to ease tensions during the times of change

This is where the symbolic leader must find that unifying symbol. The founder of this company and his vision. The company was founded by the great-grandfather of the current CEO, back in the days when Henry Taylor and Scientific Management was all the rage. Today the company needs to keep up with the global economy and this is one way of assuring we are staying current and up-to-date. This will unify us with the world and allow us to go forward with our vision. Focus on the grandfather, father etc. – a family owned company and each employee is part of that family. * The organization’s culture is not well aligned with the challenges the organization faces or the organizations symbols and customs lose meaning

In this case with changing to the metric system, most employees will only fear the change as far as learning it and how it will affect their job. As long as the symbolic leader keeps this change in perspective as one small piece of the changes that have occurred over the history of the company, he will put this change into perspective for them. The symbols and customs will have meaning using the family company angle and how they are part of that


*Completed by Andrew once paper has been fully written.

Bolman, L.G. & Deal, T.E. (2008). Reframing organizations artistry, choice, and leadership. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass

Critical leadership skill: Multi-frame thinking. (2004, November). Wildfire Magazine, Retrieved from

DeGrosky, M. Wildfire. (2011). What Does This Viewpoint Suggest? Retrieved on December 3
2011 from: de Jager, P. (2001). Resistance to change: A new view of an old problem. The Futurist, 35 (3), 24-27. Retrieved from Henderson, KJ. (2011). Strategies on Reframing Change in Your Organization.

Retrieved on November 3, 2011 from:
Morgan, G. (1986). Images of organization. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications, Inc. Sigler, K. J. (1999). Challenges of employee retention. Management Research Review, 22(10),
1-5. Retrieved from Stadtlander, C.T.K.-H. (2007). Reframing Organizations: Artistry, Choice, and Leadership Book Review. Electronic Journal of Business Ethics and Organization Studies, 12(1). Retrieved from:

Tan, N. (2005). Maximising Human Resource Potential in the Midst of Organizational Change. Singapore Management Review, 27(2), 25-35. Retrieved

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