Biblical Studies & Life


Reframing Leadership Discussion

Yung Suk Kim

Two Dimensional Modeling / Leadership Training and Development (Useful Links)

Recommended book


Book: Bolman Lee, and Terrence Deal. Reframing Organizations. Second. Ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, Inc., 1997. (Amazon Book Review)

The following is taken from the following URL: (I see now it is broken link; retrieval of this material is about year 2002-3).





Chapter 17 presents a multiframe perspective on leadership. Though leadership is widely viewed as a cure-all, it is often misunderstood. The authors identify basic elements of leadership and distinguish it from related concepts of power, authority, and management. For Bolman and Deal, leadership is situational (dependent on organizational, environmental, and/or historical context), relational (a relationship between leader and followers), and distinct from position (not synonymous with authority or high position). It is a subtle process of mutual influence that fuses thought, feeling, and action to produce cooperative effort in the service of the purpose and values of both leader and followers. In their exploration of leadership, the authors describe research and popular approaches, such as the Managerial Grid and the Hersey/Blanchard situational leadership model. They also examine issues related to leadership and gender, addressing whether women lead differently from men and why they have had limited success in achieving the highest positions. Because leadership is complex, leaders need multiple frames. Each frame offers a different perspective on leadership, summarized in Table 17.3 of the text. The chapter explores in depth the skills and processes associated with leadership from each of the four perspectives.


Structural leadership. Little is written about structural leadership, probably because

structural theorists are often cynical about the concept. But the authors argue that structural leadership plays a decisive role in shaping organizations. It can be powerful and enduring, even if more subtle and less heroic than leadership based on other frames. Effective structural leaders are social architects who apply analytical and design skills to diagnose an organization’s needs and develop structural solutions. They need not be petty tyrants who manage by detail and fiat. Structural leaders are successful when they have the right answer for their organization and can get their answer accepted and implemented. Good structural leaders: (1) do their homework; (2) develop a new model of the relationship among structure, strategy, and

environment; (3) focus on implementation; (4) continually experiment, evaluate, and



Human resource leadership. Until recently, human resource conceptions of leadership have dominated the management literature. An effective human resource leader is a catalyst and facilitator who motivates and empowers subordinates. The impact of human resource leaders is based on talent, sensitivity, and service—not position or force. Effective human resource leaders use skill and artistry in helping people to accomplish extraordinary results. They build organizations that derive their success from a highly committed and productive work force. When they are ineffective, human resource leaders risk looking naive and weak. Good human

resource leaders: (1) believe in people and communicate their belief; (2) are visible and accessible; and (3) empower others—increase participation, provide support, share information, and move decision making as far down the organization as possible.


Political leadership. Successful political leaders are advocates who understand that influence needs to begin with an understanding of others’ concerns and interests.

Good political leaders (1) clarify what they want and what they can get; (2) assess the

distribution of power and interests; (3) build linkages to other stakeholders; and (4)

persuade first, negotiate second, and use coercion only if necessary.

Symbolic leadership. Effective symbolic leaders are prophets, artists, and poets whose

primary task is to interpret experience and create a meaningful workplace. They are often transformational leaders—visionaries who bring out the best in followers and move them toward higher and more universal needs and purposes. Effective symbolic leaders follow a consistent set of cultural rules and practices: they (1) lead by example; (2) use symbols to capture attention; (3) frame experience; (4) communicate a vision; (5) tell stories; and (6) respect and use history. The chapter ends with an integrated four-frame view of leadership and a prescription for wise leadership: (1) understand your own frame and its limits; (2) capitalize on your strengths and work to improve weaknesses; and (3) build teams that supply leadership in all four modes—structural, human resource, political, and symbolic.


Key Terms

Power: The ability to make things happen, to create an effect.

Authority: Power rooted in the perceived legitimacy of one’s office or position.

Management: The process of running an organization or getting things done through planning, organizing, staffing, controlling, and leading.

Leadership: A process of mutual influence fusing thought, feeling, and action to produce cooperative effort in the service of purposes and values of both the leader and the led.


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