Team A: Class Notes - January 26

Reframing Organizations: Artistry, Choice, and Leadership - Chapter 1 and 2

As institutions and companies grow more complex, understanding their organizational composition, leadership style, and challenges becomes increasingly important for administrators and managers. In chapter one, Bolman and Deal (2008) present us with four frames to help us decipher organizations. Learning to view problems with different lenses allows us to generate creative solutions based on new perspectives. The frames summarized are; Structural, Human Resources, Political, and Symbolic (See the chart below ).-Chapter two, outlines several cases that demonstrate how organizations are unpredictable. Organizations benefit from different view points with out-of-the-box thinking in order to prevent catastrophes. We can apply these principles to universities and colleges. The need for innovative planning is needed in order to prevent unforeseen disasters like the destruction of student registrar records due to water damage during the Katrina Hurricane or during the tragic Virginia Tech shootings. Many times organizations are reactive, instead of being proactive. Chapter two describes common mistakes and outlines more "effective approaches to diagnosis and action" (Bolman & Deal, 2008).

Bolman and Deal (2008) explain that a
frame " is a mental model a set of ideas
and assumptions that help you understand
and negotiate a particular territory" (p. 11).
Framing is the use of "matching mental
maps to circumstances" (p. 12).
Page 11, 12
Reframing involves the "ability to break the
frames" in order to find solutions in unforeseen
situations or in order to create change.
Reframing is the core concept which uses
different lenses to analyze situations
(Bolman & Deal, 2008, p.12).
Page 12
Structural Frame (A.K.A. factories)
Hierarchy organizations
emphasizegoals, structure, technology,
coordination of formal relationship with rules
and policies. Challenges occur when the organizational structure does not support
employees or solve problems.
Page 15, 18
Human Resources Frame (A.K.A. families)
Focuses on interpersonal relationships
and the human resource perspective.
Organization is like an extended family.
The challenge is for individuals to accomplish needed tasks while still enjoying their job and feeling content at work.
Page 16, 18
Political Frame (A.K.A. jungles)
Competition for power, conflict over different
needs with bargaining and coercion. Problems
arise when power is in the wrong place or too dispersed.
Page 16, 18
Symbolic Frame (A.K.A. temples and carnivals)
Emphasis on symbols, culture, myths instead of polices and managerial authority. Problems
occur when stakeholders shrug their
responsibilities or when symbols lose significance.
Page 16, 18

President Kyle, Radford University
Click on the photo to start video
President since 2005
View the video by clicking on the photo
and decide which frame is apparent. Is
there a possible way to reframe this situation?

The video occurs during a 2009 faculty senate and shows President Penny Kyle
explaining the consequences of budget cuts--the possible furloughs for staff and faculty and what she proposes to do. She loses control of the meeting when a new faculty member challenges her for allowing the unjustified firing of two student affairs administrators. Read the attached article to get a comprehensive understanding of why the debate is so heated. Alumni threatened to withold donations, students protested, and faculty members rallied in support of the ousted administrators.
President Kyle, B.A., J.D., MBA.

She has little higher ed experience. She worked at TNCC early in her career as an instructor.

She served 11 years as Director of Virginia
Lottery .
University Organization and Governance Article: The attached article describes national and international trends in higher education. What do you think about the trend to run universities and colleges with business models or frames?

This is a very current podcast with Howard University's President from January 27th, 2011. In this interview President Ribeau, describes the possibilty of cutting 20 academic programs. Listen to how this administrator mixes the positivistic messages of fiscal accountability with his social constructionist approach. In order to build consensus for the program cuts, a faculty committee was created to facilitate in the assessment of programs. To learn more, read the attached article from: The Washington Post.

Class discussion summary and examples:

Positivist, social constructivist, and post-modern (Taken from Group Notes):
Basic Assumptions
Leadership Application
Auguste Comte, Issac Newtown
One reality, rational and knowable reality, everything is linked
Improves effectiveness and efficiciency, one shared vision, manipulating variables can change outcomes and can be effective in making policy decisions
Not all agree on what is knowable, too structured and does not allow for change or creativity

The system is strictly defined so everything must fit
Social Construction
Peter Berger, Thomas Luckmann
Different realities, reality can be constructed
Each persons perception is important, consensus in group making decisions to make sure others are able to provide their input, inspires commitment within the team to empower members

It is up to the leader to construct the reality and the vision
Strongest reality wins and it may marginalize minority opinions, very complex, decisions may take a long time to appear
Foucault, Derrida
Knowledge is power, empower marginalized voices, rejects positivists assumption that a scientific answer will lead to one reality, shared power in the organization
Embrace differing opinions and embrace the paradox to move forward, do not assimilate opinions but rather allow the group to make the decision

Taking nothing for granted-people construct their own realities
More creativity but less structure, might be difficult to manage the process of decision making

Positionality and Frames (Power point Presentation from Blackboard)

This particular discussion was centered around a power point (found on blackboard) which discussed positionality and frames. The best summary of this presentation is that we must always remember the lens we look through when dealing with a particular leadership challenge. Everyone has a perspective or frame they use to make decisions. If we are to communicate effectively and make change in organizations we must begin by understanding the paradigms, frames, and positions of those who are making organizational policies and plans. We must also look to ourselves and find out our own position and our own lens to better understand how we function within a group. We were left with these questions: what assumptions do we have when we make a decision or deal with a particular challenge? What do we assume of others and what do we assume is the proper frame to deal with the issue?

Case Study (Handout)

The evening ended with a case study of transitioning college Presidents and the challenges faced by the "rouge's" successor. The key points of the case study discussion were to understand paradigms and more importantly understand context. As an administrator, we must understand the environment that we have inherited or the environment which we work. We must look deeper than what we are told and to dig deeper into what is really happening on a given college campus. Do not take anything for granted and look at the entire situation before making decisions.

Overall, the class was just an overview of the paradigms and ways they are utilized in everyday higher education work environments.

Bess & Dee – Approaches to Organizational Analysis: Three Paradigms
This article presents three paradigms for conceptualizing organizations: positivist, social constructivist, and post-modernist. The positivist paradigm posits the existence of one reality, independent of individual perspectives. Positivists use systems theory and contingency theory to predict outcomes in a scientific way. This paradigm values improving effectiveness and understanding the relationships between elements of the organization. Social constructionists, on the other hand, view knowledge as mutually constructed and malleable. While they encourage multiple perspectives to be voiced, their goal is to unify those perspectives into one agreed upon set of beliefs. Post-modernists agree with social constructionists in the idea that reality is subjective and that multiple perspectives and voices should be considered. They differ, however, in the end goal of the sharing of ideas and instead of creating a unified reality, post-modernists believe conflict should be fostered because the act of fostering total agreement inevitably silences minority voices. The authors of this article advocate for higher education leaders to merge these three paradigms and attempt to view organizational analysis from multiple points of view.
“A paradigm consists of the assumptions, practices, and agreements that guide a scholarly community” (p. 42)
“a puzzle that cannot be solved through the methods of the current paradigm. This type of puzzle…generates a crisis in confidence regarding the current paradigm.” (p. 44)
Systems Theory (Positivist)
“focuses on the relationship between a system (e.g., an organization) and its environment (i.e., everything that is not part of the system).” (p. 51)
“suggests that external environments partly determine the types of internal structures that organizations develop. These structures, in turn, shape individual and group behaviors.” (p. 52)
Contingency Theory (Positivist)
“this approach takes into account a large number of factors that can affect the relationship between two or more aspects of organizations.” (p.52)
“Through this theory, researchers and practitioners learn to avoid reductionism and to begin to look for the ways that many different variables are often involved in understanding and predicting outcomes.” (p. 79)
Unit of Analysis (Positivist)
“refers to the level of the system to be analyzed. According to systems theory, a problem at one level of an organization likely affects several other levels.” (p. 53)
Dualistic Ontology (Positivist)
“Ontology refers to a person’s set of beliefs about the nature of reality. Positivist researchers embrace a dualistic ontology in which the subject and object of research are two separate, independent entities…Social constructionists, however, view subject and object as inseparable.” (p. 55-6)
Symbolic Convergence (Social constructionist)
“Through communication and shared experiences, people begin to develop common constructions of reality…Communications researcher Ernest Bormann (1996) refers to this process as symbolic convergence. The separate cognitive worlds of different individuals begin to overlap or converge. As a result, people begin to construct and reconstruct reality in ways that are more similar than they are different.” (p. 58)
Primary Socialization (Social constructionist)
“Through primary socialization, we internalize the basic constructions of reality that guide most of our activities and interactions with others.” (p. 59)
Secondary Socialization (Social constructionist)
“Through secondary socialization, our cognitive worlds begin to converge with other members of the social systems to which we belong, including work organizations.” (p. 59)
Deep Structure (Social constructionist)
“refers to an organization’s unexamined values and assumptions that affect how meaning is produced.” (p. 62)
Surface Structure (Social constructionist)
“the visible, observable manifestation of a socially constructed reality that was shaped by the deep structure.” (p. 62)
Ideology (Social constructionist)
“the doctrine, myth, or belief system that guides individual or collective behavior.” (p. 63)
Deconstruction (Post-modern)
“entails close scrutiny of the dominant assumptions of organizational members and critical efforts to delegitimize hierarchies that privilege certain ideas over others.” (p. 71)
Micropolitics (Post-modern)
A focus on marginalized groups as opposed to the macrolevel systems of power and politics.
“a seemingly contradictory opposition within a social system.” (p. 76)
Additional Resource: Read this article on Organizational Culture in Higher Education.pdf to learn more about how to diagnose an organization’s cultural environment in order to propose improvements.

Images of Organizations - Chapter 1 – Introduction
The introduction provides an overview of the concepts ahead. The premise that will be seen throughout the book is that organizations and management can be viewed by thinking with the idea of metaphors (Morgan, 2006). Each individual brings to the organization, and situation, their own way of viewing and understanding the world. The idea of "frames" is introduced as a perspective for highlighting the metaphor. "Metaphors frame our understanding..." (Morgan, 2006, p.4). Refer to the definition in terms above for info on framing.
Disadvantages must be thought of when using metaphors. They tend to offer a very one-sided viewpoint, create distrotions of images, and become a way of "Not-seeing" (Morgan, 2006) by obscuring openess to other viewpoints and ideas.
Another important point to remember throughout the reading is the warning that no one theory will be able to encompass all viewpoints.

Additional Reading / Sources
The ideas for this weeks readings focus on the concept of viewing things from different lenses,with alternative viewpoints, and being open to change. More information on these ideas can be found:

Fullan, M. (2001). Leading in a culture of change. San Franciscon, CA: Jossey-Bass. p. 31-49.
Northouse, P. (2010). Leadership: Theories and practice. Los Angeles, CA; Sage Publications. p. 111-123.

Relevance to Higher Education:
The concept of higher education as a business is one that has come to light in the last few years. As a business/ organization, higher education must be thought of in terms of productivity, output, effectiveness and internal relations. Education and especially higher education, is seeped in tradition and is very opposed to change. Here, above all, the idea generation of reframing is needed. Higher education and K-12 often view themselves as separate entities with little understanding of, or collaboration with, each other. Moving outside of the metaphor that causes the one-sided view, being open to new ideas, and viewing things from other perspectives, will help to bridge this gap.

The open systems approach from Ludwig von Bertalanffy introduces the concept that organisms are open to their environment (Morgan, 2006) and in order to survive they must form a relationship with their environment. This is the thought behind the P-16 Council. In order to achieve success in higher education it is critical to build the framework beginning at lower levels. The environment is the P-12 school system - all forms of education- and for higher education to achieve a cohesive working relationship with that environment, similar goals, visions, and shared understanding must be established. Only through this collaboration can all organizations survive and thrive. Bolman and Deal (2008) state that often inadequate ideas play a part in failure and that creativity is needed. Education embodies creativity: what is needed is the direction and reframing to employ it beneficially.

Images of Organization Chapter 3-Nature Intervenes

Organizations as Organisms
This chapter gives a different way to managing organizations. It moves away from managing an organization from a rigid “mechanical” perspective where any job will be done for the right price. Instead it introduces how organizations should be viewed as living and changing and that workers have needs that should be fulfilled at work beyond getting paid.
Recognizing the importance of environment: organizations as open systems p.39
“Open Environment” - since organizations are “open” to their environments they must “achieve an appropriate relation with that environment if they are to survive.”

Key Issues of Open-Systems Approach
1. Emphasis on the environment in which organizations exists. Open system says “organize with the environment in mind.” Organizations must be aware of what is going on in the world around them.
2. Interrelated subsystems. Individuals belong to groups that part of departments which are part of divisions. Everything depends on everything else.
3. Establish “alignments” between different systems and identify and eliminate potential dysfunctions.
Open System Concept
Organic systems exists in a continuous exchange with their environment. This exchange is crucial for sustaining the life and form of the system, as environmental interaction is the basis of self-maintenance. The idea of openness emphasizes the key relationships between the environment and the internal functioning of the system. Environment and system are to be understood as being in a state of interaction and mutual dependence.
The concept of self regulation and the ability to maintain a steady state.
Entropy/Negative Entropy
Closed systems are entropic in that they have a tendency to deteriorate and run down. Open systems, on the other hand, attempt to sustain themselves by importing energy to try and offset entropic tendencies. It is thus said that they are characterized by negative entropy.
Structure, Function, Differentiation, and Integration
Structure , function, behavior and all other features of system operation are closely intertwined. An organization as a system is a system of functional interdependence that is not reducible to a simple structure. The structure at any one time depends on the existence of these functions. Relationships between structure, function, differentiation and integration are seen in social systems such as organizations.
Requisite Variety
The internal regulatory mechanisms of a system must be as diverse as the environment with which it is trying to deal. For only by incorporating required variety into internal controls can a system deal with the variety and challenge posed by its environment. Systems that insulate themselves from diversity in the environment tend to atrophy and lose their complexity and distinctive natures.
The idea that in an open system there may be many different ways of arriving at a given end state.
System Evolution
The capacity of a system to evolve depends on an ability to move to more complex forms of differentiation and integration, and greater variety in the system facilitating its ability to deal with challenges and opportunities posed by the environment.
Contingency Theory: adapting organization to environment p.44
“Organizations are open systems that need careful management to satisfy and balance internal needs and to adapt to environmental circumstances.”
“There is no one best way of organizing. The appropriate form depends on the kind of task or environment with which one is dealing.”
“Management must be concerned, above all else, with achieving alignments and good fits. “
“Different approaches to management may be necessary to perform different tasks within the same organization.”
“Different types” or “species” of organization are needed in different types of environments.”

Variety of Species p. 50
Henry Mintzburg’s 5 “species” of organization: machine bureaucracy, divisionalized form, professional bureaucracy, simple structure and “adhocracy”.
- Machine bureaucracy and divisionalized from are most effective when tasks and environment are simple and stable. Centralized systems make them ineffective for dealing with changing circumstances.
- Professional bureaucracy modifies the principles of centralized control to allow greater autonomy to staff and is appropriate for dealing with relatively stable conditions where tasks are relatively complicated.
- Simple Structure and “adhocracy “tend to work best in unstable environmental conditions. Organization is very informal and flexible and, although run in a very centralized way by the chief executive, is ideal for achieving quick changes and maneuvers.
- Matrix Organizations- describes as “project organizations” adapt the functional-bureaucratic form to meet the demands of special situations through the establishment of subunits or teams with membership drawn from different functional areas or departments.

Contingency Theory: promoting organizational health and development p.56
Important questions need to be asked about the organization. What is the best fit for the environment? How can it change as the environment changes? How can it keep internal relations balanced and appropriate? What does the way the way an organization system is set up mean for operations?

Natural Selection: the population-ecology view of organizations p. 61
“population ecology” – Organizations, like organisms in nature, depend for survival on their ability to acquire an adequate supply of the resources necessary to sustain existence. The idea of only the fittest survive among organizations competing for scarce resources. The environment is the critical factor in determining which organizations succeed.

Organizational Ecology: the creation of shared futures p. 64
Organizations and their environments are involved in a pattern of cocreation, where each produces the other. Organizational environments are in large measure composed of other organizations. Once this is recognized one can see that organizations can influence the nature of their environment. Seeing the importance of collaboration can contribute to how the world of organizations is understood and managed.

Organizations need to be seen as always changing and dynamic. The environment needs to be considered .The organization is both influenced by and influences the environment. Adaptations can be made within the organization and with the environment. Management can be improved with attention to “needs” that must be satisfied. Recognizing other organizations in the environment is important.