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Reframing Organization: Artistry Choice and Leadership (Book Review Sample)


A BOOK REVIEW OF A BOOK IN PUBLIC MANAGEMENT FIELD TITLED "’Reframing organization: Artistry Choice and Leadership” by Lee Bolmant and Terence Deal

A book review of ‘’Reframing organization: Artistry Choice and Leadership" by Lee Bolmant and Terence Deal
The organization as an entity that is composed of many different resources that should work seamlessly to attain a common objective and this demands a management process. The planning and control of the resources intended to meet an objective or several objectives becomes the primary role of management. Therefore management can be looked at as the supervisory role commonly performed by people who can be managers or leaders to plan and control the organization’s resources to attain productivity or profit. The main aspects of management remain the same regardless of the type of organization. Therefore whatever management practice is suitable for the private sector organizations can in essence be mapped onto public sector organizations as well. While the concepts of management remain the same whatever the sector, the structures and stakeholders in each of these cases varies. This is what appears to bring out the distinction between public and private management practice. In attempting to understand what entails effective management many authors have derived different concepts that are intended to help us understand the theories relating to the management process.
The book titled ‘Reframing organizations: Artistry choice and leadership’ by Lee Bolmant and Terence Deal defines leadership as an aspect of management based on four views or frames. The framing process is the model of explanation adopted by the authors to help the readers to understand how effective leadership or management can be attained within the organization. The frames in this case are defined as mental models or maps that are important in guiding our line of thought. Apparently without these mental models the myriad of facts that we encounter around us everyday can be confusing and detrimental to our mental appropriation capabilities. As such Bolmant & Deal (2008) suggest that the only way that we can make sense of organizations when in the leadership position is to derive a mental model or frame of why management in such organizations is intentional in upholding virtues that must exceed the vices. In this light the authors base their theory on a 4 frame approach. The underlying assumption while using this framing approach is that the initial mental model or map need not be perfect but must be flexible enough to support continuous input so that the model is perpetually under refinement. This concept is ultimately important in public management and administrative spheres because it has become common knowledge that transformational leadership is a valuable attainment and it is the practice that is inherently flexible and hence capable of adapting to emerging situations. Hence while the framing process involves creating a mental map, the transformation will involve a reframing process that can involve the breaking of theses mental models or maps. Therefore as a manager within an organization, it is important to realize that the four frames into which the organizational assets can be categorized include the structural, human resources, political and symbolic. In order to be an effective public manager, it is imperative to assume a multi-frame thought pattern that will enable you to understand and appreciate the 4 frames in a greater depth in practice that the authors ascribe to effective leadership practice. This defines one of the main areas of the book and relates to how a manager can make sense of the organization through the framing process.
In the book ‘Reframing organization’ the authors highlight that the common assumption that organization problems are the result of bureaucracy, people and a thirst for power is a fallacy in which case they introduce the four frame concept as a more reliable and applicable way of understanding the way the organization carries on with business. Apparently the causes of the problems that emerge in organizations are related to the incomplete information. Therefore the ability to make sense of what is happening in the organization is an important leadership quality. Hence Bolmant & Deal (2008) assert that the ability to size up a situation quickly is at the heart of leadership (p.38).
The structural frame incorporates a number of assumptions, forms and functions. Of importance to the public management process includes the understanding that organizations have goals and objectives that are well established. Therefore as a leader you need to understand that division of labour and specialization will increase organizational efficiency. However in order for these assumptions to work the structural frame dictates that rationality in the leadership or management prevail over irrelevant pressures and personal agendas. While in public management or any leadership position, it suffices to understand that structural tension is likely and being able to address such a situation is important. Therefore the role of a public manager in enhancing the structural frame will include exercising coordination, designing a working structure in the organization, organizing groups and teams based on industry accepted theories like Mintzberg’s five, determine the success of teamwork and transforming the teams into self managing. Notably self managing teams are considered as the highest and most efficient structure from the structural frame perspective and one of the major aspects of management consideration relates to the public manager understanding the tasks and how they vary basing on their stability, predictability and precision.
The human resource frame or dimension as defined by Bolmant and Deal will help the leader to bring into perspective certain important aspects relating to the management of people. Certainly a good place to start for any leader is to understand the needs that people have. In order to fulfil this objective the authors suggest the understanding of existing personnel management theories like the Theory X and Theory Y. Adapting newer ways of human resources management as a manager is beneficial in helping the organization to achieve its objectives. Hence this book proposes certain measures like investment in people and adapting approaches that will maximize human resource use to attain the optimal productivity capacity for the organization. Since the human resources frame is wide and most critical to any organization, the public manager must take charge of existing human capacity and work on changing employment contracts. This is about establishing a human resource philosophy that will define how HR management function to aligned to the organizational goals. Employee empowerment and delegation and the understanding of group dynamics factors are all important consideration within this frame to attaining a highly productive team. Ultimately the human resources frame will affect organizational performance if the management style is such that it will promote the human resource philosophy that adds value to the organization.
The political influence in public management is more pronounced than what happens in the private sector. As such the book enumerates the need for people...
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