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Exploring a comprehensive model for leadership and adaptive organizational change

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Exploring a comprehensive model for leadership and adaptive organizational change a case study of the Advisory Committee on Tenure-Related Processes at the University of Colorado
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Heckler, Mark Alan
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English
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xxiii, 423 leaves : illustrations ; 28 cm

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Subjects / Keywords:
Organizational change -- Case studies -- Colorado ( lcsh )
Educational change -- Case studies -- Colorado ( lcsh )
Educational leadership -- Case studies -- Colorado ( lcsh )
Education, Higher -- Case studies -- Colorado ( lcsh )
College teachers -- Tenure -- Case studies -- Colorado ( lcsh )
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bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

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Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 405-423).
General Note:
School of Education and Human Development
Statement of Responsibility:
by Mark Alan Heckler.

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University of Colorado Denver
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Auraria Library
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ocn781162946
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LD1193.E3 2011D H43 ( lcc )

Full Text
EXPLORING A COMPREHENSIVE MODEL FOR LEADERSHIP AND ADAPTIVE
ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE: A CASE STUDY OF THE ADVISORY
COMMITTEE ON TENURE-RELATED PROCESSES
AT THE
UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO
by
Mark Alan Heckler
B.A., Elizabethtown College, 1977
M.F.A., Catholic University of America, 1979
A thesis submitted to the
University of Colorado Denver
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy
Educational Leadership and Innovation
2011


2011 by Mark Alan Heckler
All rights reserved.


This thesis for the Doctor of Philosophy
degree by
Mark Alan Heckler
has been approved
Nancy L. Leech
Marlene Ross
lo/N (11
Date


Heckler, Mark A. (Ph.D., Educational Leadership and Innovation)
Exploring a Comprehensive Model for Leadership and Adaptive Organizational Change: A
Case Study of the Advisory Committee on Tenure-Related Processes at the University of
Colorado
Thesis directed by Professor Rodney Muth
ABSTRACT
Higher-education leaders, who face increasingly turbulent times driven by economic forces,
changing demographics, globalization, and ever increasing public scrutiny, need mental
maps or cognitive schemata to accurately diagnose problems and successfully engage
constituencies in necessary adaptive work. The study proposes a new comprehensive
model for leadership and adaptive organizational change to assist in these efforts. The
model deploys the four-frame schema proposed by Bolman and Deal (1984, 1991c, 1997,
2003, 2008), including its structural, human resource, political, and symbolic dimensions,
combined with the Heifetz (1994) model for adaptive organizational change with its
component parts: gauging formal and informal authority, determining ripeness, framing
issues, directing attention, controlling information, and creating a holding environment. A
cybernetic, organizational feedback loop (Birnbaum, 1988; Easton, 1965) completes the
model. To explore the efficacy of the model, I employ a single and extreme-case study
the work of the 2005-2006 Advisory Committee on Tenure-Related Processes (ACTRP) at
the University of Colorado. The Colorado Board of Regents created the ACTRP in
response to public concerns about the Universitys ability to manage its tenure system after
the revelation that a controversial ethnic studies professor, Ward Churchill, was granted
tenure without a seven-year probationary period and without a terminal degree. The
ACTRP was charged to review all of the University's tenure-related processes, develop
recommendations, and develop policy and process changes to implement its
recommendations. Based on the study, I conclude that the comprehensive model for
leadership and adaptive organizational change explained most of the ACTRP case. All
elements of the comprehensive model appeared active in the ACTRPs work. Evidence of
four-frame thinking emerged in proportions similar to prior studies. However, the proposed
model did not fully capture the complexity of authority operating in the Universitys shared
governance system, lacked the nuance of the multidimensional and nested set of holding
environments evidenced in the ACTRP case, missed the importance of communication
planning and strategy, and failed to account for the complexity of feedback loops evident in
the case. I conclude the study with suggested changes to the comprehensive model and
discuss possible lessons for future higher-education leaders facing public calls for
institutional change.
This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidates thesis. I recommend its
publication.
Signed
Rodney Muth


DEDICATION
To Veronica, my lifelong, best friend, partner, wife, and the love of my life. For your love,
your patience, and your occasional threats.


ACKNOWLEDGMENT
First, I acknowledge that nothing has been possible in my life without Gods many
blessings and Gods great mercy, forgiving all my failures.
Heartfelt thanks go to my advisor, Rodney Muth, for his positive encouragement, excellent
editorial advice, and good cheer throughout the doctoral coursework and dissertation
process. Thanks also to the members of my UC Denver advisory committee, Alan Davis,
Nancy L. Leech, and Carmen Williams for their good counsel. Special thanks go to
Marlene Ross for more than a decade of sage professional advice and encouragement.
Chancellor-Emeritus James H. Shore encouraged me to undertake doctoral studies, and I
will be forever grateful for his early prodding to begin this work. My friends and colleagues
at UC DenverAndy Jhanji, Laura Goodwin, and Lynn Rhodes provided a positive outlook
when I questioned whether it was possible to complete this degree given the demands of
the provosts and presidents positions.
The late Jerry Davies served as an excellent interviewer and Katherine Roben performed
numerous administrative duties superbly during the period of focus-group and individual
leader interviews. I am grateful for their eagerness to take on these responsibilities and the
professionalism they brought to this work.
Rick AmRhein located reference materials through the Christopher Center for Library and
Information Resources at Valparaiso University and offered moral support during the
literature review and the final years of writing.
Finally, my wife, Veronica, and my childrenZachary, Jocelyn, Miranda, and Susanne
dealt with an inattentive and preoccupied husband and father for more than seven years. I
am forever grateful for their love and encouragement and intend to spend the rest of my
God-given days making up for it!


TABLE OF CONTENTS
Figures..................................................................xx
Tables.................................................................xxii
CHAPTER
1. CHANGE AND LEADERSHIP IN HIGHER EDUCATION.............................1
A Model for Leadership and Adaptive Organizational Change..........3
Bolman and Deals Model for Multiframe Thinking.................3
Heifetzs Model of Adaptive Leadership..........................4
The Feedback Loop...............................................4
A Comprehensive Model...........................................5
The Case at the University of Colorado.............................5
Ward Churchill and the Intellectual Diversity Movement..........6
Ward Churchills Plagiarism Charges and Tenure Irregularities...7
The Advisory Committee on Tenure-Related Processes..............7
The Dissertation: Questions and Methodology........................8
Research Questions..............................................9
Research Design.................................................9
Role of the Researcher......................................10
Researcher Bias.............................................12
Document Review and Data Analysis...........................12
Interviews and Data Analysis................................13
Analysis of Themes Using Conceptual Framework...............15
Summary...........................................................16
VII


Dissertation Structure
16
2. A COMPREHENSIVE MODEL FOR LEADERSHIP AND
ADAPTIVE ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE.........................................18
Bolman and Deals Four-Frame Model.................................18
The Structural Frame.............................................19
The Human-Resource Frame.........................................20
The Political Frame..............................................21
The Symbolic Frame...............................................23
Multiframe Thinking..............................................24
A Visual, Conceptual Model for Bolman and Deals Frames...........25
Heifetzs Model of Leadership and Adaptive Organizational Change....27
Authority........................................................27
Nature of the Work...............................................29
Identifying the Adaptive Challenge...............................30
Ripeness of Issues...............................................30
Holding Environment..............................................31
Framing Issues, Controlling Information Flow, Directing Attention.32
Giving Work Back to the People...................................33
A Visual, Conceptual Model for Heifetzs Leadership Construct.....33
The Feedback Loop..................................................36
Incorporation of the Feedback Loop into the Proposed Model.......38
A Hybrid Model for Leadership and Adaptive Organizational Change....39
Problem and Solution Analysis....................................39
Authority and Holding Environment................................40
Ripeness, Framing, Attention, and Information Flow...............40
viii


Feedback Loop..............................................40
The Visual Model...........................................41
Summary......................................................43
3. SCHEMATA AND LEADERSHIP THEORY...................................44
Social Cognition and Schema Theory...........................45
Leadership Schemata..........................................49
Leader-Focused Theories....................................50
Leader-Follower Relationship and Contextual Theories.......53
Transformation and Change-Centered Theories................55
Summary......................................................58
4. FRAMING SCHEMATA: THE THEORIES OF BOLMAN AND DEAL................59
Framing Schemata.............................................59
Bolman and Deals Four-Frames as Leadership Schemata.......61
Leadership Metaphors and Image Theory......................62
Metaphors for Higher-Education Institutions and Presidents.64
Research Using the Four-Frame Schemata.......................67
Research by Bolman and Deal................................67
Four-Frame Research by Others..............................70
Dissertation Research Using the Four-Frame Model...........73
Methodologies............................................74
Common Findings..........................................75
Study-Specific Findings..................................76
Summary......................................................77
5. DEVELOPMENT OF AND APPLICATIONS FOR
THE HEIFETZ SCHEMATA.............................................79
ix


The Heifetz Schemata
79
Power and Authority Schemata.....................................79
Conducting Research on Power and Authority...................83
Heifetzs Seminal Work.............................................84
Heifetzs Subsequent Writing and Consulting Work...................86
Consulting Practice..............................................91
Research by Others Using the Heifetz Model.........................92
Research Combining the Bolman and Deal and Heifetz Models..........95
Summary............................................................96
6. METHODOLOGY...........................................................97
Purpose of the Study...............................................97
Research Questions.................................................98
Design.............................................................98
Qualitative Research.............................................98
Case-Study Methodology...........................................99
Alignment with Qualitative Tradition and Case-Study Methodology .. 102
Validity and Reliability........................................104
Inter-Rater Reliability.....................................107
Triangulation...............................................109
Procedures........................................................110
Participants....................................................110
Focus Groups................................................111
Interviews..................................................111
Documents......................................................112
x


Instruments......................................................113
Methods of Data Collection.......................................113
Documents......................................................113
Focus Groups and Interviews....................................114
Methods of Data Analysis.........................................115
Document Analysis..............................................116
Focus-Group and Interview Analysis ............................120
Data Analysis and the Conceptual Model ........................122
Role of the Case-Study Researcher................................123
My Role as Researcher..........................................124
Researcher Bias.............................................126
Summary..........................................................127
7. RESULTS OF THE STUDY: AGENDAS AND MINUTES............................128
The Research Questions...........................................128
Review of the Theoretical Framework..............................129
Organizing the Analysis..........................................130
Agendas and Minutes Prior to the Independent Report............130
Data Analysis...............................................131
Axial Coding.............................................131
Selective Coding.........................................131
Content Analysis.........................................134
Interpretation of Data Analysis.............................134
Agendas and Minutes After the Independent Report...............137
Data Analysis...............................................137
Axial Coding.............................................137
XI


Selective Coding...........................................140
Content Analysis...........................................142
Interpretation of Data Analysis..............................143
Goals and objectives.......................................143
Clarifications in policy...................................143
New policies...............................................144
Regaining public confidence................................144
Rigor and compliance.......................................145
Areas of concern or deficiency.............................145
Feedback...................................................147
Disagreement between the Independent Report
and the ACTRP..............................................149
Summary......................................................150
8. RESULTS OF THE STUDY: THE INDEPENDENT REPORT...........................152
Products of the ACTRP..............................................152
The Independent Report..........................................152
Data Analysis................................................153
Axial Coding...............................................154
Selective Coding...........................................156
Content Analysis...........................................158
Word-count analysis........................................159
Keyword-in-context (KWIC) analysis of tenure.............160
Keyword-in-context (KWIC) analysis of faculty............168
Keyword-in-context (KWIC) analysis of review.............174
Interpretation of Data Analysis..............................180
xii


Summary.....................................................183
9. RESULTS OF THE STUDY: THE ACTRP REPORT...............................185
The ACTRP Report Structure and Analysis Process..................185
Analysis Process...............................................186
Data Analysis...............................................187
Axial Coding..............................................187
Selective Coding..........................................187
Content Analysis..........................................190
Word-count analysis.......................................192
Keyword-in-context (KWIC) analysis of tenure............193
Keyword-in-context (KWIC) analysis of review............195
Keyword-in-context (KWIC) analysis of faculty...........197
Interpretation of Data Analysis.............................199
Plotting Themes onto Elements of the Comprehensive Model.........201
The Leadership Solution Space: Bolman and Deals
(1991b) Coding Grid............................................201
The Leadership Solution Space: Heifetz and Birnbaum
Components.....................................................207
Authority...................................................207
Nature of Work..............................................209
Additional Heifetz and Birnbaum Components..................211
Summary..........................................................212
10. RESULTS OF THE STUDY: FOCUS GROUPS AND INTERVIEWS...................215
Overview of the Focus-Group and Interview Analysis...............215
Elements of the Leadership Solution Space: Bolman and Deal.....217
xiii


Structural Frame..............................................218
Focus-group perspective....................................219
Individual interview perspective...........................220
Human-Resource frame..........................................222
Focus-group perspective....................................222
Individual interview perspective...........................224
Political Frame...............................................225
Focus-group perspective....................................226
Individual interview perspective...........................230
Symbolic Frame................................................234
Focus-group perspective....................................234
Individual interview perspective...........................236
Elements of the Organizational Solution Space: Heifetz...........237
Authority.....................................................237
Focus-group perspective....................................239
Individual interview perspective...........................242
Ripeness......................................................243
Focus-group perspective....................................244
Individual interview perspective...........................246
Framing the Issue and Directing Attention.....................248
Focus-group perspective....................................249
Individual interview perspective...........................250
Information Flow..............................................251
Focus-group perspective....................................251
Individual interview perspective...........................253
XIV


Holding Environment.....................................253
Focus-group perspective..............................253
Individual interview perspective.....................256
Feedback Loop...........................................257
Nature of Change........................................259
Focus-group perspective..............................261
Individual interview perspective.....................268
Summary......................................................270
11. DISCUSSION, CONCLUSIONS, AND IMPLICATIONS.......................274
Conceptual Framework.........................................275
Framing and Change Schemata................................276
A Comprehensive Model......................................276
Components of the Comprehensive Model...................277
Research Questions...........................................277
Methodology..................................................278
Methods of Data Analysis...................................281
Research Question One........................................282
The Leadership Solution Space: Bolman and Deals Four Frames.283
Structural Frame........................................284
Document analysis....................................284
Focus-group and interview analysis...................285
Summary..............................................286
Human-Resource Frame....................................287
Document Analysis.....................................287
xv


Focus-group and interview analysis.....................289
Summary................................................290
Political Frame...........................................290
Document Analysis......................................290
Focus-group and interview analysis.....................292
Summary................................................293
Symbolic Frame............................................293
Document Analysis......................................294
Focus-group and interview analysis.....................295
Summary................................................297
Multiframe Dynamics.......................................298
The Organizational Solution Space: Heifetzs Authority
and the Holding Environment..................................298
Authority.................................................299
Formal authority.......................................299
Document analysis......................................302
Informal authority.....................................304
Focus-group and interview analysis.....................305
Summary................................................308
Ripeness..................................................309
Document analysis......................................309
Focus-group and interview analysis.....................310
Summary................................................311
Framing the Issue and Directing Attention.................311
Document analysis......................................311
xvi


Focus-group and interview analysis...................313
Summary..............................................314
Information Flow........................................315
Document analysis....................................315
Focus-group and interview analysis...................316
Summary..............................................316
Holding Environment.....................................316
Document analysis....................................317
Focus-group and interview analysis...................317
Summary..............................................323
Feedback Loop...........................................323
Document analysis....................................323
Focus-group and interview analysis...................325
Summary..............................................326
Adaptive Change.........................................326
Document analysis....................................326
New policies.........................................327
Changes to existing policies.........................328
Other areas of concern...............................329
Recommendations not implemented......................330
Focus-group and interview analysis...................330
Summary..............................................333
Summary.................................................333
Research Question Two........................................335
Authority..................................................335
xvii


Information Flow
337
I
Communication Strategy.......................................338
Feedback Loops...............................................339
Holding Environment..........................................339
A Revised Visual Model.......................................341
Summary......................................................343
Research Question Three........................................344
Authority....................................................345
Four-Frame Analysis..........................................345
Ripeness.....................................................346
Holding Environment..........................................346
Transparency of Information..................................347
Communication Strategy.......................................348
Accountability...............................................348
Structure and Process........................................349
Summary......................................................349
Application of the Revised Conceptual Model....................350
The Adaptive Challenge.......................................350
Leadership Strategy..........................................351
Communication Strategy.......................................356
Feedback and Communication Loops.............................358
A Question Protocol..........................................359
Limitations....................................................363
Recommendations for Future Research............................367
XVIII


Conclusion.........................................369
APPENDIX
A. SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS FROM THE
INDEPENDENT REPORT AND THE ACTRP REPORT...............371
B. DISPLAY OF RESEARCH PARTICIPANTS, ACTIVITIES
FREQUENCIES. AND DURATION.............................384
C. INFORMED CONSENT FORM FOCUS-GROUP PARTICIPANTS......386
D. INFORMED CONSENT FORM INDIVIDUAL LEADER INTERVIEWS..389
E. FOCUS GROUP INTERVIEW PROTOCOL........................391
F. INDIVIDUAL LEADER INTERVIEW PROTOCOL..................393
G. HUMAN SUBJECTS REVIEW COMMITTEE APPROVAL FORM.........395
H. DISPLAY OF AXIAL AND IN VIVO CODES....................396
I. DISSERTATIONS USING BOLMAN AND DEAL (1984)
FOUR-FRAME MODEL......................................405
REFERENCES....................................................409
XIX


FIGURES
Figure
2.1 The Bolman and Deal (1984, 1991c, 1997, 2003, 2008) Model as a Set of Analytical
Lenses through Which to View a Specific Problem.............................25
2.2 The Bolman and Deal (1984, 1991c, 1997, 2003, 2008) Model as a Set of Analytical
Tools to Develop Strategic Solutions for Addressing Organizational Problems.26
2.3 The Bolman and Deal (1984, 1991c, 1997, 2003, 2008) Combined Model of Problem
Analysis and Strategic Solution Development.................................26
2.4 The Solution Space and Strategic Decisions for Leadership as Conceived
by Heifetz (1994)...........................................................34
2.5 The Organizational Holding Environment for Adaptive Change as Conceived
by Leadership and Areas of Leadership Control and Framing from
Heifetz (1994)..............................................................35
2.6 Visual Representation of the Complete Heifetz (1994) Model for Role
of Leadership in Affecting Adaptive Organizational Change...................35
2.7 Visual Representation of the Feedback Loop as a Bridge Between the
Leader and the Members of an Organization Undertaking Adaptive Work.........38
2.8 Comprehensive Model of Leadership and Organizational
Adaptive Change.............................................................42
10.1 The Bolman and Deal (1984, 1991c, 1997, 2003, 2008) Combined Model of Problem
Analysis and Strategic Solution Development................................218
10.2 Visual Representation of the Complete Heifetz (1994) Model for Role
of Leadership in Affecting Adaptive Organizational Change..................238
10.3 Visual Representation of the Feedback Loop as a Bridge Between the
Leader and the Members of an Organization Undertaking Adaptive Work.........258
10.4 Comprehensive Model of Leadership and Organizational
Adaptive Change............................................................260
11.1 The Bolman and Deal (1984, 1991c, 1997, 2003, 2008) Combined Model of Problem
Analysis and Strategic Solution Development................................283
11.2 Comprehensive Model of Leadership and Organizational
Adaptive Change............................................................300
xx


11.3 Authority Structure in the Study of the Advisory Committee on
Tenure-Related Processes................................................303
11.4 Representation of the Internal Holding Environment in
the ACTRP Study.........................................................320
11.5 Representation of Multidimensional Holding Environments in
the ACTRP Study.........................................................321
11.6 Informal and Formal Feedback Loops in the Study of the
Advisory Committee on Tenure-Related Processes..........................325
11.7 A Revised Model for Leadership and Adaptive Organizational
Change in Higher-Education Institutions................................ 343
XXI


TABLES
Table
7.1 Axial coding and classical content analysis for agendas and minutes
prior to Independent Report...............................................132
7.2 Selective coding for agendas and minutes prior to Independent Report......132
7.3 Axial coding and classical content analysis for agendas and minutes after
Independent Report........................................................139
7.4 Selective coding for agendas and minutes after the Independent Report....140
8.1 Axial coding and classical content analysis for the Independent Report....155
8.2 Selective coding for the Independent Report...............................156
8.3 Word-count analysis for the Independent Report............................160
8.4 Sample use and interpretation of Tenure as a Keyword-in-Context.......161
8.5 Sample use and interpretation of Faculty as a Keyword-in-Context......169
8.6 Sample use and interpretation of Review as a Keyword-in-Context.......175
9.1 Axial coding and classical content analysis for the ACTRP Report..........188
9.2 Selective coding for the ACTRP Report.....................................189
9.3 Word-count analysis for the ACTRP Report..................................193
9.4 Sample use and interpretation of Tenure as a Keyword-in-Context.......194
9.5 Sample use and interpretation of Review as a Keyword-in-Context.......196
9.6 Sample use and interpretation of Faculty as a Keyword-in-Context......198
9.7 Bolman and Deal (1991b) coding grid.......................................203
9.8 Axial codes plotted on structural dimension of Bolman and Deal (1991b)
coding grid...............................................................204
9.9 Axial codes plotted on human resource dimension of Bolman and Deal (1991b)
coding grid...............................................................205
xxii


9.10 Axial codes plotted on political and symbolic dimensions of Bolman and Deal
(1991b) coding grid......................................................206
9.11 Axial codes assigned to authority dimensions from Heifetz (1994).........208
9.12 Axial codes assigned to nature of work dimensions from Heifetz (1994)....210
9.13 Axial codes assigned to additional Heifetz (1994) and
Birnbaum (1988) components...............................................212
11.1 Question protocol aligned with the revised conceptual model..............359
A. 1 Summary of recommendations from the Independent Report
and the ACTRP Report.....................................................371
B. 1 Display of research participants, activities, frequencies, and duration..384
H. 1 Display of axial and in vivo codes.......................................396
xxiii


CHAPTER 1
CHANGE AND LEADERSHIP IN HIGHER EDUCATION
Higher education in the United States faces a period of unprecedented change,
and many factors beyond the control of those within the system drive both the rate and the
pervasiveness of change. For example, shifting demographics bring more first-generation
students into college from different racial and ethnic groups and from lower socio-economic
circumstances (Eckel & Kezar, 2003; Lumina Foundation, 2010). Declining governmental
support pressures institutions to raise tuition, while politicians, the media, and families
decry escalating costs of higher education (Eckel, 2003). Innovations in technology and
changing student-learning patterns undermine traditional methods of live classroom
instruction (Christensen, Horn, Caldera & Soares, 2011; Eckel & Kezar, 2003; Flynn &
Vredevoogd, 2010). Globalization drives institutions to recruit students and deliver
academic programs world-wide (Eckel & Kezar, 2003; Flynn & Vredevoogd, 2010). Calls
for transparency and accountability in the public sector (Dickeson, 1999; Lederman, 2009),
resulting from the highly visible failure of several major American corporations (King,
2007), have triggered similar calls in the higher-education and not-for-profit sectors
(Dickeson, 1999; Eckel & Kezar, 2003; Flynn & Vredevoogd, 2010). This brings greater
public scrutiny and criticism of higher-education practices and expenses (Dickeson, 1999;
Eckel, 2003). These escalating pressures conspire to create increasing demands for
higher-education reform (Dickeson, 1999; Eckel, 2003; Eckel & Kezar, 2003).
Higher-education institutions need to adapt in response to these pressures.
However, institutional cultures, governance models, and traditions within the higher-
education system often respond slowly or resist change efforts (Bergquist & Pawlak, 2008;
Eckel & Kezar, 2003). Bolman and Deal (2003) define these change-resistant, higher-
1


education organizations as professional bureaucracies, referring to Mintzbergs (1979)
structural configuration:
A professional bureaucracy responds slowly to external change. Waves of reform
typically produce little impact because professionals often view any change in their
surroundings as an annoying distraction from their chosen work. The result is a
paradox: individual professionals may be at the forefront of their specialty, while
the institution as a whole moves at a glacial pace. Professional bureaucracies
regularly stumble when they try to exercise greater control over the operating core.
(P 77)
Constituencies within the higher-education system, particularly faculty, question and
sometimes challenge change efforts by administrators operating from a managerial
perspective (Bergquist & Pawlak, 2008). These constituencies must be meaningfully
engaged in and own change efforts if they are to be sustained over time (Heifetz, 1994).
To address these issues requires thoughtful leadership. Leaders need to
understand the particular dynamics of change and culture in higher education in order to
navigate these turbulent waters successfully. Yet, useful frameworks for sense-making and
problem-solving (Goffman, 1974) in turbulent higher-education environments (Tierney,
2004) are in short supply. This dissertation aims to initiate scholarly discourse resulting in a
comprehensive leadership framework for adaptive organizational change (Heifetz, 1994) in
U.S. higher education.
In this dissertation, I propose a potential leadership framework for adaptive
organizational change. A case study of extreme turbulence, the University of Colorados
study on tenure-related processes from March 2005 to December 2006, presents an
opportunity to test the degree to which this hybrid theoretical framework explains what
happened in a real situation. After analyzing the University of Colorado case using the lens
of the leadership framework as a way to explore the frameworks efficacy, I make changes
to the theoretical framework, offer observations for higher-education leaders who find
themselves in turbulent environments, and suggest future lines of research.
2


A Model for Leadership and Adaptive Organizational Change
In this study, I utilize a single-case study to test a new hybrid conceptual
framework for leadership and adaptive organizational change. The conceptual framework
combines the four-frame problem analysis of Bolman and Deal (1984, 1991c, 1997, 2003,
2008) with Heifetzs (1994) adaptive-change model expanded by Heifetz and Linsky
(2002a).A cybernetic feedback loop (Birnbaum, 1988; Easton, 1965) brings the two models
together into a single, comprehensive theory explaining an interactive process for
leadership and adaptive organizational change. I explain the components of the model
briefly in the following sections and both explicate and visualize the model in Chapter 2.
Bolman and Deal's Model for Multiframe Thinking
Bolman and Deal (1984, 1991c, 1997, 2003, 2008) suggest that leaders might
better analyze an organizations problems and propose solutions by deploying multiframe
thinking. To do this, they outline a conceptual four-frame model consisting of structural,
human-resource, political, and symbolic frames through which leaders can view and
understand organizational systems. The structural frame views an organization through its
processes, procedures, and the ways in which work is organized and directed. In contrast,
the human-resource frame examines the organizations attention to the needs of and
support for its members. The political frame considers the dimensions of power and conflict
over scarce resources while the symbolic frame examines an organizations rituals,
ceremonies, and stories as participants attempt to ascribe meaning and significance to
their collective work. Together, the four frames provide a multidimensional tool for
assessing the complex functions at work within an organization as leaders attempt to
diagnose problems and develop strategies for fostering organizational change (Bolman &
Deal, 1984, 1991c, 1997, 2003, 2008). I explain and visualize this model in greater depth in
Chapter 2.
3


Heifetz's Model of Adaptive Leadership
Heifetz (1994; Heifetz & Linsky, 2002a) proposes a model for adaptive leadership
that fully engages an organizations participants in the change process. This model
separates the concept leadership from that of authority, delineating authority into its formal
and informal dimensions. In addition, Heifetz separates organizational change efforts into
those technical changes for which solutions already exist as distinguished from adaptive
changes which represent conflicts between current organizational values and loyalties and
future needs. In order to engage in adaptive change efforts, Heifetz (1994) suggests that
leaders must carefully diagnose the most pressing issue, determine its relative ripeness,
frame the issue and direct participants attention to it, and control the flow of information to
participants who are given the responsibility to engage in adaptive work.
Heifetz (1994) describes this process as giving the work back to the people. Yet,
leaders have important responsibilities while an organizations participants engage in
adaptive change efforts. Leaders must develop and maintain a holding environment within
which an organizations participants work through the process of adaptive change. Leaders
monitor and regulate levels of distress for those within the holding environment until the
adaptive change process is complete and organizational equilibrium is restored. The
Heifetz (1994) model provides a theoretical explanation for how leaders and members
interact during periods of adaptive organizational change.
The Feedback Loop
A cybernetic feedback loop (Birnbaum, 1988; Easton, 1965) represents a third
theoretical dimension of the process of leadership and adaptive organizational change.
Easton (1965) describes an iterative process of information exchange and response
between constituents and authorities within a closed-loop system, while Birnbaum (1988)
applies negative feedback principles in his conceptualization of self-regulating, cybernetic
4


colleges and universities. Chapter 2 contains a more detailed discussion of the relationship
of feedback loops to the process of adaptive organizational change.
A Comprehensive Model
The cybernetic feedback loop (Birnbaum, 1988; Easton, 1965) serves as a bridge
between the Bolman and Deal (1984, 1991c, 1997, 2003, 2008) and the Heifetz models,
bringing the problem-analysis and solution-development work of the leader and the
adaptive work of the members of an organization together into a single, interactive model. I
use the term, comprehensive model for leadership and adaptive organizational change, to
describe the combination of these three theoretical models into a single, hybrid model. My
complete explanation and visualization of the comprehensive model appears in Chapter 2.
Next, I turn to the case study that provides an opportunity to explore the efficacy of the
comprehensive model for explaining the process of leadership and adaptive organizational
change.
The Case at the University of Colorado
The University of Colorados Board of Regents passed a resolution in March 2005
authorizing a review of the processes for awarding and maintaining tenure at the time of
initial appointment and after a probationary period as well as the processes for post-tenure
review (Board of Regents, 2005, p. 1). The University system President, Faculty Council
Chair, and a member of the Board of Regents proposed the resolution jointly, with the
concurrence of the system-wide Faculty Council and the three campus chancellors. The
resolution recognized public concerns about tenure review processes at the University of
Colorado (Board of Regents, 2005). These public concerns coalesced around a
controversial Ethnic Studies professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder, Ward
Churchill.
5


Ward Churchill and the Intellectual Diversity Movement
Professor Churchills writings about the victims of the 2001 World Trade Center
attack, in which he describes some victims as little Eichmanns (Churchill, 2003), became
a lightning rod for concerns about other university faculty that had been building among
conservative political circles in Colorado for some time (Brennan, 2005a). In the 2004
legislative session, conservative gadfly David Horowitz led the charge for an Academic Bill
of Rights to protect students' free speech in what he described as a chilling environment
of political correctness and rampant liberalism in the academy (AAUP, 2006; Horowitz,
2006; Students for Academic Freedom, 2006). Legislation was averted through a
memorandum of understanding among university governing boards in Colorado. The
memorandum ensured academic freedom for all of Colorados public post-secondary
campuses and a transparent and widely publicized grievance process for students.
Horowitzs efforts moved from Colorado to other states, leading to the issuance of a joint
statement on intellectual diversity signed by the American Council on Education and two
dozen other higher education groups on June 23, 2005 (American Council of Trustees and
Alumni, 2005).
Colorados conservative governor, Bill Owens, called publicly for Churchill to resign
or be fired (Brennan, 2005b; Hughes & Curtin, 2005), ignoring university dismissal
processes and stoking the fires of anti-university sentiment among members of the
conservative movement. Media coverage was extensive and national in scope.
The Churchill incident rekindled worries about liberal faculty, not only in Colorado,
but across the nation. Concerns among conservatives about intellectual diversity in U.S.
universities peaked with the issuance of a report, Intellectual Diversity: Time for Action,
which opens with this statement:
6


The most serious challenge for higher education today is the lack of intellectual
diversity. It is serious, most of all, because it lies at the heart of what education is
all about. But it has been made much more serious because for decades higher
education leaders refused to acknowledge the problem. They were simply in
denial. (American Council of Trustees and Alumni, 2005, p. 1)
This project was funded by the Daniels Fund, based in Denver and led by Colorados
foremost Republican leader at the time and former U.S. Senator, Hank Brown. Brown
would later become President of the University of Colorado.
Ward Churchills Plagiarism Charges and Tenure Irregularities
A journalistic investigation into Mr. Churchills past uncovered allegations of
multiple instances of plagiarism (Brennan, Flynn, Frank, Morson, & Vaughn, 2005), which
ultimately led to his dismissal from the University (Jaschik, 2007). A newspaper report
revealed that Churchill was promoted from a classified staff position into a tenured
associate professor appointment without the customary seven-year probationary period
and without a terminal degree in his field of study (Morson, 2005). Consequently, several
legislators proposed an oversight committee for the University President and the Board of
Regents, citing a lack of confidence in the University to manage its tenure system
(Scanlon, 2005). Governor Owens called for the legislature to impose statewide tenure
standards (Ensslin, 2005). However, the Board of Regents resolution to study the
Universitys tenure-related processes derailed these political attempts to impose legislative
oversight and statewide tenure standards, legislation that could have undermined the
institutions tenure system, perhaps even calling into question the very existence of tenure
in Colorado.
The Advisory Committee on Tenure-Related Processes
The focus of this case study is the University of Colorados response to public
concerns about the quality and effectiveness of its tenure system. Rather than focus on
tenure itself, which might have led to public debates about tenures value and relevance,
7


the Regents chose to study all of the Universitys tenure-related processes. The Regents
March 2005 resolution created an Advisory Committee on Tenure-Related Processes
(ACTRP) which produced two reports, an Independent Report (Estes, 2006) and a final
report of the ACTRP (Advisory Committee on Tenure-Related Processes, 2006). The
ACTRP Report precipitated amendments to the Laws of the Regents (Board of Regents of
the University of Colorado, 2011 b), the creation of new administrative policies governing
tenure-related processes, and revisions to related existing administrative policies (Board of
Regents of the University of Colorado, 2011c; Also, see Appendix A).
In this case study, I examine the ACTRPs work as an example of adaptive
organizational change (Heifetz, 1994) in the University of Colorado system. Given the
cyclical nature of challenges to the University tenure system (Chait, 2002), I proffer the
University of Colorado case as an atypical or extreme example of a challenge to a
university tenure system. Extreme cases, like the one at the University of Colorado,
activate more constituencies and involve more processes and mechanisms than typical
cases (Flyvbjerg, 2006).
In addition, I consider this case to be an example of how a public university,
embroiled in a politically and ideologically charged controversy, undertook a series of
actions that silenced its critics and helped to restore public confidence. Todays higher
education institutions experience increased levels of scrutiny and criticism, largely resulting
from a severely resource-constrained environment (Flynn & Vredevoogd, 2010).
Institutional leaders embroiled in public controversies may learn effective response
strategies from the University of Colorado case.
The Dissertation: Questions and Methodology
In this dissertation, I use the University of Colorados response to public concerns
about the quality and effectiveness of its tenure-related processes to test the efficacy of the
8


hybrid model for leadership and organizational adaptive change. The qualitative, case-
study research method (Lincoln & Guba, 1985; Stake, 1995; Yin, 2009) is used in an
exploratory way. In the following section, I briefly describe the research questions, design,
and methodology.
Research Questions
Several overarching questions guide the study. First, to what extent does the
comprehensive model for leadership and adaptive organizational change explain the
genesis, process, and outcomes of the work of the Advisory Committee on Tenure-Related
Processes (ACTRP)? Second, do the genesis, work, and outcomes of the ACTRP inform
or suggest modifications to the comprehensive model for leadership and organizational
adaptive change? Finally, what lessons might be gleaned from the genesis, work, and
outcomes of the ACTRP for future post-secondary leaders facing public pressure for
accountability or reform? These questions explore the efficacy of the hybrid conceptual
model and offer suggestions for postsecondary leaders who wish to use it as a conceptual
framework for leadership.
Research Design
Case-study methodology forms the research design for this study and is grounded
in the work of Yin (2009) and Stake (1995). The unit of analysis is a single case, namely
the work of the Advisory Committee on Tenure-Related Processes (ACTRP), an ad hoc
committee of the University of Colorado Board of Regents. The ACTRP qualifies as a
single-case study and is appropriate for examining the hybrid conceptual model because it
is an extreme and unique example of an entire university system adapting its tenure
system in response to a crisis (Yin, 2009). To date, my research has identified no other
American university system that has engaged in a similar endeavor.
9


Stake (1995) argues that the boundaries of a single case should be clearly
defined. To address this issue, I established chronological boundaries for the ACTRP case,
from the period leading to its formation in spring 2005 through its final report to the Board
of Regents in November 2006. The case is also bounded by the participants in the
process, including institutional leaders as well as participants in both formally structured
and ad hoc committees assigned work as part of the ACTRP process. The circumstances
of the ACTRP case allow for clear boundaries to be established.
The research for this study relies upon multiple sources of evidence, including
meeting agendas, minutes, and official reports. In addition, participant interviews and
verbatim transcripts inform the study. Media articles contribute to the study as well. All
evidence is available to other researchers. This approach adds construct validity to the
research design (Yin, 2009), which I describe more fully in Chapter 6.
Role of the Researcher
During the ACTRPs existence, I played an active role as a member of the ACTRP
and the committees chair. I did not know at the time that I would eventually use the
ACTRP as the subject of my dissertation, nor was the hybrid model for leadership and
adaptive organizational change fully conceived. It was only during the final month of the
ACTRPs existence that I developed a draft dissertation prospectus with initial thoughts
about a theoretical model and the ACTRP as a potential case study. Consequently, my role
in the ACTRP does not meet the criteria of participant observation (Burgess, 1984).
Jorgensen (1989) articulates the methodological goal of participant observation as
aimfing] to generate practical and theoretical truths about human life grounded in the
realities of daily existence (p. 14). Participant observation is especially appropriate when
little is known about the phenomenon under investigation and when important differences
exist between the views of insiders as opposed to outsiders (Jorgensen, 1989). Burgess
10


(1984) explicates four possible research identities assumed by participant observers. Of
the four, one could argue that I operated as a complete participant, one who operates
covertly, concealing any intention to observe the setting (p. 154), although this would be
an incomplete description of my actual role. ACTRP members were not aware that I would
eventually document the committees work in a case study, although several members
went so far as to suggest at various points in the process, including comments made in
public sessions, that I should write a book about the ACTRP and tell its story. However, I
did not determine the subject or methodology of my dissertation during the ACTRPs
existence, nor during that time did I acknowledge to an ACTRP member that I was
contemplating a line of research for my dissertation that involved the committees work.
Because I did not make the decision to study the ACTRP until its work was
completed, the research I pursued for the dissertation did not align with the customary
practices of participant observation. These ethnographic practices include the customary
concerns of entering the field, earning the trust of the subjects, balancing ethical concerns
with maintaining access to the community, and ensuring sufficient objectivity in the process
to not go native (Waddington, 2004). I did not prepare field notes after each ACTRP
session, nor did I refrain from exercising the chairs prerogative to ensure some of the
ACTRP outcomes. Consequently, my study cannot be considered an exemplar of the
participant-observation research tradition, even though one might initially conclude that I
operated as a complete participant in the process (Burgess, 1984).
In addition to my role as a participant in and chair of the ACTRP, I served during
this period as provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of Colorado
at Denver and Health Sciences Center. In this role, I had formal authority in the review of
faculty for tenure and promotion on the Denver and Health Sciences campuses. Some of
the participants in the ACTRP process and in the dissertation interviews were faculty
11


members on those campuses. Consequently, the research design took elaborate steps to
ensure the anonymity of those faculty members in the interview process.
Researcher Bias
Because I had an unusual level of access to the case and significant influence
over its outcomes as ACTRP Chair, my research design attempts to ameliorate the high
potential for researcher bias. I deployed several strategies to counteract possible bias.
These include grounding the case in the evidence available to another researcher who
would not have similar access, using multiple forms of data including documents and
interviews, analyzing the data as objectively as possible using primarily quasi-statistical
methods of qualitative data analysis, using multiple methods of data analysis thereby
increasing triangulation, and validating my observations and conclusions through additional
triangulation methods like member-checking (Yin, 2009). Efforts to ameliorate inherent
researcher bias inform the research design, which I articulate briefly in the following
sections and describe more fully in Chapter 6.
Document Review and Data Analysis
The research process began with an organization and review of ACTRP-related
documents. These included the following: (a) minutes, handouts, and presentation
materials from Colorado Board of Regents meetings and study sessions from March 2005
through November 2006; (b) agendas, minutes, handouts, and presentation materials from
all ACTRP meetings; (c) official ACTRP Reports, including the Independent Report and the
ACTRP Report', (d) media articles covering the ACTRP and events leading to its creation;
and (e) all Regent laws, policies, and administrative policy statements related to tenure-
related processes both before and after the ACTRPs work.
Next, I analyzed a subset of the above materials a posteriori using three quasi-
statistical qualitative research methods: constant comparative analysis (Strauss & Corbin,
12


1998), word count (Stemler, 2001), and keywords-in-context (KWIC) (Fielding & Lee, 1991,
1998). I also deployed a priori, qualitative analysis, using the classical content analysis
method (Neuendorf, 2002). Quasi-statistical methods of data analysis were used first to
reduce the possibility of researcher bias, given my active role as a member and chair of the
ACTRP.
Interviews and Data Analysis
The interview process represented the second strategy for research, and served
as a triangulation method for the document analysis. Interview transcripts provided
additional material for analysis and offered member-checking opportunities against
preliminary findings (Krathwohl, 1998). Elaborate procedures were undertaken to ensure
the anonymity of most participants. These procedures are described in detail in Chapter 6.
Seven separate focus groups convened for one-hour interview sessions each.
The total possible non-duplicated population of focus-group participants was 89. Actual
participants numbered 23 or 26% of the total population. Participants in focus groups were
segregated into sessions by committee as follows: (a) members of the 2005 CU-System
Faculty Council that requested the launch of the study on tenure-related processes, (b)
members of the 2005-2006 CU Board of Regents that passed the motion creating the
ACTRP and received its final report, (c) the internal working-group members who identified
recommendations for the Independent Report, (d) members of the Advisory Committee on
Tenure-Related Processes, and (e) members of the Academic Policy Working Group,
comprised of faculty members of the CU-System-wide Educational Policy and University
Standards Committee and the Faculty Council Executive Committee that worked on policy
language to implement the recommendations of the ACTRP The focus groups were
segregated by committee, so that the perspective of one committee would not influence the
13


perspective of another committee in focus-group sessions. Individuals who participated on
more than one committee participated in only one focus group of their choice.
In addition, a population of four key leaders in the ACTRP process was identified
and all four of these key leaders were interviewed separately in one-hour interviews. The
individual interview participants included Elizabeth Hoffman, President of the University of
Colorado system at the time the tenure study was authorized; Howell M. Estes, III
(hereafter referred to as General Estes), a retired Air Force General who served as the
director of the independent study and author of the Independent Report, Hank Brown, the
CU-System President who received the ACTRP recommendations and approved
subsequent policy changes; and Rodney Muth, a tenured full professor on the Denver
campus and Chair of the CU-System Faculty Council at the time the tenure study was
authorized.
All focus-group and individual interview sessions were conducted in-person with a
professional third-party interviewer using a semi-structured interview protocol. I introduced
the interviewer to the subject and theoretical construct of the dissertation and provided an
interview protocol to follow. The interviewer and interview process and protocol were
reviewed and approved by the University Human Subjects Research Committee (HSRC) at
the University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center. All contact with
participants was handled indirectly through the use of a third-party administrative assistant.
Focus-group sessions and individual interviews were recorded and transcribed by a third-
party transcription service. Aliases were used by each focus-group participant and the
transcription reflected the use of those aliases. Thus, anonymity was preserved for focus-
group participants in terms of my awareness of who participated. The interviewer, the
administrative assistant who coordinated the interviews and focus groups, and the
14


transcriber treated their roles and their work confidentially. All three were compensated for
their services.
The four leaders who participated in individual interviews did not maintain their
anonymity as each was considered to be a public figure. In addition, my role as provost
had no meaningful authority in relation to each of them. These individuals are named in the
study and quotes are attributed to each individually throughout the dissertation.
The interview protocol was designed to explore questions that emerged from the
document analysis phase of the study. Additional questions focused on the tenure-study
process and outcomes and the degree to which the conceptual model might account for
what occurred during each level of the process. In addition to the questions in the protocol,
some follow-up questions were asked and some open discussion was prompted by topics
that emerged in the interview. The independent interviewer made every effort to restrict the
line of questioning to the ACTRP, its context, and the conceptual model.
Data from the transcribed interviews were analyzed using the same qualitative
analysis tools as those deployed for the document analysis. Analysis of the interviews
continued until saturation (see Chapter 6, p. 117) with both the document-data analysis
and interview-data analysis were reached.
Analysis of Themes Using Conceptual Framework
Upon completion of the document, focus-group, and interview-data analysis, I
compared the data across sources for similarities and differences, sorted codes into
categories, and developed themes. I then compared these emergent themes with the
conceptual framework of the comprehensive model for leadership and adaptive
organizational change. This process identified elements of the conceptual model that did
not appear in the data analysis as well as thematic elements identified in the data analyses
that were not accounted for within the conceptual framework. From this comparative
15


thematic analysis, I propose modifications to the hybrid model for leadership and adaptive
organizational change.
Summary
I use this study to develop a comprehensive conceptual model for leadership and
adaptive organizational change. To explore the efficacy of this model, I examine the
genesis, work, and outcomes of the Advisory Committee on Tenure-Related Processes, an
ad hoc committee of the University of Colorado Board of Regents using a case-study
approach. The rationale for using the qualitative, single case-study method is outlined and I
briefly discuss the research design, leaving the more detailed discussion for Chapter 6.
The research determines the extent to which the ACTRPs genesis, process, work, and
outcomes are explained by the comprehensive model for leadership and adaptive
organizational change. Findings lead to proposed changes to the conceptual model and
suggest approaches for future leaders who face public calls for institutional change.
Dissertation Structure
I chose to adapt the traditional chapter format to align with the dissertations
research design. Chapter 1 serves as an introduction to the study, offering a brief overview
of the conceptual model and providing background for the case study. In addition I briefly
describe the research design and methodology deployed. In Chapter 2, I both explicate
and visualize the comprehensive theoretical model for leadership and adaptive
organizational change.
The literature review begins in Chapter 2, as I explain the theoretical model, and
continues in Chapters 3 through 5. Chapter 3 contains a review of the concept of schema
theory as the foundation for social cognition and examines the evolution of leadership
theory as schemata for leader comprehension. In Chapter 4, I explore framing schemata,
including the Bolman and Deal construct, review a variety of leadership and higher-
16


education metaphors, and offer a summary of research related to Bolman and Deals four-
frame model. I conclude the literature review in Chapter 5 with a review of work by and
about Heifetz and his theoretical construct and report the results of my search for research
or theoretical studies combining Bolman and Deals (1984, 1991c, 1997, 2003, 2008)
theory with the Heifetz (1994) model.
In Chapter 6, I describe my research methodology, including the research tradition
underpinning the study. I provide details about such aspects as sampling, data collection
techniques, and data analysis. Chapters 7 through 10 contain the data analysis and
findings from the research process detailed in Chapter 6.
I report the results of the document analysis of agendas and minutes from the
ACTRPs work in Chapter 7, while Chapters 8 and 9 contain the results of document
analyses of the Independent Report and the ACTRP Report, respectively. Chapter 10
contains the summary and analysis of focus-group and individual interview sessions,
placed within the component parts of the theoretical model. In Chapters 7 through 10,1
also begin to analyze the results and draw initial conclusions.
In Chapter 11,1 present the studys findings, suggesting ways in which the
research informs and alters the comprehensive leadership model for organizational
adaptive change. Chapter 11 also contains a final assessment of the study's limitations as
well as suggested areas for future research. Finally, I offer suggestions about how the
amended hybrid model can be used by future leaders in academe to more effectively
manage external pressures for institutional change.
17


CHAPTER 2
A COMPREHENSIVE MODEL FOR LEADERSHIP
AND ADAPTIVE ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE
In Chapter 1, I introduced three theoretical models that inform this study. First, the
four-frame leadership model (Bolman & Deal, 1984, 1991c, 1997, 2003, 2008) offers
lenses through which leaders can view and diagnose problems and develop solutions.
Second, Heifetz (1994) articulates a distributed leadership model for adaptive
organizational change. Finally, a cybernetic feedback loop (Birnbaum, 1988; Easton, 1965)
introduces negative feedback into an organizational system, thereby allowing for self-
correcting processes to restore equilibrium and acceptable behaviors. In the following
sections, I first provide a detailed explanation of each of these theoretical models in this
chapter. Next, I offer a hybrid model which presents all three theories in relationship to one
another as a comprehensive model for leadership and adaptive organizational change.
Finally, I represent each theory and the combined model visually to facilitate
understanding.
Bolman and Deals Four-Frame Model
Bolman and Deal (1984, 1991c, 1997, 2003, 2008) propose a four-frame model
from which leaders can decode problems and develop solutions that address the complex
forces operating within organizations. They describe this analytical process as reframing,
a leaders ability to understand and use multiple perspectives, to think about the same
thing in more than one way (Bolman & Deal, 2003, p. 5). They describe four frames,
referring metaphorically to picture frames through which a leader might view a situation in
order to make sense of it or understand its meaning. The four frames are labeled
structural, human resource, political, and symbolic. Each is described below.
18


The Structural Frame
Using the structural frame, a leader views an organization through its formal roles
and relationships, laws and policies, and systems for planning and control. Using the
structural frame, a leader examines a problem by analyzing its policies, processes, and
structures. Bolman and Deal (2003, 2008) describe this mental orientation metaphorically
as a factory mindset, perhaps best typified by Taylors (1911) factory studies at the
beginning of the twentieth century.
Several assumptions serve as the foundation for the structural frame. Goals and
objectives comprise the primary reason for any organizations existence. With a focus on
efficiency and effectiveness, performance goals are best achieved through division of labor
and specialization (Weber, 1947). Consequently, it becomes essential for an organization
to coordinate and control the work performed so that highly specialized workers can
perform together in concert with one another. Rationality must take precedence over
personal agendas or outside pressures. Structures are designed to fit current
circumstances. Finally, problems likely arise because of structural deficiencies and can be
fixed by rational analysis and restructuring the work or the organization (Bolman & Deal,
2008). The structural frame assumes that logical structures, effective policies, and efficient
processes will lead to highly successful and productive organizations.
The theoretical underpinnings for the structural frame rest with early research by
industrial analysts who sought to design organizational work and structures to achieve
maximum efficiency (Bolman & Deal, 2008; Gulick & Urwick, 1937; Taylor, 1911).
Sociologist Max Weber (1947) articulated the ideal bureaucratic model, one grounded in
hierarchy, rules, and employment based on technical qualifications, in response to earlier,
more patriarchal forms of organizational philosophy (Bolman & Deal, 2008). Later
sociological theorists like Thompson (1967) evolved Webers rigid hierarchy into a more
19


flexible view of organizational structure, one which responds more organically to rationally
face and solve problems in an uncertain environment (Bolman & Deal, 2008).
The Human-Resource Frame
Bolman and Deal (1984, 1991c, 1997, 2003, 2008) argue, however, that problems
are more complex and require more than structural solutions. What, for example, might the
people affected by an organizational reform think, and what impact will reforms have on
how people within the organization feel about their employer? Will their loyalty to the
organization be damaged by the proposed structural changes? These questions do not
naturally emerge through a structural analysis, but would potentially be raised when using
a human resource frame to consider a complex problem.
Much of the human-resource frame focuses on what organizations and people do
with and for one another. The human-resource frame attends to the fit between each
individual and the organizationindividuals find meaningful and satisfying work, and
organizations get the talent and energy they need to succeed (Bolman & Deal, 2003, p.
115). Success can be gauged by how much people feel a part of what Bolman and Deal
(2003, 2008) describe metaphorically as the organizations sense of family.
Several assumptions guide thinking in the human-resource frame. As opposed to
the structural theorists, in the human-resource frame organizations exist primarily to meet
human needs. A symbiotic relationship exists between people and organizations
organizations need ideas, energy, and talent; people need careers, salaries, and
opportunities (Bolman & Deal, 2008, p. 122). The matter of fit between the individual and
the organization becomes essential. When the fit is poor, the individual is exploited by or
exploits the organization. When the fit is right, both the individual and the organization
thrive. The human-resource frame focuses on achieving a balanced and mutually
beneficial relationship between individual and organization.
20


Follett (1918) and Mayo (1933,1945) questioned the psychology of the dominant
management paradigm that limited workers rights to little more than a paycheck, arguing
that peoples abilities, commitment, and energy were actually resources that organizations
needed for success (Bolman & Deal, 2008). Psychologist Abraham Maslow (1954) posited
that people are motivated by a hierarchy of needs, from the most basic needs like food and
shelter, to more sophisticated needs like love and belonging, self-esteem and, ultimately
self-actualization, or realizing ones greatest potential. Despite its popularity and influence,
Maslows theory has been difficult to validate (Bolman & Deal, 2008).
Nevertheless, others have built upon Maslows (1954) theory of human needs.
McGregor (1960), for instance, articulated the concept that managers assumptions about
employees tend to become self-fulfilling prophecies, a concept that he labeled Theory X
(Bolman & Deal, 2008). In response McGregor (1960) devised a remedy, called Theory
Y, based on Maslow's (1954) concept of self-actualization. Theory Y suggests that
managers should create the conditions and rewards that motivate employees to direct their
energies toward reaching organizational objectives (Bolman & Deal, 2008). Argyris
(1957,1964) argued that organizations treated employees like children and that employees,
in turn, develop methods of resistance to cope with their frustrations: withdrawing,
becoming apathetic, resisting through deception and sabotage, climbing the hierarchy to
escape to better jobs, forming alliances, or teaching their children that work is unrewarding
and advancement is hopeless (Bolman & Deal, 2008). These theories refocus managerial
attention and strategy toward individual flourishing and self-direction in support of
organizational success.
The Political Frame
Bolman and Deals (1984, 1991c, 1997, 2003, 2008) political frame views
organizations as coalitions of diverse individuals and groups [who have]. . enduring
21


differences . values, beliefs, information, interests, and perceptions of reality (2003, p.
186). The political frame focuses on scarcity of resources and the contest to claim them.
Bolman and Deal (2003, 2008) describe the political frame metaphorically as a jungle, with
individuals and groups fighting for survival.
Their political frame asserts that organizations operate as coalitions of individuals
within interest groups (Bolman & Deal, 2003). Different coalitions have different values,
beliefs, and perceptions of reality. Key organizational decisions rest in the allocation of
scarce resources. Because organizational resources can never be sufficient to meet the
differing needs of competing coalitions, conflict operates at the center of organizations, and
power is an organizations most important asset. Finally, competing coalitions bargain and
negotiate over power and resources; from these negotiations, organizational goals are set
and decisions are made (Bolman & Deal, 2008).
Bolman and Deals (1984) conceptualization of the political frame rests on the work
of Cyert and March (1963), who rejected the prevailing economic theory that businesses
were "corporations, or a single entity focused on generating profits. Instead, Cyert and
March (1963) argued that these organizations were actually coalitions comprised of
individuals and smaller sub-coalitions, with organizational goals emerging from
negotiations among special interest coalitions. Coalitions survive if they can garner
sufficient resources (e g., money, time, power) to entice individuals to join and remain
(Bolman & Deal, 2008). Authority and power are key resources in negotiations over scarce
resources. Theorists (Baldridge, 1971; Heifetz, 1994; Kanter, 1977; Kotter, 1982, 1985;
Pfeffer, 1981, 1992) devised multiple schemata to understand the sources and uses of
authority and power. Additionally, Heffron (1989) outlines the beneficial role of conflict in
organizations to generate new ideas and foster innovation, while Heifetz and Linsky
(2002a) suggest that a leaders role is to modulate inevitable levels of conflict. Bolman and
22


Deal (1984, 1991c, 1997, 2003, 2008) assemble these facets of organizational politics into
a schematic frame to assist leaders in decoding problems and devising solutions.
The Symbolic Frame
Bolman and Deal (1984, 1991c, 1997, 2003, 2008) view the symbolic frame as a
way to understand the basic issues of meaning and belief that underpin an organizations
value system (2003, p. 242). The symbolic frame provides a window into an organizations
culture, its metaphorical temple or theater, where ceremonies are performed, myths are
created and handed down, and stories are told. Bolman and Deal (2003) describe culture
as both product and process (p. 243). As a product, [culture] embodies accumulated
wisdom from those who came before us. As a process, it is constantly renewed and re-
created as newcomers learn the old ways and eventually become teachers themselves
(Bolman & Deal, 2003, p. 244). In the symbolic realm, ritual and ceremony bring order and
predictability to help participants deal with dilemmas too complex, mysterious, or random
to be controlled otherwise (Bolman & Deal, 2003, p. 260).
Several key assumptions underlie the symbolic frame. Culture brings people
together and helps an organization to achieve its desired outcomes. People create
symbols and rituals to make meaning in uncertain or ambiguous situations, resolve
confusion, or create hope. Activity and meaning are coupled, yet open to multiple
interpretations due to the different experiences individuals bring to an organization. Events
and processes are viewed as more important for what they say rather than what is
accomplished by them. In the symbolic realm, individuals are focused less on what
happens, but more on the meaning that is construed from activities, events, and processes
(Bolman & Deal, 2008).
The symbolic frame is grounded in research and theory spanning the disciplines of
sociology, political science, psychology, and anthropology, among others (Bolman & Deal,
23


2008). Campbell (1988), for example, describes myths as humanitys way of constructing
the meaning for and significance of living as well as fostering community among disparate
individuals. Organizational myths also are important for creating a common culture and a
shared set of beliefs, sentiments, and ways of living together (Clark, 1975). In addition,
stories offer examples of heroes, convey morals, and offer new paradigms for
organizational change (Denning, 2005; Gardner, 2004). Similarly, rituals and ceremonies
performed in an organization often mean more than the words spoken and convey many
meanings simultaneously (Moore & Meyerhoff, 1977). Rituals of initiation, rites of passage,
and ceremonial occasions to recognize accomplishments and mourn losses are just a few
of the rituals evident in organizational cultures (Bolman & Deal, 2008).
Together, myths and stories, rituals and ceremonies, and products and processes
create a set of shared assumptions about the world and common mechanisms for adapting
to the external environment that are learned and handed down as the right way of
perceiving and behaving. This is organizational culture (Schein, 1985, 1992). Sometimes
cultural assumptions are embedded so deeply in an organization that they do not reveal
themselves until a violation of the cultural norms has occurred (Schein, 1985). These are
the underlying premises of the symbolic frame (Bolman & Deal, 2008).
Multiframe Thinking
Leaders aim to make sense of organizations and to determine the meaning of a
particular set of circumstances, behaviors, or activities (Hanges, Lord, & Dickson, 2000).
The ability to frame effectively becomes a chief tool in a leaders effort to diagnose a
problem, articulate it to the organization, and foster change (Fairhurst & Sarr, 1996).
Bolman and Deal (1984, 1991c, 1997, 2003, 2008) argue that an effective leader must
deploy multiframe thinking to effectively understand a problem and develop successful
organizational coping strategies. Yet, the majority of leaders operate using a single or
24


perhaps no more than two frames for analysis and problem solving (Bolman & Deal, 1991).
To be successful, leaders should cultivate analytical skills in all four framesstructural,
human resource, political, and symbolicin order to fully understand the dimensions of the
problem at hand, and to devise solutions that will address the problem with all four frames
in mind. This requires changing ones analytical schema, or mental model, for leadership
and organizational change.
A Visual, Conceptual Model for Bolman and Deals Frames
The Bolman and Deal (1984, 1991c, 1997, 2003, 2008) model can be visually
represented as a two-stage process. In the first stage, as shown in Figure 2.1, the leader
considers the structural, human resource, political, and symbolic dimensions of any given
problem.
Figure 2.1. The Bolman and Deal (1984, 1991c, 1997, 2003, 2008) model as a set of
analytical lenses through which to view a specific problem.
The second stage requires that strategies pursued or solutions proposed by leaders to
address specific problems take into account structural, human resource, political, and
symbolic dimensions as part of a complete response (see Figure 2.2). In Figure 2.3, stages
25


!
Figure 2.2. The Bolman and Deal (1984, 1991c, 1997, 2003, 2008) model as a set of
analytical tools to develop strategic solutions for addressing organizational problems.
Figure 2.3. The Bolman and Deal (1984, 1991c, 1997, 2003, 2008) combined model of
problem analysis and strategic solution development.
26


one and two of the Bolman and Deal model are combined into a single visual model that
captures the four-frame model, and its deployment as a set of analytical lenses through
which to both view problems and develop strategic solutions. A circle circumscribes the
leadership solution space, wherein leaders consider how to respond to a particular problem
and how to engage the organization in adaptive change aimed at sustainable solutions.
Heifetzs Model of Leadership and Organizational Adaptive Change
As creative and useful as Bolman and Deals (1984, 1991c, 1997, 2003, 2008)
four-frame model is, other conceptual elements are needed to fully explain the interface of
leadership and adaptive organizational change. Complementing Bolman and Deal, Heifetz
(1994; Heifetz & Linsky, 2002a) articulates a leadership model that engenders adaptive
work by engaging members of an organization in solving the organizations problems. This
leadership model delineates formal from informal authority in exercising leadership. Heifetz
(1994) also contrasts adaptive organizational change with the more routine technical work
undertaken by organizations. Heifetz (1994; Heifetz & Linsky, 2002a) proposes specific
leadership strategies for promoting adaptive work. Together, these concepts offer a
conceptual model for leadership in adaptive-change environments. Each concept is
described in the following sections.
Authority
Heifetz (1994) describes leadership not in terms of power, social status, or
personality characteristics, but rather as an activity. Taking this approach, Heifetz
decouples leadership from organizational positions and individuals in positions, focusing
instead on what people do in an organization. A President and a clerk can both lead . .
[there are] many different ways in which people exercise plenty of leadership everyday
without 'being leaders (p. 20). This decoupling raises questions about the nature and
locus of power within organizations. To address these questions, Heifetz distinguishes the
27


concept of leadership from that of authority, separating authority into its formal and informal
dimensions.
Authority is conferred power to perform a service (Heifetz, 1994, p. 57),
recognizing the importance of the follower and the negotiated nature of power between
followers and a leader. Formal authority is conferred because the officeholder promises to
meet a set of explicit expectations, and informal authority comes from promising to meet
expectations that are often left implicit (p. 101). Explicit expectations associated with
formal authority include job descriptions, legislated mandates, while implicit expectations
associated with informal authority include concepts like trustworthiness, ability, integrity,
civility, and the like. Distinguishing authority from leadership creates a conceptual
framework that allows leadership to occur throughout an organization, regardless of
position. Thus, leaders can gauge their informal authority to determine whether they may
lead change efforts that extend beyond the formal boundaries of their organizational
position.
Heifetz (1994) grounds his conceptualization of authority in sociological studies of
status and deference in primate colonies as well as the correlation of high-ranked status to
control and service functions (Mazur, 1973). He also contrasts authority with power, which
is grounded in physical dominance, coercion, or habitual deference displayed when one
person commands another to hurt a third (Milgram, 1965). Authority, in Heifetzs view, can
be given and taken away depending on whether or not the person with authority meets the
expectations of those conferring the authority. This implies an exchange of authority that is
based on a bargain struck between the person in authority and those conferring it (Pfeffer,
1981, 1992).
Some economists and political scientists suggest that as long as the person in
authority is able to meet the terms of the bargain, those conferring the authority will allow
28


that person informal authority to exceed the original limits of formal authority (Hollander,
1978, Fiorina & Shepsle, 1989). These social scientists describe followers as principals in
the authority dynamic, and leaders as agents. Leaders (or agents) must accurately gauge
their level of both formal and informal authority to determine whether or not followers (or
principals) will support their efforts to effect individual and organizational change.
Nature of the Work
Heifetz (1994) focuses his model on the role of and strategies exercised by the
leader in stimulating adaptive work that precipitates sustainable organizational change:
Adaptive work consists of the learning required to address conflicts in the values
people hold, or to diminish the gap between the values people stand for and the
reality they face . The exposure and orchestration of conflictinternal
contradictionswithin individuals and constituencies provide the leverage for
mobilizing people to learn new ways. (p. 22)
Adaptive work, then, involves both individual and collective learning.
Heifetz (1994) contrasts adaptive change with technical work; that is, work for
which a problem definition, a solution, and prescribed activities for implementing that
solution already exist. In instances of technical work, followers expect that the system of
formal authority will address the problem effectively. Both leaders and followers understand
their roles and responsibilities and the agreed-to methods for solving the problem.
When adaptive change is needed, however, the problem-definition, solution, and
implementation strategies are unknown and the situation may be in conflict with prevailing
values, beliefs, and behaviors. While followers often look to formal authority to define and
solve these fundamental conflicts, Heifetz (1994) argues that leaders must respond in
ways that promote adaptive work by followersin essence, leaders must place followers in
a situation where they learn how to change in ways that respond effectively to the changing
environment.
29


How does a leader orchestrate adaptive work? Heifetz (1994) articulates six
strategies that leaders can use to affect organizational change through adaptive work:
identification of the adaptive challenge, determination of the relative ripeness of issues and
directing attention to ripening issues rather than diversions, creation of a holding
environment for adaptive work to keep distress within a productive range, controlling the
flow of information to be considered by followers in their adaptive work, framing the issues
to be addressed, and giving the work back to the people who need to undergo the adaptive
change, giving back the work at a rate that they can manage. These six strategies
represent the core of Heifetzs prescription for affecting adaptive organizational change
through follower learning. Each strategy is examined briefly below.
Identifying the Adaptive Challenge
The leaders most important task rests in the ability to successfully diagnose the
primary adaptive challenge facing an organization. The values at stake must be clearly
identified by the leader. Attitudes, habits, and relationships that hamper change must be
accurately understood. Complicating issues must be separated from those which are more
fundamental and essential for the organization to address. Sorting through the maze of
organizational culture and activity to identify and focus on the underlying adaptive
challenge remains a difficult, elusive, and yet essential task for leaders seeking adaptive
organizational change (Heifetz, 1994).
Ripeness of Issues
The matter of ripeness (Heifetz, 1994), relates to the relative urgency that an issue
has in the minds of people. While Heifetz does not attribute the origin of the ripeness
concept, it mirrors the legal doctrine of ripeness, wherein lawyers determine the readiness
of a case for litigation (Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, 2011). Heifetz
describes ripeness as urgency, well framed, [that] promotes adaptive work (p. 116). Thus,
30


leaders must gauge whether followers have fixed their attention on the issue that most
requires adaptive work; if not, a leader must determine whether to invoke authoritative
action, thereby accelerating the ripeness of a particular issue, to the exclusion of other
items of pressing concern.
Ripeness also can arise naturally in an organization. A leader who is attuned to an
issues ripeness can capitalize on the opportunity to stimulate adaptive work. However,
ripeness can be orchestrated and conflict created if a leader determines that the adaptive
work is essential for the organizations survival or success. The leader diagnoses and
sometimes orchestrates the issue's degree of ripeness and, once sufficiently ripe,
determines how best to place the organization in a holding environment to promote
adaptive change (Heifetz, 1994; Heifetz & Linsky, 2002a).
Holding Environment
The creation of a holding environment represents a core leadership strategy for
containing the stresses associated with adaptive work in organizations. While Sample
(2002) describes a holding environment as a leader's passive deferral of decision making,
Heifetz (1994) describes a holding environment as any relationship in which one party has
the power to hold the attention of another party and facilitate adaptive work (pp. 104-105).
For Heifetz, a holding environment generates adaptive work, because it creates a
boundary that contains and regulates the stresses that [adaptive] work generates" (p.
105). A leader who attempts to create a holding environment, however, needs to gauge the
degree of informal authority granted to the leader by the followers. A high degree of
informal authority must be granted to the leader in order for the leader to weather the
inevitable and potentially dangerous conflicts that erupt among the followers placed in
holding environments designed to affect systemic change.
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Heifetz (1994) traces the conceptual roots of holding environments to
psychoanalysis, where the term refers to the ability of therapist to hold the patient in a
developmental learning process akin to a parent holding an infant or toddler closely when
the child is in distress until the child is able to calm down and adjust to the circumstances
that caused the initial distress (Kegan, 1982; Modell, 1976; Shapiro, 1982; Winnicott,
1965). The leader, like the therapist, is able to leverage a network of cohesive bonds and
authority relationships among members of the community into a mutually desired state of
developmental learning and adaptive work (Heifetz, 1994, p. 240). Authority, both formal
and informal, is essential for maintaining the holding environment and regulating the
stresses of adaptive work, particularly during the early stages of organizational change
(Heifetz, 1994).
Framing Issues, Controlling Information Flow, Directing Attention
Other strategies advanced by Heifetz (1994)framing the issues, directing
attention, and controlling the flow of informationare deployed within the holding
environment constructed by a leader. Framing issues for the organization provides
constructs for people to undertake adaptive work rather than become overwhelmed by the
complexity of or inherent danger in a situation. Pacing and sequencing the release of
information to people undertaking adaptive work is critical to the success of that work, as
too much information presented all at once could paralyze followers or cause them to reject
adaptive work by blaming the leader. Directing attention to key facets of released
information keeps followers from pursuing less stressful diversions. These techniques also
contribute to the leaders ability to maintain focus in and pressure on the organization to
see its adaptive work through to a sustainable solution.
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Giving Work Back to the People
Heifetz (1994) further suggests that truly adaptive situations require the active
participation of the primary stakeholders, or followers, in an organization. Rather than
relying on autocratic approaches, a leader should focus on empowering followers to
engage in problem solving that will lead to changes in values, attitudes, habits, and
relationships that are at the heart of the adaptive challenge. Hence, giving the work back
to the people leads to individual and group changes of both hearts and minds in an
organization, the foundation of adaptive organizational change (p. 121).
Pacing of the work, then, becomes an important task for the leader. One must
judge how much pressure to apply to those working within the holding environment, so as
not to give people more pressure or more adaptive work than they can tolerate. The leader
must constantly monitor the stress and disequilibrium operating within the organization
during periods of adaptive change, then calibrate accurately the amount of work or
pressure that individuals can accept without falling into paralysis or resorting to rebellion.
Heifetz (1994) likens the role of the leader within this dynamic as living on the razors
edge (p. 127).
A Visual, Conceptual Model for Heifetzs Leadership Construct
This section translates Heifetz's (1994) model of leadership and organizational
adaptive change into a three-stage visual model. The first stage, represented in Figure 2.4,
captures the leadership-solution space. Here, leaders determine the scope and boundaries
of the adaptive change needed by the organization. Once the need for adaptive change is
determined, a leader assesses the relative ripeness of the issues involved, how best to
frame the issues for organizational members, what information should be released to the
organization at any given moment, and how the organizations attention should be directed.
33


Figure 2.5 shows the organizational dimension of the Heifetz (1994) model. The
organizations holding environment is circumscribed; within this boundary the organization
works toward adaptive change. The effect of the leaders solution strategy on the holding
environment is depicted. Here, the leaders effect, beyond the creation and maintenance of
the holding environment, includes the control of information, direction of attention, and
issue framing. By giving the work back to the people, which is undertaken in the holding
environment, Heifetz (1994) concludes that this approach has the greatest likelihood of
fostering adaptive organizational change.
Figure 2.6 assembles the elements of Figure 2.4 and Figure 2.5 into the complete
Heifetz model, from the leaders determination of an opportunity for adaptive change and
creation of the holding environment, through the organizations adaptive work. The model
includes the elements of information flow, issue framing, and attention direction, as
conceived by Heifetz (1994).
Figure 2.4. The solution space and strategic decisions for leadership as conceived by
Heifetz (1994).
34


Frame Issues
Control Information Flow
Direct Attention
Figure 2.5. The organizational holding environment for adaptive change as conceived by
leadership and areas of leadership control and framing from Heifetz (1994).
Assess Authority Level
Identify the Adaptive Challenge
Determine Issue Ripeness
Create Holding Environment
ORGANIZATIONAL SOLUTION
SPACE
Figure 2.6. Visual representation of the complete Heifetz (1994) model for role of
leadership in affecting adaptive organizational change.
35


While Figure 2.6 captures key elements of the Heifetz (1994) model, it fails to
account for what may be happening among constituents as they work within the holding
environment and the effect this may have on leadership strategy. Nor does it incorporate
the leaders process of diagnosing organizational problems and developing solutions
proposed by Bolman and Deal (1984, 1991c, 1997, 2003, 2008). This gap in interactivity
between the people within an organization undertaking adaptive change and the leader
requires the addition of another component in the theoretical model: a cybernetic feedback
loop. I describe this additional component in the next section.
The Feedback Loop
Easton (1965) examines political systems and develops a general theoretical
model to explain how such systems operate. A feedback loop represents a key component
of Eastons (1965) theory, which he explains in this way:
There is a feedback loop the identification of which will help us explain the
processes through which the authorities may cope with stress ... it consists of the
production of outputs by the authorities, a response on the part of the members of
the society with respect to them, the communication of information about this
response to the authorities and finally, possible succeeding actions on the part of
authorities. Thereby a new round of outputs, response, (p. 28)
Easton (1965) suggests that this iterative process of leadership output, member response,
leadership adjustment, leadership output, and member response provides a method for
coping with stress in a political system. The flow of information through the feedback loop
has multiple dimensions: (a) the volume and accuracy of the information provided, (b)
delays in transmission of the information, (c) the direction of information flow, and (d) the
behavior that comes in response to the information received. Easton (1965) attributes the
concept of feedback to Wiener (1954, p. 33) and indicates that a feedback loop provides a
means for an organization, and persons in authority within it, to learn from experience and
apply that learning to new and different circumstances (Easton, 1965).
36


In contrast, Birnbaum (1988) focuses on the function of negative feedback as part
of a self-regulating, cybernetic system and applies this concept specifically to colleges and
universities. With homage to Morgan (1986) and Cyert and March (1963) among others,
Birnbaum (1988), coins the term cybernetic institutions to describe those colleges that use
both vertical and horizontal systems of negative feedback to detect and self- correct
problems that may arise. Birnbaums (1988) conceptualization differs from Eastons (1965)
in that he considers the focus of cybernetic systems and sub-systems in higher education
to be concentrated on a limited number of inputs rather than outputs. He frames the
negative feedback loop in this way:
Organizational responses are not based on measuring or improving their output.
That means that, for example, nothing is likely to happen at [a college] if its
graduates learn less (a measure of output), but that the college is likely to respond
when alumni complain (an input) that they have not been well prepared for their
careers. Emphasizing the importance of inputs rather than outputs makes it
possible to understand why [a college] functions without the need for imputing
institutional goals or purposes. It does this by creating feedback loops that tell it
when things are going wrong. (Birnbaum, 1998, p. 181)
College activities, according to Birnbaum (1988), are regulated by two types of
control systems. The first is an explicit set of controls embodied in an institutions policies,
processes, and structures The second control system is implicit and social; individuals in
groups interact in ways that reinforce normative and cohesive behaviors and attitudes that
convey institutional image and culture. These explicit and implicit control systems serve as
negative feedback loops within colleges and universities, both horizontally through peer-to-
peer interactions and vertically through organizational structures. Through multiple
negative feedback loops, colleges and universities are continually recalibrating and
adjusting activities and behaviors in a largely decentralized, self-regulating manner.
Birnbaum uses the term cybernetic institution to describe this distinctive systemic and
cultural dynamic at work in the academy.
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Incorporation of the Feedback Loop into the Proposed Model
The cybernetic feedback loop serves as a bridge between the Bolman and Deal
(1984, 1991c, 1997, 2003, 2008) and the Heifetz models, bringing the work of the leader
and the adaptive work of the members of an organization together into a single, interactive
closed loop. This interactive relationship is shown in Figure 2.7. This version of the visual
Figure 2.7. Visual representation of the feedback loop as a bridge between the leader and
the members of an organization undertaking adaptive work.
38


model shows the role of an iterative feedback loop (Birnbaum, 1988; Easton, 1965) in
linking the leaders analysis and solution work with the adaptive change efforts of members
within an organization. An organizations members, in providing information to those in
authority, may cause leaders to reassess levels of informal authority, release or withhold
additional information from the members, reframe issues, or redirect attention, depending
on how the feedback is viewed through the leaders redeployment of the four-frame
analysis.
Next, I assemble all of the theoretical components described thus far into a hybrid
form. This process results in the creation of a comprehensive model of leadership and
adaptive organizational change. The comprehensive model is both articulated and
visualized in the following section.
A Hybrid Model for Leadership and Adaptive Organizational Change
I use this dissertation to develop a hybrid conceptual model for leadership and
adaptive organizational change which fuses the Bolman and Deal (1984, 1991c, 1997,
2003, 2008) model with that of Heifetz (1994). In addition, I incorporate a feedback
component (Birnbaum, 1988; Easton, 1965) to account for ongoing interaction between
leaders and an organizations members during the change process. This hybrid model
aims for a holistic and comprehensive explanation of the complex space that contains
leadership analysis and strategic-solution development, the interactive and interdependent
relationship that exists between a leader and the organizations members, and the focus of
both leader and the organizations members on making adaptive change. The hybrid model
operates sequentially as described below.
Problem and Solution Analysis
Operationally, the model begins with a leaders analysis of a particular problem or
issue using the four Bolman and Deal (1984, 1991c, 1997, 2003, 2008) framesstructural,
39


human resource, political, and symbolic. That analysis results in a leaders identification of
the organizations adaptive challenge. Next, a leader considers possible solutions that take
into account the four dimensions of the problem, or a set of solutions that are
multidimensional in nature.
Authority and Holding Environment
Before engaging an organization, a leader assesses the level of authority, both
formal and informal, that individuals in the organization have bestowed on the leader.
Should that authority be sufficient, the leader then determines how best to create a holding
environment for the organization. How a leader constructs the holding environment and
binds the organizations members together within it depends entirely on the problem, the
characteristics and needs of the members, and the external forces that may be contributing
to the problem or demanding a solution.
Ripeness, Framing, Attention, and Information Flow
Once a strategy for creating the holding environment has been determined, a
leader next evaluates the relative ripeness of the issue for constituents within an
organization. If the issue is not ripe, a leader may consider strategies to accelerate its
ripening in the minds of an organizations constituents. If the issue is determined to be ripe,
a leader next determines how to frame the issue for constituents and how to direct
attention to the issue that needs addressed. Finally, a leader controls the release of
information relevant to the problem and its solution, so that an organizations constituents
are not overwhelmed or confused by the information they have at hand.
Feedback Loop
While Heifetz (1994) indicates that a leader should regulate distress within an
organization by monitoring the leaders level of informal authority during times of
disequilibrium, the Heifetz model does not account for this process. Yet, Easton (1965) and
40


Birnbaum (1988) suggest that, as an organizations constituents grapple with a problem,
they provide the leader with information or feedback that may require course corrections or
a response. In the theoretical model, this iterative activity is represented by a feedback
loop.
The constituent information or feedback is received and then processed back
through the model, including analysis using the Bolman and Deal (1984, 1991c, 1997,
2003, 2008) frames. The frame analysis may result in strategy changes, including a
change in the issue under discussion, clarification of focus, release of new information, or
direction to the group to consider an area that has been neglected in problem-solving
discussions to date. This process continues iteratively between the leader and the
organizations constituents as the leader continually assesses and calibrates responses
that will regulate a manageable level of distress for those within the holding environment
until the process of adaptive change is completed.
The Visual Model
To capture the complete process, I present a visual rendering for the
comprehensive model for leadership and adaptive organizational change. The visual model
incorporates the Bolman and Deal (1984, 1991c, 1997, 2003, 2008) four-frame model of
problem and solution analysis labeled the leadership solution space and key elements of
the Heifetz (1994) model in the organizational solution space. The feedback loop
(Birnbaum, 1988; Easton, 1965) accounts for the iterative process of monitoring the level of
distress within the holding environment, receiving constituent feedback, analyzing the
information, and calibrating a response. Together, these processes operate until the
organizations members have achieved adaptive organizational change. The
comprehensive model is depicted in Figure 2.8.
41


ADAPTIVE CHANGE
Figure 2.8. Comprehensive model of leadership and organizational adaptive change.
42


Summary
By developing a comprehensive model for leadership and adaptive organizational
change, I articulate a process that accounts for the work of both leaders and followers in
the change process. This includes the leaders work in analyzing problems and developing
solutions, determining the organizations readiness to engage in adaptive change, and
creating the holding environment to facilitate change efforts. In this study, I explore the
efficacy of the model by applying it to a specific case, one involving changes to tenure-
related processes at the University of Colorado. In the next three chapters, I review
relevant literature related to schema theory, leadership theory, and research and writing
related to the Bolman and Deal (1984, 1991c, 1997, 2003, 2008) and Heifetz (1994)
components of the comprehensive model.
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CHAPTER 3
SCHEMATA AND LEADERSHIP THEORY
Those who live on the water know that sometimes a perfect storm arises. The
wind, the rain, the sea, all combine in a cataclysmic hurricane that is likely to
swamp anyone caught in its grip. Some may sense a storm is coming, but no one
can predict when all the factors will arise to create a perfect storm... Colleges
and universities are akin to ships at sea: many will say we are adrift. Others will
caution that the conditions for a perfect storm are in the air. (Tierney, 2004, p. xvi)
Whether increased global competition, shrinking state and federal government
support, increased regulation, activist trustees in the post-Enron era, the rise of the for-
profit sector, the growing view of higher education as a private commodity rather than a
public good, changing demographics, or the impact of technology, these interacting forces
create conditions for the perfect storm in American higher education (Tierney, 2004).
These rough seas represent uncharted waters for our nations colleges and universities.
Navigating such seas likely requires an able captain and an experienced crew who can
apply past knowledge to adapt effectively to new conditions. A shared understanding of
past experience and a mental framework, or schemata (Rumelhart & Ortony, 1977), within
which to categorize and make sense of information received, offers support to leaders
charged with navigating higher-education institutions in this turbulent environment and
taking action.
In this chapter, I examine how leaders make sense of circumstances through the
use of schemata, or mental maps (Fiske & Taylor, 1984). Leadership schemata seek to
articulate the traits and behaviors of successful leaders, develop mental maps for leader-
follower interactions, and offer constructs for how some leaders transform organizations
beyond what was conceived as possible (Northouse, 2010). These theories, some
descriptive and others prescriptive, offer schemata for leadership, but often lack constructs
44


for examining problems or processes for adaptive organizational change. I begin this
discussion with an examination of the development of theories of social cognition and the
role of schema theory in understanding the process of individual sense-making in an
apparently chaotic and unpredictable world.
Social Cognition and Schema Theory
The field of cognitive science emerged in the 1970s, a confluence of the field of
psychology with heuristics developed by scholars working in the information
processing/artificial intelligence field within computer science. Early writings on cognitive
science offer theories about the construction of knowledge (Axelrod, 1973; Markus, 1977;
Schank & Abelson, 1977; Rumelhart, 1975). Several of these works focus on schema and
schema theory (Axelrod, 1973; Fiske & Taylor, 1984; Rumelhart, 1975, 1981, 1984;
Rumelhart & Ortony, 1977). These scholars propose that knowledge is stored in the human
brain in small units, each one individually called a schema or collectively called schemata
(Rumelhart, 1981, 1984).
Rumelhart (1981, 1984) and McVee, Dunsmore, and Gavelek (2005) trace the
genesis of the modern concept of schema to Bartlett (1932), yet suggest that the original
use and meaning of the word rest with Kant (1781). Rumelhart and Ortony (1977) cite
Kants first mention of schema:
The image is a product of the empirical faculty of the productive imaginationthe
schema of sensuous conceptions (of figures in space, for example) is a product
and, as it were, a monogram, of the pure imagination a priori, whereby and
according to which images first become possible, which, however, can be
connected with the conception only mediately by means of the schema which they
indicate, (p 103)
Bartlett (1932) conducted experiments to explore the cultural embodiments and
representations of schema, suggesting that they not only exist within the individual person,
but also manifest themselves through patterns of behavior in the social and cultural world
45


(McVee et al., 2005). Within the artificial intelligence community, Schank and Abelson
(1977) ground the concept of schema, if not the usage of the term, in social psychology,
citing Lewins (1936) concept that people have internal images or life spaces that
underpin their goal strivings (p. 10). Rather than using words like schema and schemata,
Schank and Abelson (1977) propose the terms scripts, plans, and goals.
Weary and Edwards (1994) cite Fiske and Taylors (1984) definition of schema as
an enduring cognitive structure that represents an individuals organized knowledge about
a given concept or stimulus domain (p. 292). Harris (1994) cites Markus (1977)
description of schema as cognitive knowledge structures containing concepts, entities, and
events that encode and represent incoming information with efficiency. These schemata
operate as subjective theories derived from a persons experiences about how the world
operates (Harris, 1994; Markus & Zajonic, 1985).
Schemata serve several functions: directing attention to new information, retrieving
stored information, integrating information, and generating interpretations and inferences
about and responses to stimulus (Weary & Edwards, 1994). Harris (1994) summarizes the
functions of schemata using seven purposes articulated by Taylor and Cocker (1981).
They include the following functions: (a) providing structure onto which evidence is placed,
(b) directing both encoding and retrieving of information, (c) increasing efficiency and
speed of information processing, (d) filling information gaps, (e) offering problem-solving
templates, (f) evaluating experiences, and (g) facilitating future expectations and goal
setting, planning, and execution. Schemata provide a complex framework to facilitate
sense-making, particularly in new or unexpected situations (Fiske & Taylor, 1984).
Psychologists refine the concept of schemata as an interpretation which is
frequent, well organized, memorable, which can be made from minimal cues . [and] is
resistant to change, etc. (DAndrade, 1992, p. 29). Schemata operate within a complex
46


hierarchical relationship, one schema embedded within another. Schemata are often
culturally bound and have normative properties, like schemata for eating in formal
situations. Schemata can instigate action and, therefore, function as goals (DAndrade,
1992). Some schemata are experienced, not as formulated models of reality, but as reality
itself (Strauss, 1992).
Comprehension, or the interpretation of the meaning of stimulus received by the
brain, comprises the key purpose of schemata (Rumelhart, 1981, 1984). It is how human
beings make sense of what we perceive through our senses. Rumelhart (1981, 1984)
describes schemata as an informal, private, unarticulated theory about the nature of
events, objects, or situations which we face (p. 9). According to this view, the brain tests
schemata against information received. If the information fails to conform to the schemata,
then the brain chooses to recognize the failure of the schemata to account for the
information received, yet accepts the schemata as an adequate, if flawed, explanation for
what is happening, or rejects the schemata as inadequate and begins the search for
schemata that better explain the situation. In this way, schemata operate very much like
hypothesis testing, evaluation of goodness of fit, and parameter testing in theory-building
(Rumelhart, 1981, 1984).
Schemata, then, serve as humans primary means of representing knowledge in
multifaceted dimensions. Their central function, therefore, is comprehension. However,
schemata perform other functions in human information-processing. They create records of
human experience and our individual memories of things. They perform as vehicles for
inferential reasoning. Finally, they contain the underlying knowledge necessary for us to
perform actions (Rumelhart & Ortony, 1977).
Contemporary researchers and theorists have reconnected with schemata and
schema theory. Constructivists apply schema theory to concepts of mental modeling,
47


wherein the construction of schema result from a process of constructing, testing, and
adjusting ones mental representation of complex problems or situations encountered in life
(Derry, 1996). Cultural-historical theorists explore the relationships between culturally
situated schema and the embodiment of cultural schema in both ideal and material artifacts
(Holland & Cole, 1995) and embodied literally in how the individual operates in time and
space through perception, bodily movement, and the physical manipulation of objects
(McVee et al., 2005). Schemas, then, are emergent from the social interactions of the
individual and the environment rather than constructed solely in-mind (McVee et al., 2005).
Brain research and artificial intelligence specialists also conceive a more complex
and interactive system of schemata and brain function operating in a sophisticated neural
network that controls both perception and motor functions in an ongoing action-perception
cycle (Arbib, 1995). More recent brain research suggests a physiological relationship
between information received through sensory perception and memories stored in the
brain (Bar, 2007). From the interaction of newly perceived data and memory, the brain
develops analogies and associations, then creates predictions for a given situation based
on those analogies and associations (Bar, 2007). These neurological models, built from
physiological studies of electrical activity in the brain, mirror earlier theoretical models
describing schemata, generated by researchers working in cognitive science, information
processing, and artificial intelligence.
Contemporary neurological science pushes the boundaries of cognition beyond the
brain, suggesting that the boundaries of cognition are circumscribed by ones sense of the
entire physical body. Embodied cognition (Borghi & Cimatti, 2010) situates cognition in
action rather than only in thinking, limiting the boundaries of cognition to the sense of the
physical body an individual occupies and the ability to engage parts of the body in action.
Even as scientific and theoretical advances bring greater insight into how people make
48


sense of circumstances and events, schema theory remains a relevant framework for
describing human and social cognition.
Leadership Schemata
How then, does leadership theory and schema theory intersect? Applying the
concepts of Rumelhart (1975, 1981, 1984) and Rumelhartand Ortony(1977) to leadership
theory, leaders formulate schemata in order to make sense of the environment in which
they operate and the roles they are asked to play. From these individual schemata, leaders
infer meaning from what they perceive to be happening within their organizations, develop
strategies for particular situations based on schemata formed from experience and
memory, and perform actions through which they intend to respond to reality as they
perceive it through these schemata. Here, I examine leadership theory through the lens of
schema theory to provide an overview of the major theories informing the leadership
schemata which likely operate in the minds of contemporary leaders.
Some leaders construct schemata based largely upon their experience, while
others formulate schemata based on a combination of theory and practice. Leaders can
draw from thousands of books and articles that attempt to define leadership and both
articulate and organize leadership theories (Rost, 1993). Northouse (2010), for one, groups
leadership theories into those which focus on the inherent characteristics and acquired
abilities of the leader as distinguished from those that focus on the interrelationship of
leaders and followers or members within an organization. Taken as a whole, leadership
theories help to inform schemata used in the practice of leadership.
Followers or members of an organization also operate with leadership schemata.
Grounding their understanding of leadership in the field of information processing, Hanges
et al. (2000) argue that people maintain leadership schemata containing expected
attributes and behaviors typical of leaders and assess a leaders relative success based on
49


inferences about group performance and recognition as they align with the predominant
leadership schemata. Lord, Brown, Harvey, and Hall (2001) suggest that, rather than
retrieving stored leadership schemata, individuals recreate leadership schemata
spontaneously based on situational variables. This perspective situates leadership
schemata within the boundaries of connectionist theory (Hanges et al., 2000).
Consequently, both leaders and followers operate with schemata for making sense of
organizational circumstances and leader-follower dynamics.
The following section outlines major groupings of leadership theory and highlights
several influential theorists, using an organizational framework developed by Northouse
(2010). Some theories can be grouped under those focused on the leader, those focused
on context and the interrelationship of leaders and followers, and those focused on
individual and organizational transformation (Northouse, 2010). These theories inform
schemata development and comprehension among leaders and followers in various
sectors, from government and business through education, social services, and cultural
organizations.
Leader-Focused Theories
Some of the earliest literature on leadership begins with an exclusive focus on the
characteristics of the leader. These great man theories grew from 20th-Century studies of
well-known leaders like Abraham Lincoln, Gandhi, Joan of Arc, and others (Northouse,
2010; Rost, 1993). Early theorists assumed that leadership traits were inherent, rather than
acquired, and sought to name and categorize these traits in order to understand how
individuals rose naturally into leadership roles.
Stogdill (1948, 1974) took these theories and systematically analyzed them.
Reviewing 124 leadership trait studies conducted between 1904 and 1947, and another
163 studies completed between 1948 and 1970, his first survey found eight traits
50


separating leaders from others within an organization. These traits included intelligence,
alertness, insight, responsibility, initiative, persistence, self-confidence, and sociability
(Stogdill, 1948). These traits, however, were not the sole reason an individual was effective
as a leader. Rather, Stogdill (1948) grounded his trait theory within the situation in which
the leader was located; individuals with similar traits were not equally successful in
different situations. By placing his analysis of traits within specific organizational
circumstances, Stogdill opened future lines of research about leadership and
organizational context (Northouse, 2010).
In his later survey, Stogdill (1974) concluded that both personality traits and
organizational context play a role in successful leadership. He identified ten traits
associated with successful leaders. They include the following: (a) drive for responsibility
and task completion, (b) vigor and persistence in pursuit of goals, (c) risk taking and
originality in problem solving, (d) drive to exercise initiative in social situations, (e) self-
confidence and sense of personal identity, (f) willingness to accept consequences of
decision and action, (g) readiness to absorb interpersonal stress, (h) willingness to tolerate
frustration and delay, (i) ability to influence other peoples behavior, and (j) capacity to
structure social interaction systems to the purpose at hand (Northouse, 2010, Stogdill,
1974).
Trait theories continue to persist in the leadership literature. More recent examples
include Golemans (1995, 1998) theory of emotional intelligence and the strengths finder
index developed and marketed by the Gallup Organization (Rath, 2007). These
approaches focus largely on understanding the inherent characteristics of the individual
leader independent of the leader's schemata for processing and organizing stimulus
received from an organization, responding to that stimulus, and affecting adaptive
organizational change.
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Northouse (2010) groups additional leader-focused theories into those centered on
leader skills and those focused on leader styles. Both sets of theories provide for acquired
leadership knowledge and abilities beyond inherent characteristics. These theorists argue
that a significant amount of leadership rests in learned behaviors and grows from
experience, suggesting that leadership opportunities may be open to all people, rather than
limited to those who are genetically disposed. However, neither of these theoretical trends
accounts for the interaction of leaders and followers, nor the situational dynamics of
organizational culture and context.
Katz (1955) led the call for research into skills-based leadership theory in his
classic work articulating effective administrative skills. Katz grouped these skills into
categories called technical, human, and conceptual. Technical skills reside in a specific
area of work or activity, like engineering automobiles or practicing law or accounting.
Human skills, in contrast, relate to how well a leader works with people. Separately from
these two areas, conceptual skills include the leaders ability to work with concepts or
ideas. Katz (1955) suggested that effective leaders cultivate all three skills, but that
different levels of management require different strengths among these three skills sets. An
effective supervisor, for example, requires greater strength in technical and human skills
while the effective CEO requires greater strength in human and conceptual skills.
Researchers have built upon Katzs earlier theory, resulting in a comprehensive,
capabilities-based model in the 1990s (Northouse, 2010). In this model, researchers begin
with an examination of individual leader attributes like cognitive ability, motivation, and
personality coupled with acquired competencies like knowledge, problem-solving skills,
and social judgment ability. These attributes and competencies are then matched with
successful leadership problem-solving and performance and tested across a large sample
of both effective and non-effective managers (Mumford, Zaccaro, Connelly, & Marks,
52


2000). The model effectively describes leader capabilities and performance, but does little
to explain how leadership works or how to predict leadership success (Northouse, 2010).
Leader behaviors represent the core of style-based leadership theories. Northouse
(2010) summarizes the research on these behaviors into two categories: task behaviors,
which orient to organizational goals, and relationship behaviors, which address followers
interactions with one another and their individual comfort level with their situation within an
organization. Leaders operate with a predominant style and a backup style, which they
revert to when under pressure. Researchers ascertain these styles by means of a survey
instrument. The leaders survey results are plotted onto a leadership grid based on the
degree of concern for people expressed on the survey coupled with the degree of concern
for organizational results (Blake & McCanse, 1991; Blake & Mouton, 1985). Consequently,
the leader comes away with a better understanding of the predominant and backup styles
used and receives coaching on how to improve in leadership performance (Northouse,
2010).
Three lines of leadership theory and research focus exclusively on the leader. Trait
theories describe innate physical attributes, qualities, and abilities that successful leaders
possess. Skill and style theories describe knowledge, capabilities, and behaviors that
leaders can develop and deploy in their roles. All three theoretical lines exclude the
interactive relationship leaders have with organizational members, thereby limiting their
ability to lend insight into adaptive organizational change.
Leader-Follower Relationship and Contextual Theories
Another set of leadership theories addresses the relationship with and interaction
between leaders and followers in organizations and organizational context. While largely
focused on how leaders influence and direct followers to accomplish goals or activities,
these theories acknowledge that leadership is dynamic and dependent on effective
53


relations with organizational members, particularized situations, and organizational culture.
This section summarizes key theories in this category, organized in a framework
articulated by Northouse (2010).
Hersey and Blanchard (1969, 1993) proposed that effective leadership rests
largely on the situation. One leadership style might work in one setting, but fail in another.
The Situational Leadership model (Hersey & Blanchard, 1969; Blanchard, Zigarmi, &
Zigarmi, 1992) articulates two critical organizational dynamics: leadership style and the
development level of subordinates. Behavioral components of leadership style include
those which are directive, or task oriented, and those which are supportive, or relationship
oriented. Various combinations of these behaviors result in overall leadership behaviors
described as delegating, supporting, coaching, and directing. These leadership behaviors
interact with the development level of followers, which range from those with low
competence and low commitment to those with high competence and high commitment.
Leaders, then, must correctly determine and then match their style to where each follower
or set of followers is on the competence-commitment continuum (Blanchard et al., 1992).
Multiple theoretical permutations describe interactive leader-follower dynamics
within organizational contexts. These include contingency theory (Fieldler & Chemers,
1984), which aims to optimally match leaders with situations, assuming that the leader
operates with a predominant style. A key element of this approach is the dynamic of power
granted to the leader within an organization (Northouse, 2010). Path-goal theory (Evans,
1970; House & Mitchell, 1974) couples leadership style with follower motivation and
expectations. Leadership behaviors are categorized into those which are directive,
supportive, participative, and achievement-oriented.
Follower characteristics comprise a second facet of this model, grouping
subordinates by degrees of need for affiliation, need for control, and perception of
54


competence to execute a task. Other dynamics in this complex interactive model include
the clarity of task, degree of authority, and group norms. The leader must successfully
diagnose all of these dynamics, remove or reduce obstacles to high performance, and
match style to follower needs to strengthen motivation and increase productivity toward
specific goals (House & Mitchell, 1974).
A third line of theory, leader-member exchange theory (Danserau, Graen, & Haga,
1975; Graen & Uhi-Bien, 1995), focuses on the complex set of dyadic relationships
between the leader and each member within an organization. Through exchanges that
occur between the leader and individual group members, individuals gradually become
members of in-groups and out-groups by moving through relationship phases from
strangers, to acquaintances, to partners in the organizational enterprise (Graen & Uhl-Bien,
1995). Leaders are encouraged to evolve relationships with individual members so that
everyone operates as a partner and a part of the organizational in-group.
These theoretical lines allow for individual and collective leader-follower
relationships and interactions and account for the importance of contextual and situational
factors. However, the larger purpose of leadership, beyond effective and efficient
organizational management, remains largely unconsidered in these theories.
Transformational and change-centered theories begin to move beyond the traits,
behaviors, and abilities of the leader as well as the situational dynamics of leaders and
followers. Transformational and change-centered approaches focus on the dynamics of
organizational change and adaptation.
Transformational and Change-Centered Theories
Rost (1993) defines leadership as an influence relationship among leaders and
followers who intend real changes that reflect their mutual purposes" (p. 102). Previously
discussed theories miss the dynamic of intentional change and mutual purpose that drive
55


individual and organizational transformation. This section provides an overview of these
theoretical lines.
Burns (1978) first articulates the core concepts of transformational leadership,
focusing on motivational linkages between leaders and followers as they achieve mutual
organizational goals. He contrasts transformational leadership with transactional
leadership. Transactional leadership describes most of the literature examined thus far in
this literature review, namely a managerially focused approach based upon an exchange of
promised rewards for subordinates accomplishing a set of tasks or achieving a set of goals
determined by the leader or manager. Many organizations operate successfully using the
transactional model (Northouse, 2010).
Comparatively, transformational leadership describes an interactive process
whereby the motivation and the morality of both leader and follower are transformed
(Northouse, 2010). Charisma comprises one dynamic of this transformational relationship
(House, 1976). Through personality characteristics and the behavior of the leader,
followers gain trust, obey the leader without question, display emotional involvement with
the task, show affection for and identify with the leader, and perform beyond their own and
the leaders expectations (House, 1976; Northouse, 2010).
Bass (1985) refined Burns leader-focused approach, placing it on a leadership
continuum from transformational leadership, through transactional leadership, to laissez-
faire leadership which is, in essence, the absence of leadership (Northouse, 2010). Four
key factors drive transformational leadership. The first, called charisma or idealized
influence, concerns the leaders function as a moral and ethical role model for
organizational followers. The second factor, inspirational motivation, addresses the
leaders ability to inspire and motivate followers so that they will dedicate themselves to a
shared organizational vision. Intellectual stimulation describes the leaders ability to
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stimulate innovative thinking and creativity within an organization as well as to foster a
sense of freedom to challenge followers beliefs and values as well as those held by the
leader and the organization. The final factor, individualized consideration, refers to the
leaders ability to listen and be attentive to the individual needs of followers within an
organization. Together, these four factors contribute to organizations performing at a
higher level than those relying on transactional or laissez-faire leadership paradigms (Bass
& Avolio, 1990, 1994; Northouse, 2010).
Two additional lines of research into transformational leadership provide
prescriptive approaches for leaders aiming for substantial organizational change. Bennis
and Nanus (1985) proffer a transformational leadership model based upon their research
using 90 leaders as subjects. They suggest that transformational leaders articulate a clear
vision for the organization, serve as social architects for shared meaning and institutional
direction, build trust among members by being predictable and reliable, and hold a positive
self-regard in their own work within the organization. A much larger study by Kouzes and
Posner (2002) delivers a prescriptive model of five leadership practices for transformational
change: model the way, inspire a shared vision, challenge the process, enable others to
act, and encourage the heart. They offer a 360-degree assessment tool, the Leadership
Practices Inventory, to provide leaders with a comprehensive assessment of how well they
are performing within the prescriptive behaviors required for transformational leadership
(Kouzes & Posner, 2002; Northouse, 2010). Both models offer leadership schemata
governing behavior among those leaders focused on transforming organizations.
Lowe and Gardner (2001) suggest that transformational leadership is among the
most popular currently, based on their content analysis of ten years of leadership literature,
with fully one-third of the literature focused on this theory. Transformational leadership
theory provides a springboard for a host of prescriptive leadership literature offering
57


leaders schemata for comprehending organizations and increasing member performance
(Bennis & Nanus, 1985; Gardner, 2004; Kotter & Cohen, 2002; Kouzes & Posner, 2002;
Northouse, 2010). Yet, no single schema describes the complete process of problem
analysis, solution development, leadership strategy, and adaptive change proposed in this
dissertation.
Summary
Higher-education leaders face uncertain and turbulent times. Their constituents
expect them to make sense of the situation, diagnose the problems, and engage them in
the work necessary to keep institutions healthy and thriving in spite of a volatile and
unpredictable environment. To do so, leaders construct schemata for sense-making and
action. This chapter outlined schema theory as a means for explaining the sense-making
process in which human beings engage as they attempt to understand circumstances and
construct plans for action. Schemata abound for leadership, presenting many and
oftentimes conflicting theories for leaders attempting to make sense of their environments.
While many theories exist, none provides comprehensive schemata for diagnosing the
situation and constructing and implementing a process for adaptive organizational change.
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CHAPTER 4
FRAMING SCHEMATA: THE THEORIES OF BOLMAN AND DEAL
Framing schemata, particularly the four-frame model proposed by Bolman and
Deal (1984, 1991c, 1997, 2003, 2008), offer a mental map for examining a particular set of
circumstances, diagnosing problems, and considering multidimensional solutions. A
considerable body of research investigates the Bolman and Deal (1984) four-frame model.
This chapter examines a significant portion of this line of research and determines that, to
date, few case studies actually have applied the Bolman and Deal (1984) framework.
Framing Schemata
This chapter moves from a discussion of leadership schemata, which view leader
characteristics and behaviors, as well as leader-follower dynamics, to consideration of
sense-making schemata that leaders might use in examining organizational problems,
creating strategies, and developing group processes to address them. Framing schemata
represent those sense-making tools most germane to the theoretical model that underpins
this dissertation. These will be examined first, from broader framing schemata to the
specific four-frame schemata first articulated by Bolman and Deal (1984). Other relevant
higher-education framing schemata and leadership metaphors will be considered.
Together, these framing schemata and metaphors offer theoretical constructs to assist
leaders in sense-making efforts and their development of strategies and processes to
address systemic organizational problems requiring adaptive organizational change.
What is framing? The origin of the term frame rests specifically with Goffman
(1974), who, in turn, credits Bateson (1972) with originating the application of the term to
perceptual awareness. Goffmans perspective is situational. He considers what an
individual can be alive to at a particular moment in a given situation, as the individual
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asks the question, What is it thats going on here? (Goffman, 1974, p. 8). Goffman (1974)
focuses on the individual experience, rather than the social or organizational experience,
describing frameworks or schemata of interpretation as an individuals effort to ascribe
meaning to a situational aspect that would be meaningless otherwise.
Others define framing as an act of both meaning making for the individual leader
and constructing meaning for others, as leaders assert that their interpretations ought to be
taken as real over other possible interpretations (Fairhurst & Sarr, 1996, pp. 3-4).
Leadership framing, then, is an act of prospective sense-making (Gioia, 1986; Weick,
1979), whereby people make decisions and anticipate future actions through interpreting
present conditions and imagining possible outcomes and the consequences of various
decision scenarios.
Senge (1990) expands framing to include organizational as well as individual
schemata. He asks people in organizations to see the forest and the trees (p. 127).
Senge (1990) applies principles of systems thinking as the fifth discipline of the learning
organization, asking individuals to see through complexity to the underlying structures
generating change (p. 128). Consequently, leaders can organize complexity into a
coherent story that reveals the causes of problems and develop sustainable solutions. As
the fifth discipline, systems thinking joins four other disciplines to build the learning
organization: personal mastery, mental models, shared vision, and team learning (Senge,
1990).
Further refinement led to Senges subsequent articulation of three core learning
capabilities, all of which are necessary for the learning organization: fostering aspiration,
developing reflective conversation, and understanding complexity (Senge, 2006). Senges
(2006) concept of reflective conversation demands the use of mental models and his
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concept of understanding complexity relies on the kind of systems thinking captured in
Bolman and Deals (2008) four-frame analytical model.
Senges concept of mental models is particularly relevant to multiframe analysis.
He describes mental models as deeply held internal images of how the world works,
images that limit us to familiar ways of thinking and acting (Senge, 1990, p. 174). Senge
proposes a disciplined process of surfacing, testing, and improving our internal picture of
how the world works (p. 174). Senge, in turn, credits Argyris (1982) concept of espoused
theories versus theories-in-use as a foundational concept for his own work. Argyris
concludes that although people do not [always] behave congruently with their espoused
theories [what they say], they do behave congruently with the theories-in-use [their mental
models] (Senge, 1990, p. 175). Thus, Bolman and Deals four-frame analytical theory
becomes an effort to construct a more holistic mental model, a conscious theory-in-use, to
lift leaders toward a systems-thinking approach to problem solving.
Bolman and Deals Four-Frames as Leadership Schemata
The four-frame schematastructural, human resource, political, symbolicwas
first articulated by Bolman and Deal (1984) in their seminal collaborative work, Modern
Approaches to Understanding and Managing Organizations. They point to the classic
tensions within organizations between structure and people, the bureaucratic and the
human. They also claim the political and symbolic dimensions of an organization as
aspects of organizational theory largely invisible in the scholarly literature of the time
(Bolman & Deal, 2008). After some discussion of systems-based approaches to
organizational knowledge, the authors hit upon the concept of reframing as a preferable
strategy for examining organizational problems and planning responses. Reframing entails
a shift of perspective, considering a problem through each of the four lenses in order to
understand it completely (Bolman & Deal, 2008).
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Bolman and Deal repackaged these earlier concepts under a new title, Reframing
Organizations, (1991c, 1997, 2003, 2008). Here, they integrate approaches to preparing
managers with leadership development. They describe reframing as requiring an ability to
understand and use multiple perspectives, to think about the same thing in more than one
way (Bolman & Deal, 2003, p. 5). Their use of frame as a mixed-metaphor for
perspective is deliberate, blending various forms of social cognition (Fiske & Taylor, 1991;
Sims & Gioia, 1986). These include schema theory (Fiske & Dyer, 1985; Lord & Foti,
1986), cognitive maps (Weick & Bougon, 1986) and mental models (Senge, 1990). Bolman
and Deal describe frames as windows, maps, tools, lenses, orientations, and
perspectives in an attempt to be ecumenical in their theoretical concept; frames represent
a mental map ... a set of ideas or assumptions you carry in your head [to] understand
and negotiate a particular problem or situation (Bolman & Deal, 2003, p. 12).
Consequently, the Bolman and Deal (1984) four-frame model, described in detail in
Chapter 2, originates in part in schema theory and early research on social cognition.
Leadership Metaphors and Image Theory
Bolman and Deal (2006) apply their four-frame model to the concept of leadership
metaphor espoused by Palmer, Dunford, and Akin (2006), arriving at four metaphorical
descriptors for the leader: analyst (for the structural frame), caregiver (for the human-
resource frame), warrior (for the political frame), and wizard (for the symbolic frame). They
consider the wizard and warrior roles to be the least employed but most important among
leadership perspectives (Bolman and Deal, 2006). This conclusion results from a body of
mixed-method research described in a subsequent section of this chapter.
Palmer et al. (2006) propose another leadership metaphor to serve as a mental
model that guides the behavior of the leader. Their six-image framework, using principles
of a point-of-view schema (Lord & Foti, 1986), casts the leader in the role of director,
62


navigator, caretaker, coach, interpreter, or nurturer. These images operate on a continuum
from intended to unintended outcomes using controlling activities or shaping capabilities,
depending upon the leaders self-perceived role.
Comparatively, Alvesson and Spicer (2011) proffer six different leadership
metaphors to describe leader behaviors. Leaders are described as saints, for encouraging
moral peak performance, and gardeners, for contributing to individual growth. Leaders can
be buddies, focused on making people feel good, or commanders, offering clear direction.
Alvesson and Spicer (2011) also describe some leaders as cyborgs, demonstrating their
technical superiority over subordinates, or even bullies, leading by intimidation. Taken
together, these six metaphors provide a contrasting mental model for describing possible
leader behaviors.
Like Bolman and Deal (1984), Palmer et al. (2006) and Alvesson and Spicer
(2011) reflect on the images and assumptions leaders hold in managing change. These
self-perceptions, in turn, reflect the predominant schemata that individual leaders use to
process information and make sense of a given situation. Image theory suggests that
leaders operate with self-images, deploy trajectory images of where one is ideally going,
imagine projected images of what the leaders anticipate will occur, and construct action
images or plans for mitigating problems or reconciling conflicts among these various
images (Mitchell, Rediker, & Beach, 1986).
By selecting a predominant leadership metaphor to govern their thinking, leaders
include and exclude organizational change options. However, leaders often deploy multiple
self-images, depending on circumstances. A leaders image-in-use depends on the type,
context, and phase of the change process or upon the simultaneous involvement of
multiple changes (Palmer et al., 2006, p. 37), akin to Bolman and Deals (1984, 1991c,
1997, 2003, 2008) schemata for multiframe thinking.
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Metaphors for Higher-Education Institutions and Presidents
Earlier leadership metaphors, particularly in the higher education sector, describe
organizational cultures and suggest applicable leadership styles for each culture. Cohen
and March (1974) pose eight cultural metaphors for post-secondary institutions emerging
from a decade of student protests and campus strife: competitive market, administrative,
collective bargaining, democratic, consensus, anarchy, independent judiciary, and
plebiscitary autocracy. Each governing metaphor requires a different role for presidential
leadership, according to Cohen and March (1974). The competitive market metaphor
requires an entrepreneurial president, while the collective bargaining metaphor expects the
president to serve as mediator and the ultimate supervisor of contracts. Cohen and March
(1974) suggest that the expected roles and responsibilities of the president are ambiguous
and very much a result of the principal metaphors operating as institutional schemata.
Astin and Scherrei (1980) propose four presidential styles and five administrative
styles as schemata for higher education administration based on their extensive study of
49 private colleges and universities. Presidential styles include the bureaucratic, with little
constituent contact and work through subordinates; the intellectual, focused on faculty
relationships and academic issues, with little donor interaction; the egalitarian, interacting
with many constituencies and operating in non-authoritarian ways; and the counselor,
focusing on personal conversations and informal meetings. Astin and Scherrei (1980)
describe administrative styles as hierarchical, humanistic, entrepreneurial, task-oriented,
and insecure. The latter style focuses on apple-polishing and nepotism as strategies for
success, rather than academic effectiveness. The study notes that particular styles are
more likely associated with both institutional type and geography, larger schools more
inclined to bureaucratic presidents with hierarchical administrative styles, and eastern,
nonsectarian liberal arts colleges more likely to have intellectual presidents.
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For leaders of higher-education institutions, Birnbaum (1988) offers a schemata
describing how colleges and universities function culturally. He describes four models of
organizational functioning: collegial, bureaucratic, political, and anarchical, and offers an
integrated modelthe cybernetic institution as a self-regulating system that thinks in
circles, akin to the theories of Weick (1979). According to Birnbaum (1988), the collegial
institution shares power and values within a community of equals, the bureaucratic
organization pursues rational structures and decision making, the political organization
operates through competition for power and resources, and the anarchical institution
organizes around the sense of community as autonomous actors (Birnbaum, 1988, p.
151). The cybernetic institution uses systems of negative feedback to detect and self-
correct problems that may arise within an organization. This type of self-correction is
spontaneous and may happen in different parts of an organization at different times
(Morgan, 1986).
Bergquist (1992) and Bergquist and Pawlak (2008) describe academic cultures in
a schematic framework that includes collegial, managerial, developmental, advocacy,
virtual, and tangible cultures. The collegial culture grounds itself in the academic
disciplines, celebrates faculty research, scholarship, and governance, and imagines its
primary purpose as the generation and dissemination of knowledge as well as the
development of the character and values of its students. The managerial culture focuses
on the organization and implementation of work designed to achieve certain goals and
objectives and educate students who will demonstrate mastery of particular knowledge,
skills, and attitudes. The developmental culture finds its purpose in fostering the personal
and professional growth of its members. The advocacy culture aims to develop equitable
ways of distributing the scarce resources and benefits of the institution. Technology and
globalization have led to two emergent cultures, which Bergquist and Pawlak (2008)
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describe as the virtual culture and the tangible culture. The virtual culture focuses on the
global and egalitarian creation and dissemination of knowledge through technological
advances. The tangible community, responding to the rise of the virtual culture, values
traditions, community, face-to-face interactions, and spirituality. These six schemata,
founded on Bolman and Deals (1984) framework, comprise the cultural complexity of the
contemporary American academy (Bergquist & Pawlak, 2008) and offer a set of metaphors
to assist higher-education leaders in their organizational sense-making efforts.
Institutions possess some or all of these cultures at any one time and leaders
should bring them into dialogue if they are to create a cybernetic or self-correcting
institution (Birnbaum, 1988). Similarly, Bergquist and Pawlak (2008) propose that leaders
decide how best to leverage the strengths and resources of an institutions predominant
culture in order to accomplish goals, rather than seek to change institutional culture.
Leaders, therefore, must recognize that different strategies are needed depending on the
predominant culture in operation at a given moment in an institution's history.
Because of the complex and oftentimes co-existing cultures operating within a
higher-education organization, Bergquist and Pawlak (2008) suggest that it is important for
leaders to take the perspective of a particular constituency or culture when deciphering
decisions or conduct that may otherwise be hard to understand or explain. In other words,
it is necessary to understand the mental models that constituencies within academic
cultures are using to understand reality as they see it (Birnbaum, 1992).
Considering the function of schemata in constructing and comprehending reality,
the leaders role becomes one of framing and defining reality for others in the organization
and focusing their attention, hopefully, so that sufficient numbers of people choose to
frame reality in similar ways (Birnbaum, 1992, Heifetz, 1994; Smircich & Morgan, 1982,
Cyert, 1990). Constant repetition of shared meanings makes them appear real
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independent of evidence (Birnbaum, 1992; Gardner, 2004). Consequently, this dissertation
articulates a leadership schema for adaptive organizational change that fosters cognitive
complexity in analyzing a given situation, accounts for multiple academic cultures, provides
for self-correction, and supports broad and deep organizational change.
Research Using the Four-Frame Schemata
I now review research activity based on Bolman and Deals (1984) four-frame
schemata. Research conducted by Bolman and Deal tests the four-frame schemata and
applies it to various groups of academic and corporate administrators. Other published
research expands the range of groups studied and explores a variety of techniques to
measure four-frame thinking. I close this section with a review of representative
dissertations which use a variety of methodologies to explore variables of four-frame
thinking. Collectively, the literature reviewed in this section demonstrates the breadth and
depth of research focused on Bolman and Deals (1984) schemata.
Research by Bolman and Deal
Bolman and Deal developed the four-frame model as a way of reconciling their
conflicting leadership schemata, necessitated by their forced collaboration at Harvard
University as team-teachers in the Graduate School of Educations leadership
development program (Bolman & Deal, 1984). Research exploring the four-frame
schemata focused on two hypotheses: (a) that ones ability to reframe when examining a
situation is critical for success as either a leader or a manager and (b) that leadership is
grounded in context, requiring different ways of thinking depending on the circumstances
(Bolman & Deal, 1992). Their first published research using the model came in the form of
a mixed-method study (Bolman & Deal, 1991b). In the qualitative portion of the study,
education-sector administrators provided written critical incidents describing a situation that
was challenging and raises issues of how to provide effective leadership (Bolman & Deal,
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1991b, p. 514). The total population of over 428 individuals constituted a voluntary
convenience sample of participants who were enrolled in a variety of leadership programs
offered by the researchers.
These written critical incidents were analyzed by Bolman and Deal to determine
how many and which frames were used. A coding chart allowed for categorization of
critical incidents; this chart appears in Chapter 9 of this dissertation. Their analysis
revealed that most of the written incidents provided evidence of the participants using one
(22%) or two frames (54%), but very few offered evidence of all four frames in use by the
participants (6%). The structural frame was most commonly used among administrators
regardless of their position or national origin, while the symbolic frame was least used.
Depending on the population, administrators use of the human resource and political
frames varied substantially (Bolman & Deal, 1991b).
The quantitative portion of Bolman and Deals (1991b) study consisted of a survey
designed to evaluate administrators frame orientations. The survey instrument, called
Leadership Orientations, measures uses two parallel forms to measure two dimensions for
each of the four frames. One, called the Leadership Orientations-Self (LOS), allows for
leaders to rate themselves. The second, called the Leadership Orientations-Other (LOO),
has colleagueswhether peers, superiors, or subordinatesrate the leader on
predominant frame orientation as well as overall effectiveness as a manager and as a
leader. Together the two surveys provide a look at the leader from the perspective of
Argyris and Schons (1974) espoused theory, through the LOS, and the Argyris and
Schons (1974) theory-in-use, through the LOO.
In Bolman and Deals (1991b) study, the LOS was administered to four samples.
These included senior managers from a multinational corporation, American and
international higher-education administrators, Florida school principals and Oregon school
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administrators, and school administrators from the Republic of Singapore. In addition to
completing the LOS instrument, each participant identified colleagues who were asked to
complete the LOO instrument.
Bolman and Deals (1991b) quantitative study focused primarily on the LOO
responses, which evaluate the managers frame orientations and assess effectiveness as a
manager and as a leader from the perspective of subordinates and peers. The study
determined that managerial effectiveness is tied to orientations of rationality and structure,
while leadership effectiveness is linked to symbols and culture. The study also found that
gender is unrelated to frame orientations or effectiveness as a manager or a leader
(Bolman & Deal, 1991b).
Bolman and Deal (1992a) studied the effects of context, culture, and gender on
leading and managing. Similar to the Bolman and Deal (1991b) study, this effort relied on
the use of a written critical incident tool coupled with the LOS survey. Examining school
administrators in the United States and Singapore, the study showed that the clear majority
of administrators (74% of the American and 81% of the Singapore sample) relied upon
one- or two-frame thinking, primarily in the structural and human resource orientation. The
symbolic and political frames were least utilized. Similar to their earlier study, Bolman and
Deal (1992a) did not find a significant difference in leadership orientations based upon
gender, although they did note that women rated slightly higher than men on all four frame
measures.
A related study (Bolman & Deal, 1992b), compared the responses of 32 college
presidents, 75 higher education administrators at the Harvard Institution for Educational
Management and Leadership, and 15 central-office administrators from school districts in a
mid-western state. The college president sample compared LOS and LOO results from the
presidents and their subordinates as well as self-reported critical incident cases, while the
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other two samples utilized critical incident cases and LOS surveys. This study also found
that the majority of subjects used one or two frames, the structural and human-resource
frames most prevalent. Almost none of the participants used all four frames, and a
significant discrepancy existed among the college presidents and their subordinates over
use of the symbolic framepresidents were far more likely to report symbolic frame use
than their subordinates perceived. The study also found no difference in results based on
gender among these populations (Bolman & Deal, 1992b).
Four-Frame Research by Others
Bensimon (1987) was the first to deploy Bolman and Deals (1984) theoretical
framework for research purposes. The project consisted of interviews with 32 college and
university presidents, examining both the type and number of frames each exhibited in self-
descriptions of effective leadership. The sample was evenly divided between presidents in
office three years or less and those in office five years or more. Nearly 41% of the
presidents espoused a single frame, with all four frames represented across their
responses.
Similar to Bolman and Deals (1991b, 1992) findings, these presidents were more
likely to indicate the structural or human-resource frame as their orientation, and less likely
to cite the political or symbolic frame. Eleven presidents, or 34%, demonstrated use of two
frames, with five respondents indicating use of the human resource-symbolic frame
combination. Multiframe thinking was demonstrated by the remaining eight presidents, with
five citing a human resource-political-symbolic combination, two indicating the use of a
structural-human resource-political orientation, and one demonstrating four-frame thinking.
Bensimon (1987) concluded that more experienced presidents are likely to work within the
frames that brought them success, whereas new presidents may be more likely to exhibit
multiframe thinking. As a result of her findings, Bensimon (1987) recommends that
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presidents develop their teams to cover multiframe perspectives rather than replicate their
own predominant frames of thinking.
Birnbaum (1992) examined college and university presidential leadership using
questions grounded in Bolman and Deals (1984) frames. Nearly half (46%) of respondents
viewed the college presidency through the structural frame, while slightly over a quarter
(26%) depicted the leader using political language. The remaining respondents described
the leader as collegial (14%) or symbolic (13%).
Birnbaums (1992) study focuses on success and failure of college and university
presidents in institutional renewal, based on a five-year longitudinal study of presidents as
communicators, strategists, motivators, and sense-makers. This latter characteristic
focuses on how academic leaders think and the 'frames through which they make sense
of their institutions (Birnbaum, 1992, p. xiv). Birnbaum (1992) calls the ability to deploy
multiframe thinking cognitive complexity, a characteristic of successful university
presidencies as rated by faculty (p. 63).
Birnbaum (1992) contrasts instrumental leadership, grounded in managerial and
technical competence, with interpretive leadership, which emphasizes the 'management of
meaning (p. 154). Citing Smircich and Morgan (1982, p. 261), Birnbaum suggests that
leaders guide the attention of those in an organization in a way that shapes the meaning of
a given situation. Bringing some facets of a situation to the forefront and relegating others
to the background, the leader can articulate a vision of the college in idealized form that
captures what others believe but have been unable to express (Birnbaum, 1992, p. 154).
Heimovics, Herman, and Coughlin (1993) studied two groups of non-profit
executives using an interview format. Participants were asked to describe their thought
processes and actions during two organizational eventsone with a successful result and
one with an unsuccessful outcome. The groups included executives who had been labeled
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highly effective by an independent group of experts and a randomly selected control
group. Interview responses were coded using Bolman and Deals (1991b) critical incident
coding framework, which appears in Chapter 9. Heimovics et al. (1993) found that the
highly effective group of executives was more likely to employ the political frame or
engage in multiframe thinking than the control group of executives. Similar to the Bolman
and Deal (1991b, 1992) studies, regardless of the group, most executives engaged in
structural or human-resource thinking.
Bolman and Deal (2003, 2008) call particular attention to the work of Dunford and
Palmer (1995) in which these researchers attempt to test empirically the efficacy of
multiframe thinking among graduate management students employed in managerial
positions in Sydney, Australia. Fusing Bolman and Deals four-frame model with the
metaphorical models of Morgan (1986), the study concludes that reframing was helpful in
understanding organizations for 98% of respondents, while 78% believed that they
analyzed situations differently after studying reframing concepts, and 89% believed that
reframing gave them a competitive advantage within their organizations. The study points
out the limitation between multiframe analysis and organizational outcomes, however.
While reframing may provide a new perspective and new ideas about how an individual
may attack a given problem, organizational constraints may prevent that action from being
implemented or, if implemented, may prevent it from being successful (Dunford & Palmer,
1995, p. 104).
Cheng (1993) studied the leadership strengths of principals in 190 Hong Kong
primary schools. The study measured strength of leadership by combining items from
Bolman and Deal's (1991b) four-frame leadership orientation survey with measurement
items aligning with Sergiovannis (1984) five forces relating principal leadership with school
performance. Cheng (1993) found that highly correlated human, structural, political,
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symbolic, and educational dimensions of principal leadership provided a possible measure
of leadership strength. Principal leadership strength, in turn, emerged as a key factor for
effective school performance (Cheng, 1993).
Bista and Glasman (1998) combined Bolman and Deals (1984) frames with nine
managerial functions to create 36 behavioral strategies which were tested with 188 school
administrators. The study examined school principals in California to gauge their thinking
and activity related to the four frames and applied the frames to managerial functions like
planning, decision-making, re-organizing, evaluating, managing conflict, goal-setting,
communication, organizing meetings, and motivating. Bista and Glasman (1998)
determined that this group of administrators was most likely to engage in human resource
framing, while political framing was least likely to be exhibited. They also found that
administrators in larger schools showed higher ratings of the political frame and that
administrators in schools with greater diversity in socio-economic status demonstrated
greater use of the symbolic frame.
Dissertation Research Using the Four-Frame Model
Numerous dissertations examine various aspects of Bolman and Deals framing
schemata. Populations sampled range from chief information officers (Becker, 1999) and
campus safety directors (Wolf, 1998), to university presidents (DeFrank-Cole, 2003; Echols
Tobe, 1999; Jablonski, 1992; Tedesco, 2004; Tingey, 1997; Welch, 2002), chief financial
officers (Hacking, 2004), student affairs administrators (Kane, 2001; Travis 1996), campus
administrators (Borden, 2000; Gilson, 1994; Redman, 1991), academic deans (Cantu,
1997; Russell, 2000), university department chairs (Mathis, 1999), nursing chairpersons
(Mosser, 2000), radiation therapy program directors (Turley, 2002), elementary principals
(Cote, 1999; Mead, 1992; Messer, 2002, Rivers, 1996), middle school principals (Rivers,
1996), secondary school principals (Davis, 1996; Peasley, 1992; Rivers, 1996, Ulmer,
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2002) , Asian American principals (Suzuki, 1994), school administrators (Durocher, 1995),
and superintendents (Flak, 1998; Harlow, 1994; Strickland, 1992; Tedesco, 2004).
Participants were examined across cultures (Redman, 1991), across sectors from business
to higher education (Kelly, 1997), governing board presidents to community college
presidents and K-12 superintendents (McKeown, 2002), across genders (DeFrank-Cole,
2003) , and across institutional types from K-12 to research universities (Tedesco, 2004;
Tingey, 1997). The sample provided above is by no means exhaustive, but offers a sense
of the variety of recent dissertations using these schemata as the predominant theoretical
framework.
Methodologies
Nearly all of the dissertations reviewed relied exclusively on Bolman and Deals
Leadership Orientations-Self instrument (Becker, 1999; Borden, 2000; Cantu, 1997; Cote,
1999; Davis, 1996; Durocher, 1995; Gilson, 1994; Hacking 2004; Kelly, 1997; Messer,
2002; Rivers, 1996; Russell, 2000; Strickland, 1992; Suzuki, 1994; Travis, 1996; Turley,
2002; Welch, 2002; Wolf, 1998). Some used the Leadership Orientations-Other instrument
exclusively (Mathis, 1999; Mosser, 2000; Small, 2002). Others combined the LOS with the
LOO to provide a more complex view of the leaders framing perspective (Kane, 2001;
Tedesco, 2004), while others combined the quantitative instruments with interviews akin to
the Bolman and Deal (1991b) mixed-method study (DeFrank-Cole, 2003; Echols Tobe,
1999; Flak, 1998; Harlow, 1994; Redman, 1991).
Jablonski (1992) performed a purely qualitative analysis of the leadership
orientations of seven women college presidents based on in-depth interview data with each
president and at least five faculty from each presidents campus. Ulmer (2002) used the
Bolman and Deal (1991b) coding framework to analyze open-ended survey responses
from 105 school principals on best leadership practices for implementation of student
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assessment programs. McKeown (2002) conducted a case study of three community
college presidents and their board chairs by combining the Bolman and Deal (1984)
framework with the Chait, Holland, and Taylor (1991) dimensions of effective board
governance. A wide variety of research methods and contexts provide numerous
applications of the Bolman and Deal framing schemata and yield both common and
disparate results.
Common Findings
The majority of dissertation studies found the human-resource frame to be
dominant among leaders, based on self- and/or other-reporting (See Appendix I for the
complete list of reviewed dissertations). In contrast, Harlow (1994) reported 85% use of the
political frame through the evaluation of critical incident data gleaned from interviews with
school superintendents. The symbolic and political frames were least reported (Becker,
1999, Cantu, 1997; Echols Tobe, 1999; Flak, 1998; Gilson, 1994; Mathis, 1999; Messer,
2002; Mosser, 2000; Rivers, 1996; Russell, 2000; Small, 2002; Strickland, 1992; Turley,
2002; Wolf, 1998) in all but a few studies (Borden, 2000; Welch 2002). Some found a
relationship between higher age (Borden, 2000) or more years of work experience
(Russell, 2000; Wolf, 1998) and higher ratings in the political frame. Cote (1999) found that
less educated principals were more likely to report a structural orientation. Others equated
higher ratings of political framing with effective leadership (Cantu, 1997). Some studies
reported higher ratings for the human-resource frame in certain educational settings, for
example, in community colleges as compared to four-year universities (Borden, 2000).
Some studies report a relationship between years of experience and multiframe
thinking (Becker, 1999; Messer, 2002; Welch, 2002) or age and political orientation (Kelly,
1997). Messer (2002) found that early career elementary principals were more likely to
engage in structural thinking and Travis (1996) found that those with earned doctorates
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engaged in human-resource thinking to a greater extent. In contrast to Bolman and Deals
(1991) and Bensimons (1987) studies, several dissertations found the majority of
respondents engaged in multiframe thinking (Becker, 1999; Borden, 2000; Durocher, 1995;
Echols Tobe, 1999; Kane, 2001; Messer, 2002; Rivers, 1996; Suzuki, 1994; Turley, 2002).
Study-Specific Findings
Study-specific findings abound and are summarized briefly here. In one example,
Cote (1999) found a relationship between use of the structural and political frame and
perceived managerial effectiveness, while increased use of the structural and symbolic
frame was associated with leadership effectiveness. Later, Kane (2001) found that the
most effective student affairs professionals at the director level were more likely to score
higher in the political frame orientation and display multiframe thinking than those viewed
as least effective by their senior student affairs officer. Messer (2002) found additionally
that elementary school principals with large Parent-Teacher Associations were more likely
to report political orientation.
Davis (1996) and Turley (2002) found that women were more likely to use the
human resource, political, and symbolic frame than men. In addition, Davis (1996) found
that women rated all four categories more highly than men, and that women were more
likely than men to be multiframe thinkers. Suzuki (1994) found that Asian American female
principals used the human-resource frame at a significantly higher level than Asian
American male principals. Conversely, DeFrank-Cole (2003) found no statistically
significant difference on leadership orientation based on gender. Redmans (1991) study
comparing Japanese and American higher-education administrators found a significant
difference in leadership orientation among respondents, with the Americans exhibiting
higher means on the four frames, even though the ranking of the four frames was
consistent across cultures. Americans also showed a greater propensity for the political
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frame (Redman, 1991). Mathis (1999) found faculty reported greater intrinsic and overall
job satisfaction in those academic departments with chairs demonstrating higher levels of
symbolic orientation and that chairs demonstrating multiframe thinking had faculty with
higher levels of extrinsic, intrinsic, and overall job satisfaction ratings on the Mohrman-
Cooke-Mohrman Job Satisfaction Scale. Tingey (1997) concluded that leadership
orientation is largely contextual and situational, and that certain types of post-secondary
institutions tend to have presidents with specific styles of leadership. Tingey (1997) was left
with this unanswered question: do certain types of institutions attract presidents with
specific leadership styles or do presidents adapt based on the institutional types needs?
Given the variety of variables considered, dissertation research on the Bolman and
Deal (1984) schemata has thus far yielded a rich, complex, and sometimes contradictory
set of findings. In the majority of studies, data gathering has relied on self-reporting and the
same quantitative survey instrument. No evidence was available of a case study using the
Bolman and Deal (1984) schemata as a framework for analyzing a situation akin to the
issues examined in my dissertation. Consequently, I conclude that my dissertation
represents a new line of research using the Bolman and Deal (1984, 1991c, 1997, 2003,
2008) schemata.
Summary
In this chapter, I examined the development and use of framing schemata for both
leadership and institutional sense-making. Together, these mental models provide
constructs to assist leaders in the development of strategies and processes to address
systemic organizational problems. My examination also included a review of both peer-
reviewed and dissertation-based research using the Bolman and Deal (1984) four-frame
model. While many variable permutations emerged from this review, most studies conclude
that leaders rarely use more than two frames in their thinking, and that human-resource
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