Myopic managers or overzealous leaders usually harm more than just themselves. The challenges of today’s organizations require the objective perspective of managers as well as the brilliant “ashes of vision that wise leadership provides. We need more people in managerial roles who can !nd simplicity and order amid organizational confusion and chaos. We need versatile and “exible leaders who are artists as well as analysts, who can reframe experience to discover new issues and possibilities. We need managers who love their work, their organizations, and the people whose lives they affect. We need leaders who appreciate management as a moral and ethical undertaking, and who combine hardheaded realism with passionate commitment to larger values and purposes. We hope to encourage and nurture such qualities and possibilities.
As in the past, we have tried to produce a clear and readable synthesis and integration of the !eld’s major theoretical traditions. We concentrate mainly on organization theory’s implications for practice. We draw on examples from every sector and around the globe. Historically, organization studies has been divided into several intellectual camps, often isolated from one another. Works that seek to give a comprehensive overview of organiza- tion theory and research often drown in social science jargon and abstraction and have little to say to practitioners. Works that strive to provide speci!c answers and tactics often offer advice that applies only under certain conditions. We try to !nd a balance between misleading oversimpli!cation and mind-boggling complexity.
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The bulk of work in organization studies has focused on the private or public or nonpro!t sector but not all three. We think this is a mistake. Managers need to understand similarities and differences among all types of organizations. All three sectors increasingly interpenetrate one another. Federal, state and local governments create policy that shapes or intends to in”uence organizations of all types. When bad things happen new laws are promulgated. Public administrators who regulate airlines, nuclear power plants, or phar- maceutical companies face the problem of “indirect management” every day. They struggle to in”uence the behavior of organizations over which they have very limited authority. Private !rms need to manage relationships with multiple levels of government. The situation is even more complicated for managers in multinational companies coping with the subtleties of governments with very different systems and traditions. Around the world, voluntary and nongovernment organizations partner with business and govern- ment to address major social and economic challenges. Across sectors and cultures, managers often harbor narrow, stereotypic conceptions of one another that impede effectiveness on all sides. We need common ground and a shared understanding that can help strengthen organizations in every sector. The dialogue between public and private, domestic and multinational organizations has become increasingly important. Because of their generic application, the four frames offer an ecumenical language for the exchange. Our work with a variety of organizations around the world has continually reinforced our con!dence that the frames are relevant everywhere. Translations of the book into many languages, including Chinese, Dutch, French, Korean, Norwegian, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, and Turkish, provide ample evidence that this is so. Political and symbolic issues, for example, are universally important, even though the speci!cs vary greatly from one country or culture to another.
The idea of reframing continues to be a central theme. Throughout the book, we show how the same situation can be viewed in at least four unique ways. In Part VI, we include a series of chapters on reframing critical organizational issues such as leadership, change, and ethics. Two chapters are speci!cally devoted to reframing real-life situations.
We also continue to emphasize artistry. Overemphasizing the rational and technical side of an organization often contributes to its decline or demise. Our counterbalance emphasizes the importance of art in both management and leadership. Artistry is neither exact nor precise; the artist interprets experience, expressing it in forms that can be felt, understood, and appreciated. Art fosters emotion, subtlety, and ambiguity. An artist represents the world to give us a deeper understanding of what is and what might be. In modern organizations, quality, commitment, and creativity are highly valued but often
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hard to !nd. They can be developed and encouraged by leaders or managers who embrace the expressive side of their work.
OUTLINE OF THE BOOK As its title implies, the !rst part of the book, “Making Sense of Organizations,” focuses on sense-making and tackles a perplexing question about management: Why is it that smart people so often do dumb things? Chapter 1, “The Power of Reframing,” explains why: Managers oftenmisread situations. They have not learned how to usemultiple lenses to get a better sense of what they’re up against and what they might do. Chapter 2, “Simple Ideas, Complex Organizations,” uses well-known cases (such as 9/11) to show how managers’ everyday thinking and theories can lead to catastrophe. We explain basic factors that make organizational life complicated, ambiguous, and unpredictable; discuss common fallacies in managerial thinking; and spell out criteria for more effective approaches to diagnosis and action.
Part II, “The Structural Frame,” explores the key role that social architecture plays in the functioning of organizations. Chapter 3, “Getting Organized,” describes basic issues that managers must consider in designing structure to !t an organization’s strategies, tasks, and context. It demonstrates why organizations—from Amazon to McDonald’s to Harvard University—need different structures in order to be effective in their unique environments. Chapter 4, “Structure and Restructuring,” explains major structural pathologies and pitfalls. It presents guidelines for aligning structures to situations, along with cases illustrating successful structural change. Chapter 5, “Organizing Groups and Teams,” shows that structure is a key to high-performing teams.
Part III, “The Human Resource Frame,” explores the properties of both people and organizations, and what happens when the two intersect. Chapter 6, “People and Organi- zations,” focuses on the relationship between organizations and human nature. It shows how managers’ practices and assumptions about people can lead either to alienation and hostility or to commitment and high motivation. It contrasts two strategies for achieving effectiveness: “lean and mean,” or investing in people. Chapter 7, “Improving Human Resource Management,” is an overview of practices that build a more motivated and committed workforce—including participative management, job enrichment, self-manag- ing workgroups, management of diversity, and organization development. Chapter 8, “Interpersonal and Group Dynamics,” presents an example of interpersonal con”ict to illustrate how managers can enhance or undermine relationships. It also discusses emo- tional intelligence and how group members can increase their effectiveness by attending to