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Reframing and organizational action

Author(s): Ian Palmer, Richard Dunford
Year Published: 1996

Palmer and Dunford analyze the concept of reframing and discuss four key limits to this concept. Reframing literature asserts that people generally are trapped into a singular way of thinking about a situation, and thus, they are unable to think more creatively about situations and problems they may encounter on the job. Some scholars advocate reframing for managers because it allows them to interpret situations differently than if they hadn’t reframed them and to examine a variety of actions that might be possible within a given situation. However, the authors discuss four hindrances to reframing. First, addressing cognitive limits, the authors question whether reframing is something that comes naturally to people or whether it can be taught. Second, they argue that some frames are dominant within a particular organization and so there may not be the language or possibility to reframe situations outside the organization’s limits. Third, the possibilities of what type of action may be needed (mental or physical) may limit where/when reframing can occur. Finally, the authors argue that reframing cannot occur on all levels of knowledge, and therefore, depending upon the situation and knowledge created during the reframing process, reframing itself may be counterproductive.

Citation: Palmer I, Dunford R. 1996. Reframing and organizational action. Journal of Organizational Change Management 9 (6), p. 12-25.
Topic(s): Human Dimensions of Fire Management, Decisionmaking & Sensemaking, Leadership
Ecosystem(s): None
Document Type: Book or Chapter or Journal Article
Hot Topic(s):
NRFSN number: 16245
Record updated: Dec 19, 2017