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Personal Leadership Experience: Case Analysis


This paper is a personal leadership experience analysis of my encounter with a community-based organization where I worked as an intern in 2018. The organization faced serious management challenges triggered by the decision to focus on gender dynamics in the community. The organization’s primary objective is to alleviate poverty from society and developed a turnaround strategy of women inclusion in their programs to increase the overall effectiveness. Arguably, the changes were implemented without involving various stakeholders, leading to reluctance and conflicts among different stakeholders, employees, and departmental heads. I differed with the administration on the gender inclusion implementation strategies adopted. In my view, specific organizational effectiveness models such as the four effectiveness frames proposed by Bolman and Deal (2017) could help alleviate the challenge. This paper will analyze the leadership challenges I experienced with the community-based organization based on leadership effectiveness frames with a primary focus centered on the political and symbolic approaches. In the paper, I will introduce the management frames as studied in the course, discuss political and symbolic strategies, and give an account of critical analysis of the effectiveness of the frame model’s application in addressing conflicts in the community-based organization before reviewing the management frames application.

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Introduction to Management Frames

Leadership challenges are typical for any organization operating as a going concern, and flawed approaches to addressing the challenges can lead to failure. According to Bolman and Deal (2017), while different leadership models exist, the most appropriate strategies depend on circumstances. Leadership frames include the human resource, symbolic, structural, and political. They also involve behaviors, practices, and philosophies associated with good leadership. The premise is that when the effective models are implemented in the right way, they improve the organization regardless of the industry the organization operates. However, the practice is that leaders do not apply all the four frames equally but concentrate on one or two of their preference. Most leaders also lack the skills, experience, and expertise in using the model (Bolman & Deal, 2017). Effective leadership coordinates the employees and organizational departments, boosts morale, and promotes team spirit. An effective leader is effective in mobilizing employees towards achieving corporate objectives.

Political Frame Theory

The political frame is a leadership philosophy that views an organization as a political system composed of people with diverse goals. The theory assumes that all employees and groups in an organization have individual goals to achieve that are different from that of the business. Healthy politics involves ensuring that a leader incorporates employees’ and groups’ interests in developing organizational objectives. Political frame theory requires a leader to manipulate the allocating of corporate resources to influence organizational goals.

In managing politics, an effective leader addresses decision-making skills, power, and conflict. Power is the component of politics that equips a leader with convincing followers to buy their ideas of achieving organizational goals. A leader adopts position power, alliance power, coercive control, or expertise to influence the people. Decision-making is the component of politics that determines the courses of action a leader should take in different situations. It includes defining the problem, critical examination, developing a possible course of action to be adopted, acting on the most appropriate course of action. Poor management of politics leads to conflict, which hinders people and groups from achieving common goals.

Symbolic Frame

Symbolic frame holds that organizational leadership can be made effective by supporting the firm’s goals and vision through upholding its historical background, values, and popular stories. The organization’s history as held by the people is integrated and maintained in creating a culture that supports the organizational vision. According to Bolman and Deal (2017), institutional faith culture believes formidable from the culture of attaining organizations objectives. Organizational goals, activities, and decisions are promoted using events, ceremonies, and rituals. The different symbolic undertakings create meaning to the culture and help a leader identify figurative representations that motivate people to work (Bolman & Deal, 2017). Based on the theory, a leader can only achieve organizational goals if the goals define and be defined by symbolic expressions.

Political and Symbolic Frame Model’s Application in My Case Study

My leadership case had experienced poor leadership at different levels of management. The four leadership approaches proposed by Bolman and Deal (2017) could help the organization alleviate the management challenges the community-based entity faced. The above discussed management frames could all be used to develop the organization’s leadership policy. However, political and extended structures have more application in addressing the challenges faced. The challenge of varied opinions on how to run the organization can be addressed through adopting political frame elements. The theory requires the manager to adopt excellent decision-making conflict resolution skills and eliminate competition wasteful competition for power (Bolman & Deal, 2017). The down-up decision-making technique should be implemented in making important decisions for the organization. Employees will not resist the changes they proposed to the organization. The leadership should not implement gender-based changes without adequate sensitization to all the employees. In my leadership case study, when the organization sensitized the stakeholders on including women in the poverty eradication program, a section of the employees supported the idea. The support was a clear indication that the collaborative decision-making associated with the political frame worked in the study case.

The symbolic frame requires the integration of the community norms in decision-making. The society, in my case, perceives women inclusion as a way of benefiting women at the expense of men. The firm should participate in integrating its norms, values, and culture in designing organizational visions. Notably, most policies did not welcome the gender dynamic policies. They felt that the organization would get viewed as advancing the women’s gender instead of addressing the entire community poverty eradication.

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Analysis of the leadership frames helps understand that they are not the only techniques of reshaping organizations and improve their productivity. Other important insights to be emphasized in the case beyond the four frames include cross-sector collaboration, sustainability, communication, differences’ handling, globalization, and virtual environment model. Again, the frames should not be used in isolation or one after the other, but their implementation should be concurrent (Bolman & Deal, 2017). The four frames are equally important and include management ways of thinking which should be adopted by all managers at different levels. The application of the leadership is not successful where there is poor goal selection. The frames are ambiguous as they do not explain the exact approaches to be adopted at a time. After analyzing the structures, the central question of concern remains: How can I effectively apply cross-sector collaboration, sustainability, communication, differences’ handling, globalization, and virtual environment model to attain the organizational vision of my leadership experience case.


Bolman, L. G., & Deal, T. E. (2017). Reframing organizations. Jossey-Bass.

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