Framing Organizational Behavior

This summer I took a management class called "Organizational Behavior." The premise is that employees each operate in different frames, which can typically be broken into the following categories: structural, political, symbolic and human resources. A “frame” refers to how people perceive the world, and somebody operating in the human resources frame may focus on coaching and motivating others, while a structural person may be solely interested in analyzing and achieving a goal.

While it was interesting to study the various theories and ways that people may view the world (oftentimes it’s using a blend of those four frames), I really appreciated learning how to become a savvier business person who will bring value to an organization. Thinking these tips are too good not to share, here are some of my favorite pieces of business advice from this summer:

  • Be a consultant to your organization. Raise awareness about the implications of decisions.
  • Celebrate small successes on the road to a goal.
  • Culture is both a product and a process.
  • The right time to tell an employee something is when he or she really doesn’t know the answer.
  • It’s difficult to truly understand a goal if success cannot be defined. Define success early in the process.
  • Understanding the four frames mentioned above can lead to a greater understanding of different perspectives and contribute to a more holistic point of view. Being able to navigate through an organization by using these frames is a key to success.
  • Beware of mindset errors and paradigm shifts. Just because something hasn’t happened yet doesn’t mean it won’t happen in the future.
  • Most people want to be successful. To help a person develop a skill, give that individual feedback on how to become even more successful.