Research Using or Influenced by Bolman & Deal's Four Frames


Below is some of the work that we're aware of that includes use of the four-frame model.  If you are aware of work that we have not included, Terry and I would appreciate hearing about it. Please send me an e-mail. [Last update: September, 2015]

One stream of research using concepts from the frames is represented in a body of work from Dick Heimovics, Bob Herman, and colleagues. They developed frame measures through content-analysis of critical incidents provided by respondents:

Heimovics, R. D., Herman, R. D., and Jurkiewicz, C. L. "The Political Dimension of Effective Nonprofit Executive Leadership," 1995, Vol.5, No.3, Spring 1995, Nonprofit Management and Leadership: A Quarterly Journal, 233-248. The article was voted the 1996 winner of the Peter F. Drucker Prize for the Best Scholarly Paper in Nonprofit Management and Leadership.

Heimovics, R. D., Herman, R. D., and Jurkiewicz Coughlin, C. L. "Executive Leadership and Resource Dependence in Nonprofit Organizations: a Frame Analysis." Public Administration Review, 1993, 53(5), 419-427.



Our Research Using the Leadership Orientations Instrument

Another strand is work that Terry Deal and I have done using an instrument that we developed to measure leadership orientations:

Bolman, L. G. and Deal, T. E. "Leading and Managing: Effects of Context, Culture and Gender." Education Administration Quarterly, 1992, 28, 314-329.

Bolman, L. G. and Deal, T. E. "Reframing Leadership: the Effects of Leaders' Images of Leadership." In Clark, K. E., Clark, M. B, and Campbell, D. (Eds.). Impact of Leadership. Greensboro, North Carolina: Center for Creative Leadership, 1992.

Bolman, L. G. and Deal, T. E. "Leadership and Management Effectiveness: a Multi-Frame, Multi-Sector Analysis." Human Resource Management, 1991, 30, 509-534. (This is more recent than the 1992 publications--the publication date is misleading because HRM was running behind at the time.)

Elena Granell and I wrote a paper that extends the Leadership Orientations data into an international comparison:

Bolman, L. G., and Granell, E. "Flexible Leadership: A Comparative Analysis of Venezuelan Managers."  Paper presented at First International Conference, Ibero-American Academy of Management, Madrid, December, 1999.

Research on organizations and leaders

The reports below use, critique, or test elements of the Bolman/Deal framework:

Achinstein, B. and Barret, A. (2004) (Re)Framing Classroom Contexts: How New Teachers and Mentors View Diverse Learners and Challenges of Practice.  Teachers College Record.  

Bensimon, E. M.  (1989) The Meaning of `Good Presidential Leadership': a Frame Analysis. The Review of Higher Education, 12, 107-123.

Bensimon, E. M.  (1990) Viewing the Presidency: Perceptual Congruence Between Presidents and Leaders on their Campuses. The Leadership Quarterly, 1, 71-90.

Bista, M. B. and Glasman, N. S. (1998) Principals' Perceptions of Their Approaches to Organizational Leadership: Revisiting Bolman and Deal. Journal of School Leadership, 8, 26-48.

Bowen, E.  (2004).  "A Leadership Reality Check Involving County Extension Leaders and Their Stakeholders." Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement, 10(1), pp. 79-90.

Brocklesby, J. &  Mingers, J. (1999). The Cognitive Limits on Organisational Reframing: A Systems Perspective Based on the Theory of Autopoiesis. Paper presented at the International System Dynamics Conference, Wellington, August 1999. 

Carter, J. A. (2006) Principals' perspectives on facilitating inclusive education: an international investigation.  Paper presented at Hawaii International Conference on Education.

Cheng, Y. C. (1994). Principal's leadership as a critical indicator of school performance: Evidence from multi-levels of primary schools. School Effectiveness and School Improvement: An International Journal of Research, Policy, and Practice, 5(3), 299317.

Dever, J. T.  (1997) Reconciling Educational Leadership and the Learning Organization.  Community College Review, 2, 57-63.

Fincher, R. E., et al.  (2000) Scholarship in Teaching: an Imperative for the 21st Century.  Academic Medicine, 75(9), 887-894. 

Fleming-May, R. A. and Douglass, K.  Framing Librarianship in the Academy: an Analysis Using Bolman and Deal's Model of Organizations.  College and Research Libraries, expected May, 2014.

Goldman, P. and Smith, N. (1991) Filling the frames: using Bolman and Deal to analyze an educational innovation.  ERIC ED355639.

Heminway, J. M.  “ Reframing and Reforming the Securities and Exchange Commission: Lessons from Literature on Change Leadership.”  Villanova Law Review, Vol. 55, 2010, University of Tennessee Legal Studies Research Paper No. 125

Kezar, A., Eckel, P., Contreras-McGavin, M., & Quaye, S. (2008). Creating a web of support: An important leadership strategy for advancing campus diversity. Higher Education, 55(1), 69-92.

Liang, N. and Wang, J. (2004) Implicit Mental Models in Teaching Cases: an Empirical Study of Popular MBA Cases in the United States and China.  Academy of Management Learning and Education, 3(4), 397-413.  

Marsick, V. J., Volpe, M.  and Watkins, K. E..  (1999) Theory and Practice of Informal Learning in the Knowledge Era.  Advances in developing human resources, 1, 80-95.

Merz, C. (2003). Understanding the organization where deans work: Frames and models. In W. H. Gmelch (Ed.), Deans' balancing acts: Education leaders and the challenges they face (pp. 79-88). Washington, DC: American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education.

Mosser, N. R. and Walls, R. T.  (2002).  Leadership frames of nursing chairpersons and the organizational climate in baccalaureate nursing programs.  Southern Online Journal of Nursing Research, 3.

Palestini, R. H.  (1999) Leadership Tendencies of Continuing Education Administrators.  PAACE Journal of Lifelong Learning,  8, 31-39.

Palmer, I. and Dunford, R.  (1996) Reframing and organizational action: the unexplored link.  Journal of Organizational Change Management, 9, 12-25. 

Parry, A. E. and Horton, M. J. (1998) Finding, not looking, for leadership: a case study using the Bolman and Deal Model.  Journal of Leadership Studies, 5 

Patterson, J., et al.  Mentoring females and minorities into higher education.  Advancing Women in Leadership, Fall, 2002.

Reyes, J. B. B.  Leadership Orientation and Supervisory Practices of School Heads and Their Relationship to Performance of Teachers in Selected Public Elementary Schools in the Dep. Ed. Division of Bulacan.  Dissertation, Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Sta. Mesa, Manila,

Rice, D. and Harris, M. M. (2003) "Leadership in community schools: a frame analysis."  Reclaiming Children and Youth, 11.

Risen, D. N.  (2007) Attendance policies and student grades. Journal of Cases in Educational Leadership, 10(1),  1-6

 Rodríguez, L. y Freites, Z. M.  (2013) "Perspectivas de liderazgo consideradas por Bolman y Deal: un análisis en los gerentes venezolanos." (Leadership Perspectives Considered by Bolman and Deal: An Analysis of Venezuelan Managers.)  Telos, Revista de Estudios Interdisciplinarios en Ciencias Sociales, 15(1).

 Sasnett, B. and Ross, T.  (2007) Leadership Frames and Perceptions of Effectiveness Among Health Information Management Program Directors.  Perspectives in Health Information Manageme documents/ahima/bok1_035661.html

Schneiderman, J. U.  (20004) The Health of Children in Foster Care.  Journal of School Nursing, 20(6), 343-351.

Schneiderman, J. U.  (2005, July) The Child Welfare System: Through the Eyes of Public Health Nurses.  Public Health Nursing, 22(4), 354-359.;jsessionid=6979B79931CF6D158E75FC726DBB25A3.d02t01?deniedAccessCustomisedMessage=&userIsAuthenticated=false 

Volume 22, Issue 4, pages 354–359, July 2005

Scott, D. K.  (1999).  A multiframe perspective of leadership and organizational climate in intercollegiate athletics.  Journal of Sport Management, 13, 298-316.

Schuman, S. (1998)  Myth, symbol and tenure.  College Teaching, 46.

Shum, L. S. & Cheng, Y.C. (1997). Perceptions of woman principals leadership and teachers work attitudes. Journal of Educational Administration. 35(2), 168-188.

Sullivan, L. G.  (2001)  Four generations of community college leadership. Community College Journal of Research and Practice, 25(8),559-571(13)

Swiercz, P. M.  (2003) Rational, Human, Political, and Symbolic Text in Harvard Business School Cases: A Study of Structure and Content.  Journal of Management Education, 27(4), 407-430.  

Tan, M., Hee, T. F. and Piaw, C. Y.  A Qualitative Study of the Leadership Style of a Vice-Chancellor in a Private University in Malaysia.  Sage Open, Jan-Mar 2015, 1-11.

Thompson, D. F., Farmer, K. C., Beall, D. G., Evans, D. J., Melchert, R. B., Ross, L. A., et al. (2008). Identifying perceptions of professionalism in pharmacy using a four-frame leadership model. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 72(4), 1-8.

Thompson, M. D. (2000) Gender, Leadership Orientation, and Effectiveness: Testing the Theoretical Models of Bolman & Deal and Quinn.  Sex Roles, 42, 969-992.

Thompson, M. D.  (2005) Organizational Climate Perception and Job Element Satisfaction: A Multi-frame Application in a Higher Education Setting.  E-Journal of Organizational Learning and Leadership, Vol. 4 (Fall/Winter), 

Tull, A., & Freeman, J. P. (2011). Reframing student affairs leadership: An analysis of organizational frames of reference and locus of control. Research in the Schools, 18(1), 33-43. Link.

Turley, C. L.  (2004)  A frames analysis of radiation therapy program director leadership.  Radiation Therapist, 13(1), 15-19.

Vuori, J.  Leadership Frames of Program Directors at Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences.  Tampere, Finland: Tampere University Press, 2011.

Wimpelberg, R. K.  (1987) Managerial Images and School Effectiveness. Administrators' Notebook, 32, 1-4.

Youtz, S. C. (1998) Role Evolution Demands a New Vision of Leadership. Organizations & Networks.  Clinical Nurse Specialist, 12(1), 37.

Books or works that use frameworks similar to the four frames include:

Bergquist, W. H. The Four Cultures of the Academy. (Bergquist describes four cultures: collegial, managerial, developmental, and negotiating.)

Birnbaum, R. How Colleges Work. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass: 1988. (Birnbaum uses four images that have parallels to the frames: collegial, bureaucratic, political, and anarchical.)


Doctoral Dissertations

The largest body of frames-influenced work is in doctoral dissertations. The list includes:

Bankes, P. R.  (2002)  A study to identify the prevailing cognitive disposition of those trained as assessors for the School Administrators Skills Assessment program. Dissertation, Texas Tech University.

Becker, N. J.  (1999) Implementing technology in higher education: The leadership role and perspectives of the chief information officer.  Columbia University Digital Commons.

Boff, Colleen T.  (2015)  “A Quantitative Study of Academic Library Administrators Using Bolman and Deal's Leadership Orientation Framework.”  Doctoral dissertation, Bowling Green State University.

Bowen, E.P. (2004)  Perspectives on the Leadership Styles of West Virginia University Extension Service County Program Coordinators. Doctoral dissertation, West Virginia University.

Burks, Tom Dean. The use of organizational frames in leadership development. Thesis (Ed.D.)Peabody College for Teachers of Vanderbilt University, 1992.

Cadwell, Karin. Redesigning Delivery of Care: A Four-Frame Analysis of Patient-Centered Innovations in Six U.S. Hospitals.  Union Institute Graduate Program, 1994.

Cantu, Dana Andreas. The Leadership Frames of Academic Deans Randomly Selected and Nominationed as Exceptionally Effective at Public Colleges and Universities. Arkansas State University, 1997.

Chang, T.   Leadership styles of department chairs and faculty utilization of instructional technology.  (Doctoral dissertation, West Virginia University , 2004).

Childress, Georgia Pearl Esters. An exploratory study of leadership orientation frames of United States-based Japanese and American leaders in the automotive manufacturing industry. Thesis (ED.D.)Peabody College for Teachers of Vanderbilt University. 1994. 134p.

Clark, S.  L. University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA) academic department chairs’ self-perceived utilization of Bolman and Deal’s four-frame theoretical model.  Thesis, Alabama State University, 2014.  

Crist, B. E. (1999). A study of the relationship of the job satisfaction of chief academic officers of institutions of higher education and the perceived leadership style of the institution's president. Ed. D. thesis. West Virginia University. Retrieved July 24, 2008, from

Coles, J.  (2005)  Multiple perspectives in alternative school leadership development: A study of three first-year urban principals .  Dissertation, Fordham University.

Davis, Thelma Irene . The ways administrators work: a study of the theoretical framers of leadership used by female and male secondary school principals in Pennsylvania. Thesis (Ed.D.)--Temple University, 1996. Dissertation Abstracts International. Volume: 57-06, Section: A, page: 2287.

DeFrank-Cole, Lisa M.  An exploration of the differences in female and male self-perceptions of presidential leadership styles at colleges and universities in West Virginia.   University of Pittsburgh, 2003.

Deluca, Sandra.  Leadership orientation style and use of power: a study of New Jersey male superintendents.  Seton Hall University, 2009.

Durocher, Elizabeth Antoinette. Leadership orientations of school administrators: a survey of nationally recognized school leaders. Thesis (Ed.D.) Columbia University Teachers College, 1995. 145p. Dissertation Abstracts International. Volume: 57-02, Section: A, page: 0525.

Eckley, Mona Elaine Nelson.  The relationship between teacher empowerment and principal leadership styles (school organization).  Thesis (PH.D.)--The Pennsylvania State University, 1997. 

Edmunds, Maribeth.  The female superintendency: reframing our understanding of women's leadership styles and behaviors.  Thesis (Ed.D.) -- Seton Hall University, 2007.

Eick, C. L. M. (2003). Factors that promote effective risk management at universities classified by the Carnegie system as Doctoral/Research universities. Ed.D. thesis. Auburn University. Retrieved July 22, 2008, from

Fannin, Bartholomew.  Bolman and Deal: an Irish Perspective.  Thesis (Ed.D.) -- National University of Ireland, Galway, 2008.  Abstract at

Gamble, M. W. (2003). "Living logos": Framing the discourse of the university presidency. Ed. D. thesis. West Virginia University. Retrieved 24 July, 2008, from

Gilson, Joan Tedrow . A leadership study: public higher education administrators in Missouri compared with the Bolman-Deal database on multi-frame, multi-sector leadership. Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Missouri-Kansas City. 1994. 163p.

Griffin, Marshall S.  A Comparison of the Leadership Orientations of Chairpersons of Biology and English Departments at Baccalaureate and Master's Institutions in the Southern Region.  Dissertation, University of West Virginia, 2005.

Guidry, Tessie Chambliss. Women deans' perceptions of their leadership styles: A study based on Bolman and Deal's four frame theory.  Dissertation, East Carolina University, 2007.

Harlow, Janice Heim. Educational Leadership: a Frame Analysis. Thesis (Ed.D.)Seattle University, 1994. 208p.  Dissertation Abstracts International, 55(08), 2227A.

Harrell, Amy Patterson.  An analysis of the perceived leadership orientation of senior student affairs officers and the work satisfaction of their professional staff subordinates in the North Carolina Community College System.   Doctoral Dissertation, East Carolina University, 2006.

Herringshaw, D.  (2005) An investigation of leadership orientation of family and consumer sciences Extension professionals and functioning of issue teams.  Dissertation, Bowling Green University.

Hollingsworth, Connie. Leadership characteristics and work ethic of Tennessee agricultural extension service home economists. Thesis (Ph.D.)--The University of Tennesseee.  1995. 147p.

Kolb, C. Steven.  Perceptions of the Use of Leadership Frames by Male and Female Superintendents by Subordinate Top-Ranking School Administrators.  Thesis (Ed.D.) Seton Hall University, 2009.

Lathan, Calvin Arthur, III. The Navy environmental health officer: analysis and comparison of the accession route of the naval environmental health officers that possess strong leadership abilities. Thesis (Ed.D.)University of Southern California, 1993.

Lewis-Stankus, Sara Jane.  A study of the relationship between leadership styles of principals in smaller learning communities, the number of structures and strategic configurations, and the rates of student success of 9th-graders.  Thesis, University of West Virginia, 2007. 

Little, Susan Dianne.  Perception or Reality?  A Frame Analysis of Leadership Behavior, Style and Effectiveness Among Selected Community College Administrators.  Thesis (Ed.D.), University of North Carolina-Charlotte, 2010.

Maitra, A  (2007) An Analysis of Leadership Styles and Practices of University Women in Administrative Vice Presidencies.  Doctoral Dissertation, Bowling Green University. 

Mathis, S. G. (1999) The relationship of leadership frame use of departmental chairs to faculty job satisfaction as perceived by selected departmental faculty members.  Dissertation, University of West Virginia.

Martinez, Richard Stephen. Self and administrative designee perceptions of leadership orientations of elementary principals who have and have not completed the California School Leadership Academy. Thesis (Ed.D.) University of La Verne, 1996.

Matalon, B. Y. (1997) An examination of attitude toward change as a predictor of policy/program implementation.   Dissertation, Florida International University.

Mathis, Saralyn Grenga, (1999)  The Relationship of Leadership Frame Use of Departmental Chairs to Faculty Job Satisfaction as Perceived by Selected Departmental Faculty Members, Dissertation Abstracts International Section A: Humanities and Social Sciences VOL 60(6-A) 1999 1936.

Metze, Tony A.  Multi-Frame Leadership with South Carolina Lutheran Clergy.  Dissertation, Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, 2004.

Miller, P. A.  (1998) Directors/chairpersons of occupational therapy professional programs: A study of leadership in higher education. Dissertation, Columbia University.

Miron, Dorina. A Pilot Study to Assess the Relevance of Bolman and Deals Framing Theory to the Management of Stress in Newsrooms. University of Missouri, 1994. Dissertation Abstracts International, 55(05), 1158A.

Mosser, N.R.  A study of the relationship between the perceived leadership style of nursing chairpersons and the organizational climate in baccalaureate nursing programs.  Dissertation Abstracts International. UMI Dissertation Services Item: AA19999952.

Peasley, Robert Bruce. The California School Leadership Academy: its effects on the leadership orientations of California secondary principals. Thesis (Ed.D.)--University of Laverne. 1992.

Powers, T. M.  (2002) A case study of the prevailing and preferred cognitive frames of campus plan goals in two west Texas schools.  Dissertation, Texas Tech University.

Pritchett, W.  The relationship between the president's leadership style(s) at Tennessee's public four-year institutions and the job satisfaction of their chief academic leaders.  Dissertation: Middle Tennessee State University, 2006.  Dissertation Abstracts International, 67, no. 03A (2006): p. 865. 

Probst, M.B., (2011). An analysis of leadership frame preference of academic administration: Using the bolman and deal four frame model.  Dissertation: Capella University.

Rivers, Peggy G . A frame analysis of principals leadership orientations (multiframe thinking). Thesis (Ed.D.)University of Central Florida, 1996.

Schumacher, K.A., (2011). Viewing the impact of shared services through the four frames of Bolman and Deal .  Link

Scott, David Kent . An exploratory study of leadership and organizational climate/culture of NCAA and NAIA Finalists for the 1995-1996 Sears Directors Cup (Athletic Directors). University of Northern Colorado, 1997. Dissertation Abstracts International. Volume: 58-08, Section: A, page: 3063.

Shipley, S. D. (2000) A study to identify cognitive frames accessed by special education administrators under conditions of required change.  Dissertation, Texas Tech University.

Small, T.T. (2002).  A study of the relationship between the perceived leadership style of nursing chairpersons and the organizational effectiveness of baccalaureate nursing programs.  Dissertation Abstracts International. UMI Dissertation Services Item: AA13055943.

Sypawka, William. (January 2008).A Study of Division Deans' in the North Carolina Community College System Self Perceived Leadership Style Based on Bolman and Deal's Four Frame Theory.  Dissertation, East Carolina University.  Link

Strickland, J. S. Leadership perspectives of Tennessee school leaders. East Tennessee State University, 1992. Dissertation Abstracts International, 53(04), 1018a.

Stuart, Victoria L. (2015)  Reframing the Academic Research Library in the U.S.: Perceptions of Change from Library Leaders. Graduate Theses and Dissertations.

Suzuki, Yoko Caryl.  (1994). A comparative study of the leadership orientations frames of California, Asian and other public school principals. Thesis (Ed.D.)University of LaVerne, 121p.

Tan, Mabel (2014).  The Influence of Multiframe Leadership on Organizational Climate in a Private University in Malaysia.  Thesis (Ph.D.), Institute of Educational Leadership, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur.

Thomas, K. (2002) Perceptions Regarding Leadership Orientations of Local School Board Chairpersons in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  Dissertation, Virginia Polytechnic Institute.

Tobe, D. E.  (1999) The development of cognitive leadership frames among African American female college presidents.  Dissertation, Columbia University.

Ulmer, M. A.  (2002) Principals' leadership practices in the context of state assessments.  Dissertation, University of Connecticut. 

Washington, Nancy Gay. Special Education Administrators: Paths of Preparation and Models of Practice (Oklahoma, Compliance). Thesis (Ed.D.)--Oklahoma State University, 1996.

Wells, S.C. (2009). A comparison of the nursing costs associated with the implementation of the mandated nurse-to-patient ratios in California. Ph.D Dissertation at University of MO- Kansas City.

Winans, David P.  School Board/Superintendent frames of reference from school districts engaged in systemic change. Thesis (Ed.D.)--University of Kansas, 1995. 103p.