Four Frame Model

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What Is The Four Frame Model ?

The Four Frame Model is a framework developed to help organizations better understand and manage conflict . The model suggests that there are four different ways in which people view and approach conflict, which are called the "Four Frames ."

The first frame is the "Structural Frame," which focuses on the organization of the conflicting parties and their resources . This frame sees conflict as a competition between two or more groups, with each side trying to maximize its own interests .

The structural frame looks at the formal relationships between people and positions within the organization . It focuses on how work is done and how tasks are allocated . This frame is useful for understanding issues such as departmentalization, chain of command and span of control .

The second frame is the "Human Resources Frame," which focuses on the individual people involved in the conflict . This frame sees conflict as a result of differences in skills, knowledge, or motivation between people .

The human resource frame focuses on the individual employees in the organization . It looks at issues such as motivation, job satisfaction and training . This frame is useful for understanding how to manage people effectively .

The third frame is the "Political Frame," which focuses on how power is distributed among the conflicting parties . This frame sees conflict as a struggle for control or influence over resources or decisions .

The political frame focuses on the informal relationships between people in the organization . It looks at power, conflict and coalitions . This frame is useful for understanding office politics and how decisions are made in organizations .

The fourth and final frame is the "Symbolic Frame," which focuses on the meanings and values that are attached to the conflict . This frame sees conflict as a battle over ideas or identity, with each side fighting to maintain its own worldview .

The symbolic frame focuses on the culture of the organization . It looks at issues such as values, beliefs and assumptions . This frame is useful for understanding why people behave the way they do in organizations .

All four of these frames are useful in understanding and managing conflict, but it is important to keep in mind that they are only the lens through which to view conflict; they are not reality itself . It is also important to remember that people often use multiple frames when approaching conflicts, switching back and forth between them as needed .

How The Four Frame Model Works ?

The four frame model is a comprehensive approach to organizations that was first proposed by sociologist Kurt Lewin in the 1930s . The model suggests that there are four basic ways that organizations can operate : frame 1) command and control; frame 2) scientific management; frame 3) human relations; and frame 4) system thinking . Each of these frames has different underlying assumptions about how work should be done and what motivates employees .

  • The command and control organization is based on the assumption that work is a mechanical process and that employees are like cogs in a machine . This type of organization relies heavily on rules, procedures and hierarchy to get work done .
  • The scientific management organization also views work as a mechanical process, but unlike the command and control organization, this type of organization believes that there is a science to working efficiently . This means analyzing work processes to find the best way to do them and then using rewards and punishments to motivate employees to follow these procedures .
  • The human relations organization is based on the assumption that work is fundamentally social and that employees are motivated by things like recognition, appreciation and belongingness needs . This type of organization focuses on creating a positive work environment where employees feel valued and supported .
  • The system thinking organization is based on the assumption that organizations are complex systems made up of many interrelated parts . This type of organization looks at the big picture and tries to find ways to improve the overall system rather than focusing on individual parts .

The four frame model provides a comprehensive view of how organizations can operate and gives managers the tools to evaluate their organization’s effectiveness in relation to those frames . By understanding each of these frames, managers can develop more effective strategies for running their organizations and creating an effective work culture .

What Are The 10 Main Benefits of The Four Frame Model ?

Here are 10 of the most important benefits of using the Four Frame Model

  • Helps you understand your organization as a whole :

The Four Frame Model provides a comprehensive overview of an organization . By looking at all four frames, you can get a better understanding of how each element interacts with the others .

  • Helps you identify areas of improvement :

The model can help you pinpoint areas where your organization needs to make changes . This is especially helpful if you’re not sure where to start when it comes to making improvements .

  • Helps you create a plan for change :

Once you’ve identified areas that need improvement, the Four Frame Model can help you develop a plan for making those changes . This plan will consider all four frames , so it will be comprehensive and effective .

  • Identifies gaps in strategic implementation :

The model is especially helpful when it comes to assessing the effectiveness of an organization’s strategy . It can help you identify areas where strategy implementation has not been successful and suggest changes to address those issues .

  • Assesses compatibility between elements :

By looking at all four frames, you can gain insight into how each element works together within the organization . This can help you identify potential issues that might arise from incompatibility between elements and plan for them ahead of time .

  • Helps ensure resources are being used effectively :

The model can help you understand how resources are being used throughout your organization so you can make sure they’re being deployed efficiently .

  • Allows for easy tracking of progress :

Because the Four Frame Model provides a comprehensive overview of an organization, it makes it easy to track progress on different initiatives and projects over time .

  • Ideal for use with teams :

For teams working on projects or initiatives, the Four Frame Model is a great tool as it allows them to develop strategies, plans and goals in a collaborative manner that considers all four frames .

  • Useful for startups :

Startups and small businesses can benefit from the Four Frame Model as it can help them understand their organization and ensure resources are being used efficiently and effectively .

  • Enables organizations to be agile :

By understanding the organizational structure in such detail, organizations can quickly respond to changes in the marketplace or within their environment .

Overall, the Four Frame Model is a powerful tool for organizational analysis and can help organizations gain insights into their internal structure . By taking all four frames into consideration, organizations can more effectively assess their business and identify areas of improvement .

What Are The 10 Main Disadvantages of The Four Frame Model ?

There are several disadvantages of the Four Frame Model that should be considered before using it as a framework for decision-making .

  • The model assumes that all organizations are rational and operate within predictable patterns . This is not always the case, particularly in times of crisis or change .
  • The model also assumes that organizations have limited resources and must make trade-offs between different goals . In reality, organizations have varying levels of resources and may be able to achieve multiple goals simultaneously .
  • The four frames are silos that don’t always take into account the interconnectedness of organizational life . Issues in one frame can affect issues in another frame, but this isn’t always considered in the Four Frame Model .
  • The model doesn’t always allow for creativity and innovation, as it relies on existing paradigms and models of success .
  • The Four Frame Model can lead to groupthink if decision-makers only consult with those who share their frame of reference .
  • The model can create rigidity in thinking and action if decision-makers only rely on the four frames to make decisions instead of considering other perspectives .
  • The Four Frame Model doesn’t always consider the ethical implications of decisions made within each frame . For example, decisions made from a financial frame may not take into consideration the ethical consequences of actions taken to increase profits .
  • The model often overlooks the importance of human resources in organizations and underestimates the potential effects of employee morale on organizational success .
  • The model also tends to focus solely on short-term goals without taking into account the long-term implications for an organization .
  • Finally, the Four Frame Model only takes into account the interests of an organization and its stakeholders instead of considering broader societal factors that could be impacted by decisions made from each frame .

For these reasons, decision-makers should take into account the potential drawbacks of the Four Frame Model before relying on it as a framework for decision-making .

What Are The Examples of The 4 Frame Model ?

The four frame model is a tool that can be used to help organizations better understand and respond to the complexities of social interactions . The model was first developed by applied anthropologist Dr . John Van Maanen in the early 1970s .

The four frame model consists of four different types of frames, or perspectives, that social actors can use to make sense of their environment :

  • Frame 1 : The Individual Frame

This frame focuses on the individual actor and their personal goals, experiences and motivations . It is useful for understanding how an individual will react in a given situation .

  • Frame 2 : The Collective Frame

This frame focuses on the group or collective that the individual is part of . It takes into account the norms, values and expectations of the group and how they may influence the individual’s behavior .

  • Frame 3 : The Organizational Frame

This frame focuses on the formal organization that the individual is a part of . It looks at how the rules, regulations and hierarchy of the organization may impact the individual’s behavior .

  • Frame 4 : The Interactionist Frame

This frame focuses on the social interaction between individuals . It looks at how communication, relationships and power dynamics may influence the way two people interact with each other .

The four frame model is useful for understanding how an individual’s behavior may be motivated by all four of these frames . It is also a helpful tool for recognizing potential areas of tension between people and organizations and identifying the most effective ways to navigate them .


Overall, the Four frame model provides organizations with a framework for understanding and managing themselves . As with any management tool, it is only as effective as its implementation . Organizations should take the time to understand each of the four frames as they relate to their specific enterprise before attempting to apply them in practice . By doing so, they can understand how best to use this concept and gain a competitive edge .

The Four frame model provides an essential framework for understanding organizations and how to best manage them . It can help you explore the different aspects of a company, from its structural arrangements through to its organizational culture, so that you can identify what works and what doesn’t . This comprehensive overview has shown us why this is such a valuable tool for managers, leaders and entrepreneurs alike – with it they have all the tools they need in order to optimize their organization’s performance and drive success .

Hello everyone ! I am the creator and webmaster of website . Specialized in Technology Intelligence and Innovation ( Master 1 Diploma in Information and Systems Science from the University of Aix-Marseille, France ), I write tutorials allowing you to discover or take control of the tools of ICT or Technological Intelligence . The purpose of these articles is therefore to help you better search, analyze ( verify ), sort and store public and legal information . Indeed, we cannot make good decisions without having good information !

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