Reframing and organizational action: the unexplored link

Ian Palmer (School of Management, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia)
Richard Dunford (Management Group, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand)

Journal of Organizational Change Management

ISSN: 0953-4814

Publication date: 1 December 1996


Since the mid‐1980s, there has been strong advocacy of the use of reframing through the application of organizational metaphors as one of the skills of the “new” manager. The reframing approach champions the virtues of analysing and responding to organizational situations through the use of multiple frames and is centrally implicated in the process of organizational change. The underlying message is that it enables both analysis and action to occur. Argues that this link has not been adequately explored in the literature which tends to assume that “appropriate” actions are able to be taken and that they will be successful. Explores four main constraints: cognitive limits; frame dominance and the limits of language; conceptions of action and their limits on reframing; and knowledge and power as limits to reframing.



Palmer, I. and Dunford, R. (1996), "Reframing and organizational action: the unexplored link", Journal of Organizational Change Management, Vol. 9 No. 6, pp. 12-25.

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Copyright © 1996, MCB UP Limited

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