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The Political Frame

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Rebekka Simmering

on 21 July 2017

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Transcript of The Political Frame

Organizations and societies differ markedly in how power is distributed. Alderfer (1979) & Brown (1983) distinguish between over bounded and under bounded systems
(Bolman & Deal, 2008, p.205).
Distribution of Power: Over Bounded & Under Bounded

One year I changed two teachers from one grade to a different grade, which meant moves for two other teachers into those grades. Making a grade change is very political in the educational world, because teachers are very attached to their grade level in general. What happened next was very surprising and interesting. The two teachers did not refute my administrative right to make the change, but they created a hostile environment for the two teachers taking over their grade. Mind you, this group of teachers have been very close knit and collegial for years. Suddenly there was a divide between them and teachers took sides. There were some heated exchanges, and some real bullying going on between them. The pressure was so strong that one of the new teachers considered backing out. I leveraged the teachers who had the most seniority amongst the teachers to call a group meeting. After much jockeying, all of the teachers agreed to attend. I used the restorative justice model to facilitate the group’s emotional manufactured drama. We sat in a circle, which seemed to even the playing field. We each went around the circle and spoke our personal truth about the changes. Teachers were not allowed to interrupt or dialogue at this time. Some teachers cried, especially the ones most injured by the bullying behavior and the two teachers who did not want to leave their grade. I stood strong during this time and in the end maintained my decision. The difference is folks got to hear each other’s frustration, and acknowledge the pain. The teachers got up and hugged each other and once again resumed their friendships. One of the teachers left to a new school over the summer, and the other one adjusted to the new grade. The decision was sound, and in the best interest of students.

Bolman and Deal talk about the “...disturbing ...political agendas corrupting technical decisions, particularly when lives are at stake.” (Bolman and Deal, 2008 p. 193) It would have been very destructive for our students to continue another year with these two teachers at that grade, I am satisfied that I prevented them from disturbing the vital and courageous decision from being made.

Paulette Smith - Principal
The Political Frame
Political frame views authority as many sources of power
Alliances &networks
Access & control of agendas
Framing: control of meaning & symbols
Position power (authority)
Control of rewards
Coercive power
Information & expertise
Personal power

An over bounded system regulates political with a firm hand.

In an under bounded system, power is diffused and the system is very loosely controlled.

An under bounded system openly encourages conflict & power games.

Clip from A Few Good Men
Case Study
Power is a lot like real estate. It's all about location, location, location. The closer you are to the source, the higher your property value." - Frank Underwood
Leveraging the Political Frame in education means using all of your human, financial, and political resources to accomplish the goal at hand. A successful organization knows when and how to use these resources to maximize outcomes. Leaders must sometimes make courageous and unpopular decisions to move the goals and priorities forward. "Power in organizations is basically the capacity to make things happen. Pfeffer defines power as "the potential ability to influence behavior, to change the course of events, to overcome resistance, and to get people to do things they would not otherwise do." (1992, p.30) (Bolman and Deal, 2008 p. 196)
The realistic process of making decisions and allocating resources in a context of scarcity and divergent interests.
Political Education Frame means every child succeeds by any means necessary.
Bolman L. & Deal T. (2008). Reframing Organizations (4th ed). John Wiely & Sons, Inc. San Francison, CA.

Seyfarth, J. (2008). Human resource leadership for effective schools (5th ed). Boston.

You Can't Handle the Truth! - A Few Good Men. (1992). Retrieved from youtube.com/watch?v=9FnO3igOkOk

Yvonne Bell
Rebekka Simmering
Paulette Smith

EDGR 626
November 19, 2013
Professor Purcell
Full transcript