Division of Epidemiology

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Interpreting Your Results:  The Leadership Orientation Instrument

The Bolman and Deal Leadership Orientation Instrument (LOI) is a 32 item survey and can be used to assess one’s own skills or by colleagues to assess their leaders skills.

Bolman and Deal's theoretical framework of management and leadership styles helps to distinguish between the four frames when defining how leaders perceive organizations and their resulting actions. Many individuals fall into a combination of the frames. The structural and human resource frames are related to managerial effectiveness, while the political and symbolic frames are related to leadership effectiveness.

  • Structural
  • Human Resource
  • Political
  • Symbolic

Section I. Behaviors

  • You will be given four scores, one for each of the four frames (Structural, Human Resource, Political and Symbolic)
  • If you score a 32 or above you qualify as using that frame
  • See below for information on all four frames.

Section II. Leadership Style

  • The Leadership Orientations instrument is keyed to four different conceptions of organizations and of the task of organizational leadership.
  • Plot each of your scores on the appropriate axis of the chart below. Included is an example of one person's scores.
    • ST for Structural
    • HR for Human Resource
    • PL for Political
    • SY for Symbolic
  • To utilize the following chart and mark your scores, download the Leadership Orientation Scoring Sheet (PDF).

Bolman and Deal Leadership Frames

Below is an example graph for someone who leans more toward the Political Frame, and then the Symbolic Frame.

Bolman and Deal Leadership Frames


Bolman and Deal Leadership Frames


Bolman and Deal's Theory of Four-Frame Leadership Styles
Structural Frame The structural frame emphasizes efficiency and effectiveness. Structural leaders make the rational decision over the personal, and strive to achieve organizational goals and objectives through coordination and control. They value accountability and critical analyses. Specialization and division of labor are used to increase performance levels.
Human Resources Frame The human resources frame emphasizes the individual. Human resource leaders value camaraderie and harmony within the work environment, and strive to achieve organizational goals through meaningful and satisfying work. They recognize human needs and the importance of congruence between the individual and the organization.
Political Frame The political frame emphasizes competition. Political leaders value practicality and authenticity, and strive to achieve organizational goals through negotiation and compromise. They recognize the diversity of individuals and interests, and compete for scarce resources regardless of conflict. Power is an important resource.
Symbolic Frame The symbolic frame emphasizes meaning. Symbolic leaders value the subjective, and strive to achieve organizational goals through interpretive rituals and ceremonies. They recognize that symbols give individuals meaning, and provide direction toward achieving organizational purpose. They recognize unity and a strong culture and mission.

Source: Bolman and Deal

The Four-Frame Model by Bolman & Deal, a PowerPoint Presentation with additional information on the four frames.

For more information on research related to these four frames visit Dr. Bolman's website.

© 2014 Medical College of Wisconsin
Page Updated 10/15/2014