is focusing the attention of people within a field of meaning.
should be seen as the founders of framing theory, although Fairhurst
and Sarr actually coined the term.
Contrary to the central concept of of rational choice theory
(people always strive to make the most rational choices possible),
Framing theory suggests that how something is presented (the
“frame”) influences the choices people make.
Frames are abstract notions that serve to organize or structure
social meanings. Frames influence the perception of the news of the
audience, this form of agenda-setting not only tells what to think
about an issue (agenda-setting theory), but also how to think about
F is a quality of
communication that leads others to accept one meaning over another.
It is the process by which a communication source defines and
constructs a political issue or public controversy.
F is an important topic since it can have a big influence on what
people think! Try the first example on the right to test if you can
Framing is not per se a bad thing and in fact is an unavoidable part of
human communication. We find it in the media as events are
within a field of meaning. We find it in politics as
politicians attempt to characterize events as one thing or another; we
find it in religion, and we find it in negotiating when
one side tries to move another towards a desired outcome. Finally it can
also be used by leaders of organizations
with profound effects on how
organizational members understand and respond to the world in which they
live. It is a skill
that most successful leaders possess, yet one that is not often taught.
According to Fairhurst & Sarr (1996)
F consists of three elements:
- Thought, and
Language helps us to remember
information and acts to transform the way in which we view situations.
To use language, people must have thought and reflected on their own
interpretive frameworks and those of others. Leaders can and
spontaneously in certain circumstances. Being able to do so has to do
with having the forethought to predict framing opportunities. In other
words, leaders must plan in order to be spontaneous.
Fairhurst and Sarr (1996) described the following Framing Techniques:
- Metaphor: To give an idea or program a new meaning by comparing
it to something else.
- Stories (myths and legends): To frame a subject by anecdote in a
vivid and memorable way.
- Traditions (rites, rituals and ceremonies): To pattern and
define an organization at regular time increments to confirm and
reproduce organizational values.
- Slogans, jargon and catchphrases: To frame a subject in a
memorable and familiar fashion.
- Artifacts: To illuminate corporate values through physical
vestiges (sometimes in a way language cannot).
- Contrast: To describe a subject in terms of what it is not.
- Spin: to talk about a concept so as to give it a positive or
Compare with Framing:
Intelligence | Cultural
Path-Goal Theory | Theory X Theory Y
| Expectancy Theory
| Herzberg Two Factor
Theory | Core Groups
| Theory of
Planned Behavior |
More management models