Case: The Symbolic Frame


Case Assignment

After you have reviewed the contents of the Walt Disney Company website, read the materials included at the Background page of Module 4, and performed additional research from the library and the internet, write a 6- to 7-page paper in which you do the following:

Using the following five assumptions of the Symbolic Frame, complete an in-depth assessment of the Walt Disney Company:

  • What is most important is not what happens but what it means.
  • Activity and meaning are loosely coupled; events have multiple meanings because people interpret experience differently.
  • In the face of widespread uncertainty and ambiguity, people create symbols to resolve confusion, increase predictability, find direction, and anchor hope and faith.
  • Many events and processes are more important for what is expressed than what is produced. They form a cultural tapestry of secular myths, heroes and heroines, rituals, ceremonies, and stories that help people find purpose and passion in their personal and work lives.
  • Culture is the glue that holds an organization together and unites people around shared values and beliefs.

Keys to the Assignment

The key aspects of this assignment that are to be covered in your 6- to 7-page paper include the following:

  • Briefly describe the theory underpinning Bolman and Deal’s Symbolic Frame, discussing its usefulness in organizational analysis, and its utility in our understanding of organizations.
  • Using Bolman and Deal’s Symbolic Frame, choose 3-4 examples of symbolic characteristics of the Walt Disney Company (you may choose some aspect of the organization’s culture – e.g., artifacts, stories, values, belief systems, etc). Then, examine your chosen examples using the above assumptions of Bolman and Deal’s Symbolic Frame.
  • Of the 3-4 examples you have discussed above, which do you believe is the most salient mechanism or process by which the Walt Disney Company creates meaning for its members? Is this mechanism or process made explicit or tacit (or both) for Disney’s members?
  • What conclusions can you draw from your use of the Symbolic Frame as it is applied to the Walt Disney Company? In other words, what have you learned about the company? How is use of the Symbolic lens helpful relative to informing outsiders as it concerns the organization’s approach to leadership?
  • In the final section of Chapter 4, conclude by commenting on which of the Four Frames (or combination of frames) you believe is most useful to our evaluation and understanding of the Walt Disney Company. Explain.
  • The background readings will not give you all the answers to the Case. Therefore, you are required to perform some research in the library, and use a minimum of 3-4 scholarly sources from the library to support and justify your understanding of the case.
  • Your paper must demonstrate evidence of critical thinking (if you need tips on critical thinking, is an excellent resource). Don’t simply restate facts – instead, be sure to interpret the facts you have accumulated from your research.
  • Remember that the Module 4 Case also serves as Chapter 4 of your session-long thesis-style paper. Therefore, when your Case is complete, compile your final thesis-style paper in accord with the following requirements:
    • Use of proper APA Style of formatting, referencing, and writing is required.
    • The final thesis-style paper requires the following: Title Page, Table of Contents, and References. See the APA Sample Paper and other use of APA Style at the Purdue OWL:
    • The final paper will consist of four (4) chapters (Modules 1-4 Case).
    • The body of the final paper must be a minimum of 20-25 pages in length (not including title page, references, etc.).

Assignment Expectations

Your paper will be evaluated using the following five (5) criteria:

  • Assignment-Driven Criteria: Does the paper fully address all Keys to the Assignment? Are the concepts behind the Keys to the Assignment addressed accurately and precisely using sound logic? Does the paper meet minimum length requirements?
  • Critical thinking:  Does the paper demonstrate graduate-level analysis, in which information derived from multiple sources, expert opinions, and assumptions has been critically evaluated and synthesized in the formulation of a logical set of conclusions?  Does the paper address the topic with sufficient depth of discussion and analysis?
  • Business Writing: Is the paper well-written (clear, developed logically, and well-organized)? Are the grammar, spelling, and vocabulary appropriate for graduate-level work? Are section headings included in all papers?  Are paraphrasing and synthesis of concepts the primary means of responding to the Keys to the Assignment, or is justification/support instead conveyed through excessive use of direct quotations?
  • Effective Use of Information (Information Literacy): Does the paper demonstrate effective research, as evidenced by student’s use of relevant and quality sources? Do additional sources used in paper provide strong support for conclusions drawn, and do they help in shaping the overall paper?
  • Citing Sources: Does the student demonstrate understanding of APA Style of referencing, by inclusion of proper end references and in-text citations (for paraphrased text and direct quotations) as appropriate? Have all sources (e.g., references used from the Background page, the assignment readings, and outside research) been included, and are these properly cited? Have all end references been included within the body of the paper as in-text citations?