Contact Organizational Metaphor Analysis Since the industrial revolution most businesses view themselves through a mechanistic lens. The machine view of organizations highlights several characteristics. There are given goals, direction and strait forward tasks to perform A rational structure of jobs and activities. In machines they call this a blueprint.
Written by Mitch McCrimmon Is your organization a ship? Organizational metaphors operate in the background but they can strongly determine how we think about organizations and affect how we work and make decisions.
It is good to be aware of how they shape our thinking. Ships have a clear direction from start to finish because their destination is not a moving target, unlike business today where direction cannot be fully decided in advance and it can change constantly. Also, on a ship, the captain decides direction.
The ship metaphor does not fit very well with empowerment. If it is Organization metaphor subconsciously in your business it may be blocking empowerment. Your metaphors determine Organization metaphor you think organizations should behave. The ship metaphor was OK in the old days when we could sail towards a destination that was not shifting as we sailed.
Today, this metaphor is comforting but dangerous - not only is the destination shifting, but you have to make it up as you go! When you think about how best to manage your organization, question your underlying metaphors to ensure they fit with your environmental demands.
What metaphors determine your thinking about organizations? Organizations as Machines The machine metaphor appeals to minds that like orderliness - such as engineers. It also ties in with business process re-engineering. Any business requiring a high level of efficiency is essentially a machine.
Machines can only be repaired or replaced, they cannot evolve or develop. We cannot dispense with this metaphor - contrary to the advocates of adaptiveness.
So, all businesses will have a relatively machine-like part. Those that compete solely on cost, service and quality, not on innovation, need to be machine-like in their efficiency. Problems arise when managers insist on employing only one fundamental metaphor. Even fast evolving businesses need to be machine-like if they are to be profitable.
Organizations as Organisms Organisms, like businesses, compete for survival and evolve to gain an edge.
An organism is responsive to its environment, it can learn and adapt. Like organisms, businesses are born, grow and die.
Organisms are more receptive to environmental feedback than machines. Businesses also operate within a delicate ecology with a lot of interdependencies. Do businesses have no more control over their fate than animals facing evolutionary pressure? Entrepreneurial organizations grow more by evolution than rational planning.An organization IS a group in a way that it can never be a machine or an organism You could substitute the metaphor of an army or beehive - both types of groups.
How about a group of pirates or explorers? Organization as Brain: This may sound like a subset of the Organism metaphor (and there is some overlap), but there is a subtle and important shift in emphasis from “life processes” to learning.
Organization as brain is the source of information-theoretic ways of understanding collectives (“who knows what,” how information spreads and.
Metaphors of Organisation - Part 1 James Lawley "All theories of organisation and management are based on implicit images or metaphors that persuade us to . The organization favors precision and efficiency.
The mechanical view of organizations has provided valuable insights while at the same time created blindspots, limited choices, and the ability to overcome obstacles. Organic Metaphor – If there is a stable predictable environment and a constant demand for the same product these. A Metaphor for Organizational Culture.
Analyze an organization in which you are an active member (work, school, church, civic group, online community, etc.). The organizational metaphor is an image used to describe the organization.
For example, there are people who perceive their workplace as a family unit, others as a battlefield, or as a machine, or.