Images of Organization / Edition 2

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This book is based on a very simple premise-that all theories of organization and management are based on implicit images or metaphors that stretch our imagination in a way that can create powerful insights, but at the risk of distortion. Gareth Morgan provides a rich and comprehensive resource for exploring the complexity of modern organizations internationally, translating leading-edge theory into leading-edge practice.

This new Updated Edition preserves Morgan's renowned creative images and metaphors while refreshing the references and tables. The addition of a preface situates this classic theory in today's business environment while the instructor's resources (now available on CD) aid classroom teaching.

Images of Organization challenges and reshapes how we think about organization and management in the most fundamental way. The new Updated Edition makes this monumental work available to a new generation of students and business leaders worldwide.

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Editorial Reviews

Linda L. Putnam
"This volume updates what has become a true classic in management literature. Sprinkled with contemporary examples, it incorporates the most recent themes in cognitive approaches, chaos theory, self-organizing systems, and metaphor analysis. Retaining its provocative framework, it is essential reading for any scholar or practitioner who must act or seek to understand the paradoxes and shifting visions of organizational life. "
Curt Lindberg
"A fine, well-thumbed friend returns reborn and refreshed. No one who cares about organizations should miss this living classic. "
Antonio Strati
"The new edition of Images of Organization leads the reader smoothly into the most recent debate among organizational scholars while preserving the elegance of the first edition. The reader is freed from compulsory and totalizing accounts of organizational life. "
Bill Veltrop
"Images of Organization is MUST READING for practitioners in the overlapping fields of organizational design, management, learning, and change. . . . In Images, metaphor becomes an extraordinarily accessible and pragmatic tool. Gareth Morgan challenges us to flex our innate capacity to imagine and create-to image and evolve. . . . He is one of the most thorough researchers and imaginative theorists in the domain of organization. This piece of work is rich with examples and down-to-earth frames. ENJOY! "
Danny Miller
"Gareth Morgan's new edition of Images of Organization is a classic work that will stir the imagination of readers for years to come. I recommend this superb contribution with unreserved enthusiasm. "
Chris Argyris
"Gareth Morgan has improved importantly on the new edition of Images of Organization. It contains many new ideas such as 'design principles' for creating learning in organizations. There are also fascinating suggestions for practitioners, challenging their assumptions and replacing them with ones that are more likely to lead to effective performance. "
Eugene W. Ratsoy
"There aren't enough superlatives to describe Images of Organization. I have used Gareth Morgan's first edition as the main text in my seminar on organizational studies for the creative insights it provides into the functioning of organizations. What was already a masterpiece is strengthened in its new edition. . . . Original, insightful, creative, meaningful, relevant, practical, scholarly, research-based. These descriptors only begin to describe this brilliant and challenging work. "
Pratima Bansal
"Images of Organization provides powerful tools for understanding and analyzing organizations. The book forces us to extend our existing frames of reference. . . . The revisions to the first edition have been substantial. "
Brian Nichol
"Images of Organization is an exciting book, demonstrating both the diverse perspectives and the limitations on our understanding of organizations. It is invaluable for teaching the future leaders of organizations. "
W. Edward Stead
"In Images of Organization, Gareth Morgan demonstrates an uncanny ability to visualize organizational processes. The metaphorical images he creates provide a deep understanding of what organizations are and, more important, what they can become. Each of his organizational metaphors is a richly woven blend of classic organizational theory and new, often radically different, ideas from many diverse arenas. Further, he goes beyond simply creating explanatory metaphors. He makes it clear that metaphorical thinking is at the heart of effectively managing organizations during times of turbulence and change. This book is a must read for all serious students of organization, theory, behavior, and change. Gareth Morgan ranks alongside James Thompson and others as the elite scholars in the field. "
Susan C. Aldridge
"I have used Gareth Morgan's Images of Organization for many years. Morgan's approach to organizations is thought provoking. Students find the use of metaphors intriguing and insightful. Through the use of metaphors, Morgan provides students with a variety of lenses to view the world differently. He provides an interesting method for exploring organizations that standard course textbooks do not offer. Images works well as a course text or as a supplementary text. "
David Hachen
"Gareth Morgan's Images of Organization and its companion, Creative Organization Theory, have changed the way I teach my course on organizations. My students really enjoy learning about organizations by discussing and debating the decision cases in Creative Organization Theory. The way Morgan uses images and metaphors stimulates students to 'reframe' and think about organizations in different ways. I have even found Morgan's images useful in helping me think about not just organizations but many other aspects of our social worlds. "
Letter from James Michael Burke
Professor Morgan,

I only recently received a copy of Images of Organization (updated edition) as a desk copy to review for the I/O Psych class that I teach. I just started reading your book I am absolutely blown away by it. I cannot believe that I had missed this marvelous work. My ignorance knows few, if any, limits!

You pull together such a span of ideas and integrate them beautifully with your own angle, stimulating one's thinking. This is the kind of mind opening perspective to which I like to expose my classes. Thank you for condensing it so powerfully. By the way, the bibliographic notes are as exciting a read as is the rest of the book. I look forward to devouring the rest of the book.

James Michael Burke, Ph.D.
Virginia Commonwealth University
L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs
Center for Public Policy
"This is the new updated edition of a classic published over 20 years ago. The book is based on the simple premise that all theories of organization and management are based on implicit images of metaphors that stretch our imagination in a way that can create powerful insights, but at the risk of distortion. The author provides a rich and comprhensive resource for exploring the complexity of modern organizations internationally, translating theory into practice. "
Mohammad A. Auwal
“A universe of thanks to you for spearheading the metaphoric, creative thinking about organizations. Your method has essentially electrified my teaching.”

Mohammad A. Auwal, CSU, Los Angeles

Jim Bonilla
"Let me say that I've loved teaching this course for over 10 years now, in part, because your book (and now the excellent CD) are so well thought out. You deserve a bow. Bravo. "
Abstract of Public Administration Development and Environment
"This book is based on the simple premise that all theories of organization and management are based on implicit images of metaphors that stretch our imagination in a way that can create powerful insights, but at the risk of distortion. The author provides a rich and comprehensive resource for exploring the complexity of modern organizations internationally, translating theory into practice. "
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780761906346
  • Publisher: SAGE Publications
  • Publication date: 1/28/1997
  • Edition description: 2ND
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 496
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 1.39 (d)

Meet the Author

Gareth Morgan is well known for his creative contributions to management. He is the author of seven books, including Images of Organization, Creative Organization Theory, Imaginization and Riding the Waves of Change. He acts as consultant and seminar leader to numerous organizations throughout Europe and North America, and is Distinguished Research Professor at York University in Toronto. He has sat on the editorial boards of the Academy of Management, and Organization Studies; and is a Life Fellow of the International Academy of Management. Born in Wales, he now lives in Toronto with his wife, Karen and their children Evan and Heather.

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Table of Contents

Part I An Overview
1 Introduction 3
Part II Some Images of Organization
2 Mechanization Takes Command: Organizations as Machines 11
Machines, Mechanical Thinking, and the Rise of Bureaucratic Organization 13
The Origins of Mechanistic Organization 15
Classical Management Theory: Designing Bureaucratic Organizations 18
Scientific Management 22
Strengths and Limitations of the Machine Metaphor 26
3 Nature Intervenes: Organizations as Organisms 33
Discovering Organizational Needs 34
Recognizing the Importance of Environment: Organizations as Open Systems 38
Contingency Theory: Adapting Organization to Environment 42
The Variety of the Species 49
Contingency Theory: Promoting Organizational Health and Development 54
Natural Selection: The Population-Ecology View of Organizations 59
Organizational Ecology: The Creation of Shared Futures 62
Strengths and Limitations of the Organismic Metaphor 64
4 Learning and Self-Organization: Organizations as Brains 71
Images of the Brain 72
Organizations as Information Processing Brains 76
Creating Learning Organizations 81
Cybernetics, Learning, and Learning to Learn 81
Can Organizations Learn to Learn? 84
Guidelines for "Learning Organizations" 87
Organizations as Holographic Brains 97
Principles of Holographic Design 99
Strengths and Limitations of the Brain Metaphor 112
5 Creating Social Realty: Organizations as Cultures 115
Culture and Organization 116
Organization as a Cultural Phenomenon 116
Organization and Cultural Context 118
Corporate Cultures and Subcultures 125
Creating Organizational Reality 134
Culture: Rule Following or Enactment? 134
Organization: The Enactment of a Shared Reality 137
Strengths and Limitations of the Culture Metaphor 140
6 Interests, Conflict, and Power: Organizations as Political Systems 149
Organizations as Systems of Government 151
Organizations as Systems of Political Activity 156
Analyzing Interests 157
Understanding Conflict 163
Exploring Power 166
Managing Pluralist Organizations 194
Strengths and Limitations of the Political Metaphor 202
7 Exploring Plato's Cave: Organizations as Psychic Prisons 207
The Trap of Favored Ways of Thinking 208
Organization and the Unconscious 212
Organization and Repressed Sexuality 212
Organization and the Patriarchal Family 218
Organization, Death, and Immortality 219
Organization and Anxiety 221
Organization, Dolls, and Teddy Bears 227
Organization, Shadow, and Archetype 230
The Unconscious: A Creative and Destructive Force 234
Strengths and Limitations of the Psychic Prison Metaphor 235
8 Unfolding Logics of Change: Organization as Flux and Transformation 241
Autopoiesis: Rethinking Relations With the Environment 243
Enactment as a Form of Narcissism: Organizations Interact With Projections of Themselves 246
Identity and Closure: Egocentrism Versus Systemic Wisdom 248
Shifting "Attractors": The Logic of Chaos and Complexity 251
Managing in the Midst of Complexity 255
Loops, Not Lines: The Logic of Mutual Causality 263
Contradiction and Crisis: The Logic of Dialectical Change 273
Dialectical Analysis: How Opposing Forces Drive Change 275
The Dialectics of Management 280
Strengths and Limitations of the Flux and Transformation Metaphor 287
9 The Ugly Face: Organizations As Instruments of Domination 291
Organization as Domination 293
How Organizations Use and Exploit Their Employees 297
Organization, Class, and Control 298
Work Hazards, Occupational Disease, and Industrial Accidents 304
Workaholism and Social and Mental Stress 310
Organizational Politics and the Radicalized Organization 313
Multinationals and the World Economy 315
The Multinationals as World Powers 318
Multinationals: A Record of Exploitation? 321
Strengths and Limitations of the Domination Metaphor 329
Part III Implications for Practice
10 The Challenge of Metaphor 337
Metaphors Create Ways of Seeing and Shaping Organizational Life 338
Seeing, Thinking, and Acting in New Ways 341
11 Reading and Shaping Organizational Life 345
The Multicom Case 346
Interpreting Multicom 349
Developing a Detailed Reading and "Storyline" 351
Multicom From Another View 358
"Reading" and Emergent Intelligence 361
12 Postscript 363
Bibliographic Notes 367
1 Introduction 367
2 The Machine Metaphor 369
3 The Organismic Metaphor 374
4 The Brain Metaphor 379
5 The Culture Metaphor 386
6 The Political Metaphor 390
7 The Psychic Prison Metaphor 395
8 The Flux and Transformation Metaphor 401
9 The Domination Metaphor 410
10 The Challenge of Metaphor 417
11 Reading and Shaping Organizational Life 418
12 Postscript 421
Bibliography 423
Index 475
About the Author 503
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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2003

    Morgan Presents Multiple Perspectives to Organization Theory and Behavior

    Morgan clearly undermines the dominance of any single conceptual framework to view the nature and behavior of organizations. Readers will gain insights into irrational patterns that emerge within an organization, as well as outside of its boundaries. In particular, Morgan provides a broad introduction to systems theory and the assumptions of its various subfields. Overall, the text was balanced in its complexity and ease of reading. Nevertheless, it was always enjoyable.

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