Images of Organization

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Images of Organization is unique in its aim to open dialogue and extend horizons; there are no right or wrong theories in management. This book explores and develops the art of reading and understanding organizational life. It is based on a very simple premise: that all theories of organization and management are based on implicit images or metaphors that lead us to see, understand, and manage organizations in disctinctive yet partial ways. Each chapter invites you to engage in a mode of thinking that generates ...

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Overview

Images of Organization is unique in its aim to open dialogue and extend horizons; there are no right or wrong theories in management. This book explores and develops the art of reading and understanding organizational life. It is based on a very simple premise: that all theories of organization and management are based on implicit images or metaphors that lead us to see, understand, and manage organizations in disctinctive yet partial ways. Each chapter invites you to engage in a mode of thinking that generates important insights while having major limitations.

Images of Organization has already established itself as a classic that has influenced management thinking throughout the world. This New Edition takes Gareth Morgan's achievement one step further, providing a rich and comprehensive resource for exploring the complexity of modern organizations. In this monumental work, leading-edge theory is translated into leading-edge practice. The New Edition carefully preserves the qualities and strengths of the original, while delivering new insights on today's managerial challenges. Morgan shows managers how to view their organizations by using his renowned creative images and metaphors.

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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
APADE
"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: 9780761906339
  • Publisher: SAGE Publications
  • Publication date: 12/16/1996
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 496

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 ONE: AN OVERVIEW
Introduction
PART TWO: SOME IMAGES OF ORGANIZATION
Mechanization Takes Command
Organizations as Machines
Nature Intervenes
Organizations as Organisms
Learning and Self-Organization
Organizations as Brains
Creating Social Reality
Organizations as Cultures
Interests, Conflict and Power
Organizations as Political Systems
Exploring Plato's Cave
Organizations as Psychic Prisons
Unfolding Logics of Change
Organizations as Flux and Transformation
The Ugly Face
Organizations as Instruments of Domination
The Challenge of Metaphor
PART THREE: IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE
Reading and Shaping Organizational Life
Postscript

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