Since its first publication over twenty years ago, Images of Organization has become a classic in the canon of management literature. The book is based on a very simple premisethat 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.
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About 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.
Table of Contents
PrefacePart I. An OverviewIntroductionPart II. Some Images of Organization2. Mechanization Takes Command: Organizations as Machines Machines, Mechanical Thinking, and the Rise of Bureaucratic Organization The Origins of Mechanistic Organization Classical Management Theory: Designing bureaucratic organizations Scientific Management Strengths and Limitations of the Machine Metaphor3. Nature Intervenes: Organizations as Organisms Discovering Organizational Needs Recognizing the Importance of Environment: Organizations as Open Systems Contingency Theory: Adapting Organization to Environment The Variety of the Species Contingency Theory: Promoting Organizational Health and Development Natural Selection: The Population-Ecology View of Organizations Organizational Ecology: The Creation of Shared Futures Strengths and Limitations of the Organismic Metaphor4. Learning and Self-Organization: Organizations as Brains Images of the Brain Organizations as Information Processing Brains Creating Learning Organizations Cybernetics, Learning, and Learning to Learn Can Organizations Learn to Learn? Guidelines for "Learning Organizations " Organizations as Holographic Brains Principles of Holographic Design Strengths and Limitations of the Brain Metaphors5. Creating Social Realty: Organizations as Cultures Culture and Organization Organization as a Cultural Phenomenon Organization and Cultural Context Corporate Cultures and Subcultures Creating Organizational Reality Culture: Rule Following or Enactment? Organization: The enactment of a Shared Reality Strengths and Limitations of the Cultural Metaphor6. Interests, Conflict, and Power: Organizations as Political Systems Organizations as Systems of Government Organizations as Systems of Political Activity Analyzing Interests Understanding Conflict Exploring Power Managing Pluralist Organizations Strengths and Limitations of the Political Metaphor7. Exploring Plato's Cave: Organizations as Psychic Prisons The Trap of Favored Ways of Thinking Organization and the Unconscious Organization and Repressed Sexuality Organization and the Patriarchal Family Organization, Death, and Immortality Organization and Anxiety Organization, Dolls, and Teddy Bears Organization, Shadow, and Archetype The Unconscious: A Creative and Destructive Force Strengths and Limitations of the Psychic Prison Metaphor8. Unfolding Logics of Change: Organization as Flux and Transformation Autopoiesis: Rethinking Relations With the Environment Enactment as a Form of Narcissism: Organizations Interact With Projections of Themselves Identity and Closure: Egocentrism Versus Systemic Wisdom Shifting "Attractors ": The Logic of Chaos and Complexity Managing in the Midst of Complexity Loops, Not Lines: The Logic of Mutual Causality Contradiction and Crisis: The Logic of Dialectical Change Dialectical Analysis: How Opposing Forces Drive Change The Dialectics of Management Strengths and Limitations of the Flux and Transformation Metaphor9. The Ugly Face: Organizations as Instruments of Domination Organization as Domination How Organizations Use and Exploit Their Employees Organization, Class, and Control Work Hazards, Occupational Disease, and Industrial Accidents Workaholism and Social and Mental Stress Organizational Politics and the Radicalized Organization Multinationals and the World Economy The Multinationals as World Powers Multinationals: A Record of Exploitation? Strengths and Limitations of the Domination MetaphorPart III. Implications For Practice10. The Challenge of Metaphor Metaphors Create Ways of Seeing and Shaping Organizational Life Seeing, Thinking, and Acting in New Ways11. Reading and Shaping Organizational Life The Multicom Case Interpreting Multicom Developing and Detailed Reading and "Storyline " Multicom From Another View "Reading" and Emergent Intelligence12. PostscriptBibliographic Notes Introduction The Machine Metaphor The Organismic Metaphor The Brain Metaphor The Culture Metaphor The Political Metaphor The Psychic Prison Metaphor The Flux and Transformation Metaphor The Domination Metaphor The Challenge of Metaphor Reading and Shaping Organizational Life PostscriptBibliography
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
In today's business environment, most organizations are complex and multifaceted. There is a marked trend away from the idea of centralization and large bureaucracy toward the concept of decentralization, which allows for more flexible and responsive decision making. Furthermore, globalization has forced organizations to develop a "global mind set," which has impacted the way how corporations operate in the economy. Morgan believes that modern organizations can be best understood in terms of metaphors. He defines metaphors as certain images that can be produced to view and analyze critical issues of organizational life from different angles. Morgan provides the reader with eight very different and powerful metaphors: 1. Organizations as Machines (Mechanization); 2. Organizations as Organisms (Nature); 3. Organizations as Brains (Self-Organization); 4. Organizations as Cultures (Social Reality Creation); 5. Organizations as Political Systems (Interests, Conflicts, and Power); 6. Organizations as Psychic Prisons (Plato's Cave); 7. Organizations as Flux and Transformation (Logics of Change); and 8. Organizations as Instruments of Domination (The Ugly Face). He also discusses various theories, including Max Weber's theory of bureaucracy, Henri Fayol's administrative theory, Frederick Taylor's theory of scientific management, and Peter Senge's theory of learning organizations, as well as Emile Durkheim's theory of morality and symbolism. This discussion further helps the reader understand how organizations function. Morgan mentioned that the skill of "reading" a particular situation occurs at an almost unconscious level; it is an intuitive process that is influenced by experience and the general ability of the manager and leader. Yet, the art of creating images and analyzing situations of organizational life can also be learned. He shows the reader in great detail how this can be done. Morgan points out that the biggest benefit of using metaphors is to stretch our imagination and create powerful insights into the different dimensions of an organization. He also makes the reader aware that different qualities, as identified by the metaphor analysis, can coexist in organizations. Morgan warns us, however, that metaphors are inherently paradoxical: On the one hand, they can significantly improve our understanding of organizations; on the other hand, they can distort an image, if not carefully interpreted, and block our ability to gain a correct overall view. It is thus not surprising that Morgan places a major emphasis on showing the reader how to properly use these eight metaphors. In my opinion, "Images of Organization" is an excellent information resource and practical guide for managers and leaders who want to understand the different facets of their organizations with the ultimate goal to improve them. In this regard, I consider a major strength of this book the successful linkage of theory to management practice. Morgan prepared a text that contains rich ideas, sophisticated reasoning, and clear presentation. The book is intellectually stimulating and encourages leaders and managers to learn from the past and prepare for the future. This text is also quite useful for students who want to learn the trade of imaging organizations. I would highly recommend Morgan's book - it is absolutely worth the investment.
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.