Images of Organization / Edition 1

Images of Organization / Edition 1

by Gareth Morgan
4.5 2
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SAGE Publications
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Images of Organization 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Christian-Stadtlander-PhD More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.