Metaphors of Organisation

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The machine metaphor is defined as an organization that operates in a mechanistic-like manner (Morgan 12). These organizations are very centralized and structured. The tasks performed are very monotonous and predictable, and workers become very separated from their work, similar to how a robot would operate. The employees are viewed by the organization as inanimate and replaceable. In a machine, each unit is independent and necessary to create a smooth operation of the whole machine. Community Clinic has only a few similar mechanistic functions within their organization. The South County Clinic employees (and all other clinics) follow a set "chain of commands" within the hierarchy. There are very strict rules pertaining to one's job that may not be broken, similar to how one would program a machine. For example, an employee is expected to do many tasks at once, such as answering the phone, filling out paperwork and assisting incoming clients. If these tasks cannot be performed correctly and on time, one may be subjected to termination. The paperwork that has to be filled out by the employees and the patients is also very routine and standard, making it a repetitive, mechanistic-like chore for both parties. The rules and guidelines that are given by the government for Medicaid patients and Title X patients (funding for family services) are also very stringent and must be followed as to not get the funding taken away (see Appendix C).

The machine metaphor creates a few strengths and weaknesses within an organization. This metaphor suggests that the mechanization of organizations is effective in dealing with straight- forward tasks, as well as providing efficiency and control. At Community Clinic, most of the paperwork is required to be done in a set time- a mechanistic like manner, which is done efficiently and precisely. The weaknesses of the machine metaphor are the inability to adapt to change and its...
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