Org Behavivor

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Metaphors of Machines and Organisms in Organizations

According to Morgan (2006), “All theories of organization and management are based on implicit images or metaphors that lead us to see, understand, and manage organizations in distinctive yet partial ways” (p. 4). Each metaphor gives us a different view into understanding organizations. The two metaphors that will be discussed below are organizations as machines and as organisms.

The metaphor that organizations are like machines suggests the organization is the machine and the employees are parts of that machine. Many organizations day to activities are preplanned or similar to the day before. For example in many organizations employees have specific task that are assigned to them which must be completed within the designated work hours. This metaphor is believed to stress the role of contributing to the efficiency of operations within an organization. When an employee feels as though things are running smoothly and efficiently their behaviors tend to adapt to this trend. This will then increase the amount on input that employee put into his or her job. An increase input will also increase the output. It also gives the organization a structure to follow. Without the structure in this organization the employee’s performance would not produce in the same capacity. This is because in this type of organization the employees are expected to behave as if they are part of the machine, instead of an individual. If one part a machine is malfunctioning then that will cause delays for the rest of the process. Same is true in organizations that follow this metaphor.

One clear issue for this metaphor is that does not allow for thinking outside the box. Organizations are expected to act in the same way everyday according to this metaphor. This could lead to the organization falling behind others in technology or advancement in procedures. Another issue is that when change does...
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