Metaphors create a method of thinking, it compares items of deferent characteristic showing similarities but not differences, recently shadow chancellor George Osborne criticising Gordon Brown, he said ’Gordon is a man with an overdraft, not a plan’ (Metro, October 28, 2008). Here we can see that the word overdraft is used to describe some of the present characteristics of Gordon Brown in relation to spending. Various metaphors have been used by different writers to show the structure of organisations, examples include: machine, organismic and brain metaphor as used by “Morgan in Images of organisation”, I shall be talking more of machine metaphor in this easy.
Bureaucracy is the term used to describe organisation that operates as if they are machine. Wikipedia.org defines Bureaucracy “as the structure and set of regulations in place to control activity, usually in large organisations and government” I will love to refer to bureaucracy as doing as you are told without asking questions, just follow instructions and laid down procedures.
Machine organisations have hierarchical structure, and information flow mainly from the top to other parts. Employees are not empowered to take decisions, they are expected to obey and carry out order. Workers feelings and needs are not considered, achievement of set goals is paramount. In machine like organisations learning is only one sided and not an organisation wide commitment.
The origin of mechanistic organisation can be traced back to Frederick the Great of Prussia (1740) work transformed the army by introducing many reforms and very stringent rule and regulations that must be obeyed without questioning thereby creating a machine like army.
Adam smith, (1776) praised division of Labour at work and increased specialisation
Max Weber another management theorist supported the mechanisation of organisations. He is known as the father of bureaucracy.
Henry Fayol, and other
References: Burns, T. and G. M. Stalker, The Management of Innovation. London: Tavistock, 1961 Chris Argris. Organisational learning, Blackwell publishers Inc. 1992 David Buchannan and Huczynski, Organisation Behaviour: an introductory text, 3rd edition, 1997 Derek Rollinson. Aysen Broadfield, David J. Edwards, Organisational Behaviour and Analysis, 1998 Gareth Morgan, Images of Organisation, Sage Publications, India. 1997 Ivancevich Matteson, Organisational Behaviour and Management, 5th edition, 1999 Robert Kreitner and Angelo Kinicki, Organisational Behaviour, 2nd edition, 2002 Ralph D. Stacey, Strategic Management and Organisational Dynamics, 3rd edition, 2000