Metaphors of Organization

Topics: Management, Organization, Organism Pages: 9 (2431 words) Published: April 4, 2013
Gareth Morgan's Metaphors of Organizations


Metaphors help simplify complex concepts by integrating an already know term to a new term, therefore making it more comprehensible to the readers. In his book, Images of Organization, Gareth Morgan (2006) simply applied metaphors in bringing to our understanding the different perspectives and faces of organizations (Bottero, K, 2013) This paper would pinpoint and attempt to examine the major metaphoric postulations of Gareth Morgan’s Images of Organization. As Morgan would say, the entire management and organizational theories essentially emanate from implicit mind frames or metaphors that attempt to convince humans to see, know and visualize situations in partial ways. He went on to say that metaphors create and same time truncate insights. Morgan equally understood that no single theory could lay claim credit for providing all-purpose management viewpoint, besides to having a perfect theory for structuring the activities of diverse individuals. Morgan’s metaphors include the following, which he advocated organizations could be viewed as: machines, organisms, brains, cultures, political systems, psychic prisons, transformation systems, and instruments of domination.

Images of Organization
The main thesis of the book, Images of Organization, by Gareth Morgan (2006), essentially advocates that all the ever known theories of organizations and management totally hinge on implicit metaphor, which ironically plays paradoxical roles. At some point they are very helpful towards expounding the meaning of organizations, but in same token, hinder the knowledge of other essentials of organizations (Lawly, J.,2001) Explaining further, Gareth asserts that our assumptions, and things we often ignore are the very things that constrains and dictates our perceptions. For instance, finding a solution to a problem could be hampered by what we ask and the means applied to arrive at the solution. Any time we consider organizations, we normally conceptualize a model in our mind frame one that is hardly recognized and often ignored. But any model used has significant implications with regards to what we can see, or not. Using the analogy of organizations as machines, our mind frames constantly paints the picture of automation and machine like features, while subverting other qualities and aspects of the machine metaphor (Prince, L. 2007)

Definition and Application of Metaphor in the Literature, and analysis of their Utility

Metaphors are one of the figures of speech essentially used to make comparism, in order to convey complex ideas and concepts into simpler and easily comprehensible fashion, Organizations as social units needs to consider locating its diverse horizons in a concerted effort to equip it with the appropriate strategy to operate effectively and efficiently. Thus, metaphor as a salient tool really helps to understand all facets of an organization (Yousefi, H.2005) Every single metaphor exposes a hidden aspect of an organization, and provides an opportunity for further study into the finding. Besides, effective application of metaphors would upgrade our cognitive ability and essentially transform our perceptions of organizations; however, to be affective, organizational managers must be knowledgeable and skillful in determining and applying various management styles and approaches (Yousefi, H.2005)

Application of Metaphors at Work/complexities of their functioning and Implication for Managers

A deep and scholarly reach into Morgan’s figurative expression and representation of organizations would find out how his metaphoric models could be translated into managerial practices. Each metaphor develops its own special way of perceiving things, As well as ignoring things in organizations, The equally emphasize diverse approaches of organization dynamics, and thus, extract divergent...

References: Morgan, G. (2006). Images of Organization. Sage Publications Inc. Thousands Oaks, CA
Lawley,J.(2001) Metaphors of Organizations-Part 1
Morgan, G. (1997) Images of Organization. London: Sage
Taleb, N.(2007) The Black Swan, The Impact of the Highly Improbable
Lambert 111, J. (2009) Morgan’s Images of Organization Review, Retrieved from:
Yousefi, H.(2005) Organizational Metaphors. Retrieved from:
Prince, L.(2007) Organizational Analysis retrieved from
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