Sabtu, 09 Juli 2011

Organisational Metaphor

Organisations are complex social systems which can be defined and studied in a number of different ways. A significant approach to this broad perspective on the nature of organisations and organisational behaviour is provided by Morgan. Through the use of metaphors, Morgan identifies eight different ways of viewing organisations – as machines, organisms, brains, cultures, political systems, psychic prisons, flux and transformation, and instruments of domination. According to Morgan, these contrasting metaphors aid the understanding of the complex nature of organisational life and the critical evaluation of organisational phenomena.
Machines. This suggests that organisations can be designed as if they are machines with orderly relations between clearly defined parts. Viewing organisations as machines can provide the basis for efficient operation in a routine, reliable and predictable way. This form of bureaucratic structure provides form, continuity and security. However, it may have adverse consequences and limit the development of human capacities. Organisations viewed as machines function better in a stable and protected environment.
Organisms. The organisation is seen as behaving like a living system. In the same way that biological mechanisms adapt to changes in their environment, so organisations, as open systems, adapt to the changing external environment. Organisations operating within a turbulent and dynamic environment require an adaptable type of structure.
Brains. Viewing organisations as brains involves thinking about the organisation as inventive and rational, and in a manner that provides for flexibility and creative action. The challenge is to create new forms of organisation capable of intelligent change and that can disperse brainlike capacities.
Cultures. This sees organisations as complex systems made up of their own characteristic sets of ideology, values, rituals, and systems of belief and practice. Attention to specific aspects of social development helps to account for variations among organisations.
Political systems. In the sense that ways must be found to create order and direct people, organisations are intrinsically political. They are about authority, power, superior–subordinate relationships and conflicting interests. Viewing organisations as political systems helps in an understanding of day-to-day organisational life, the wheeling and dealing, and pursuit of special interests.
Psychic prisons. This views organisations as psychic phenomena created and sustained by conscious and unconscious processes. Organisations and their members are constrained by their shadows or ‘psychic prisons’ and become trapped by constructions of reality. Their inherited or created mythical past places affects the representation of the organisation to the outside world. Viewing organisations as psychic prisons provides an understanding of the reality and illusions of organisational behaviour.
Flux and transformation. The universe is in a constant state of flux, embodying characteristics of both permanence and change. Organisations can be seen as in a state of flux and transformation. In order to understand the nature and social life of organisations, it is necessary to understand the sources and logic of transformation and change.
Instruments of domination. In this view organisations are associated with processes of social domination, and individuals and groups imposing their will on others. A feature of organisations is asymmetrical power relations that result in the pursuit of the goals of the few through the efforts of the many. Organisations are best understood in terms of variations in the mode of social domination and control of their members.


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