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Hamlet Ivanov
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Images of Organization PDF: How Gareth Morgan's Metaphors Can Help You Understand and Manage Your Organization Better

Images of Organization by Gareth Morgan: A Comprehensive Guide

Have you ever wondered how to understand, analyze, and improve your organization? Do you want to learn how to use different perspectives and lenses to see your organization in a new light? If so, then you might be interested in reading Images of Organization by Gareth Morgan.

images of organization gareth morgan pdf download


Images of Organization is a classic book in the field of organizational theory and management. It was first published in 1986 and has been updated several times since then. In this book, Morgan presents eight metaphors that can help us view organizations in different ways. Each metaphor reveals some aspects of organizational reality, but also hides others. By using multiple metaphors, we can gain a richer and more holistic understanding of our organizations.

In this article, we will provide a comprehensive guide to Images of Organization by Gareth Morgan. We will explain what Images of Organization is, why it is important, and how to use it. We will also describe the eight metaphors of organization that Morgan proposes, and discuss their benefits and limitations. Finally, we will show you how to download Images of Organization by Gareth Morgan PDF for free or at a low cost.

What is Images of Organization?

Images of Organization is a book that explores the power of metaphors in shaping our perception and understanding of organizations. Metaphors are figures of speech that compare two things that are not literally alike, but share some common characteristics. For example, when we say that an organization is like a machine, we are using a metaphor.

Metaphors are not just linguistic devices, but also cognitive tools that help us make sense of complex and ambiguous phenomena. Metaphors allow us to simplify reality by highlighting some features and ignoring others. Metaphors also enable us to create new meanings and insights by connecting seemingly unrelated domains.

Morgan argues that metaphors are essential for understanding organizations, because organizations are social constructions that depend on our interpretation and interaction. Organizations do not have an objective or fixed essence, but rather multiple and dynamic identities that emerge from the interplay of various actors and factors. Therefore, there is no single or best way to describe or explain organizations, but rather multiple and complementary ways that depend on our perspective and purpose.

Why is Images of Organization important?

Images of Organization is important because it challenges us to think critically and creatively about organizations. It helps us to recognize that our conventional ways of seeing organizations are not natural or inevitable, but rather influenced by our assumptions, values, and interests. It also helps us to appreciate that other people may have different views and experiences of organizations, depending on their background, role, and situation.

By exposing us to different metaphors of organization, Images of Organization invites us to question our taken-for-granted beliefs and practices, and to explore new possibilities and alternatives. It also encourages us to adopt a multi-faceted and flexible approach to organizational analysis and intervention, by using different metaphors to suit different contexts and objectives. It also stimulates us to generate our own metaphors and frameworks, by drawing on our imagination and intuition.

How to use Images of Organization?

Images of Organization can be used in various ways, depending on your goals and needs. Here are some suggestions on how to use Images of Organization:

  • If you want to learn more about organizational theory and management, you can read Images of Organization as a textbook or a reference book. You can also use it as a source of inspiration and ideas for your own research or projects.

  • If you want to understand your own organization better, you can use Images of Organization as a diagnostic tool or a lens. You can apply different metaphors to your organization and see what they reveal or conceal about its structure, culture, processes, problems, and potentials. You can also compare and contrast different metaphors and see how they relate or conflict with each other.

  • If you want to improve your organization or solve a specific issue, you can use Images of Organization as a guide or a catalyst. You can use different metaphors to generate new insights and solutions, or to challenge existing ones. You can also use different metaphors to communicate and collaborate with others, or to persuade and influence them.

Of course, these are not the only ways to use Images of Organization. You can also combine or adapt them according to your preferences and circumstances. The key is to be open-minded and curious, and to experiment with different metaphors and perspectives.

The Eight Metaphors of Organization

In Images of Organization, Morgan proposes eight metaphors that can help us view organizations in different ways. These metaphors are:

  • Organization as Machine

  • Organization as Organism

  • Organization as Brain

  • Organization as Culture

  • Organization as Political System

  • Organization as Psychic Prison

  • Organization as Flux and Transformation

  • Organization as Instrument of Domination

Each metaphor has its own assumptions, implications, strengths, and weaknesses. Each metaphor also reflects a certain historical and intellectual context, and resonates with certain types of organizations. Let's take a closer look at each metaphor and see what it can teach us about organizations.

Organization as Machine

The machine metaphor is one of the oldest and most dominant metaphors of organization. It views organizations as rational, efficient, and predictable systems that operate according to predefined rules and procedures. It emphasizes the importance of designing, controlling, and optimizing the structure, functions, and outputs of organizations.

The machine metaphor is influenced by the classical management theories of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, such as scientific management, administrative management, and bureaucracy. It is also influenced by the mechanistic worldview of Newtonian physics, which sees the universe as a giant clockwork that follows deterministic laws.

The machine metaphor is suitable for organizations that operate in stable, simple, and certain environments, where the goals are clear and the tasks are routine. It is also suitable for organizations that value efficiency, reliability, consistency, and quality over innovation, flexibility, diversity, and learning.

Benefits of the Machine Metaphor

The machine metaphor has several benefits for understanding and managing organizations:

  • It provides a clear and logical framework for organizing work and resources.

  • It facilitates coordination and communication among different parts of the organization.

  • It enhances productivity and performance by minimizing waste and errors.

  • It ensures accountability and responsibility by defining roles and authority.

  • It fosters stability and order by establishing rules and standards.

Limitations of the Machine Metaphor

The machine metaphor also has several limitations for understanding and managing organizations:

  • It ignores or suppresses the human aspects of organizations, such as emotions, values, creativity, motivation, etc.

  • It discourages or prevents adaptation and innovation by imposing rigid structures and processes.

  • It creates or exacerbates conflicts and power struggles by enforcing hierarchy and bureaucracy.