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Images of Organization by Gareth Morgan by Mind Map: Images of Organization
by Gareth Morgan
5.0 stars - 12 reviews range from 0 to 5

Images of Organization by Gareth Morgan

Ch9 - Organizations as Instruments of Domination

Orgs are set up for the majority working for the interests of the few

Weber's Typology of Domination

Charismatic, Rule by virtue of personal qualities, Hero/guru complex

Traditional, Power to rule by respect for tradition and the past, Inherited status; monarchy; family succession

Rational-legal, Power legitimized by laws, rules, regulations, procedures, Legitimate power comes from following the rules to be appointed

Marx - Das Kapital

Corporate irresponsibility & cover-ups; worker conditions; environmental degredation; ... many examples

Leads to, Companies taking defensive positions, Liability culture, Regulatory structures / overhead

Impacts of workaholism; social/mental stress

Multinational Corporations

Positive forces of economic development or authoritarian juggurnauts exploiting everything in sight?

Communities and host countries must rely on corporate benevolence... if it exists

"Offshoring" phenomenon, Drive for efficiency and bottom line profits at the expense of humanistic concerns, Global economy puts increasing pressure on companies to take the most cost-effective route, Creates nationalist dependencies on MNCs

Small deviations in standards can lead to disastrous events

Costco vs Sam's

Costco pays much better, has better floor space, better economic results

Deirdre: Money will retain in many cases, but it won't engage people

Measurement / evaluation

What do we see in connection with metaphors?

How could investors see things other than profit margins?


Shows how "rational" behavior can produce significantly negative consequences, Weber: The pursuit of rationality can itself be a mode of domination, Ask: Rational for whom?

Promotes org theory for the exploited as an instrument of social change, Structural inequality, institutional racism, exploitation of developing nations

Helps us appreciate issues that fuel a radical frame of reference (us:them), Orgs do not serve the interests of all, Recognizing the legitimacy of radical perspectives is needed to move beyond them


Can lead to simplistic conspiracy theories of orgs vs society, Fueling the radical frame of reference

May paralyze business leaders, Efficient business decisions compete with negative social impact, Can lead to blame, defensiveness, entrenchment

May blind us to non-dominating forms of organization

Ch8 Organizations as Flux & Transformation (unfolding logics of change)

Images of Organization --Gareth Morgan "the universe is in a constant state of flux, embodying characteristics of both permanence and change." p.241

Autopoiesis (Maturana/Varela)

Chilean biologists. Varela was a student of Varela. Maturana is still alive, in his 80s, living in Chile and coming to Boston in August 2008 for a week of conversations. They developed Autopoiesis as a biological theory and clearly had reservations (p.246) about its application to social phenomenon. However, many folks have taken this living systems approach forward into organizational settings with generative results.

Problems do not come from changes in external environment

Living systems are organizationally closed systems of interactions that make reference only to themselves., Living systems are characterized by autonomy, circularity, and self-reference, They are organized in ways that conserve for self-preservation and self-identity., Patterns of interaction are always self-referential., Interaction with "environment" is really self-reflection and part of the organization that conserves identity., Closure (self-reference) is what defines a system as a system, Systems have no beginning or end because they are closed loops of interactions., Self-referring systems can exist as components within other self-referring systems

Challenges distinctions between a system and its environment., We see systems as distinct because we see them from OUR point of view., When we look at their inner logic, we understand that they are self-conserving and structurally coupled with other systems, Relations with any environment are internally determined

Examples, Bees, Individual bee as organism with self-referencing physiology, Bee society - self-referencing relationships, Society & environment - also self-referencing, Bee system is structurally coupled with insect, animal, agricultural, human, and social systems. A change in one can transform the others., Changes are produced by variations within the overall system (not as a result of external influence), There's no such thing as external influence!, The Brain, Organizes its environment as an extension of itself, A biological basis for social constructionism!, Does not hold a representation of the environment in memory, Does not process information received from the environment as an independent domain, Creates images of external reality as expressions or descriptions of its own organization, interacts with these images, and modifies them based on experience., Organizations, Act to conserve for self-identity and self-preservation, Org problems are connected to the conservation of a particular identity, Understanding org change requires paying attention to the patterns that embrace both the organization and its broadly defined environment., Enactment (how orgs function, what they pay attention to) is a core process that projects, defines & produces an organization's identity.

Chaos & Complexity


Pattern is what evolves

Complex non-linear systems, Multiple systems of interaction that are both ordered and chaotic, Random fluctuations can produce new cascading patterns of systemic change, Coherence always emerges out of the randomness and surface chaos, Randomness, diversity, instability become resources for change, Attractors, Tensions that define the context in which detailed system behaviors unfold, Some pull system toward equilibrium, Others flip system into new configurations

Edge of chaos, Bifurcation points, Always exist as latent potentials, e.g. Butterfly effect, Energy within system can self-organize in unpredictable ways into different system states, If old attractor is dominant, system reverts to a version of its former state, If new pattern is dominant, system can move into a new configuration

Implications for Managing, Rethink what we mean by organization, especially the nature of hierarchy & control, Order is natural but cannot be planned, Order evolves under the influence of simple systemic rules, Learn the art of managing and changing contexts, Learn how to use small changes to create large effects, Live with continuous transformation and emergent order as a natural state of affairs, Be open to new metaphors that can facilitate processes of self-organization

Dialectical Opposition

p.273 Study of opposites --- Miguel: Collaboration vs competition Dealing with polarities and living within the tension between the two.

Reversion is the movement of the Tao

Marxian Thinking

Dialectics of Management

Innovation as creative destruction

Mutual Causality

Mutual causality -- loops, not lines

Magorah Maruyama, Positive & Negative feedback loops, Deviation amplification process

Contextual Analysis

Identify key patterns & system archetypes

Types of Orgs

Egocentric Orgs, See themselves as discrete, functioning to survive against the pressures of the outside world, Fixed notion of who they are or what they can be, Often enact identities in pursuit of short-term goals, Try to sustain unrealistic identities & create identities that destroy important parts of their context/environment, E.g. fisheries, large scale agriculture, chemical plants, May not see environmental changes as relevant to their identity preservation, e.g. watch makers, typewriter manufacturers

Systemic Orgs, Survival is always WITH the environment, never against it, Self-image held in a systems perspective


p.289 --- Miguel: What about feelings, emotions? They seem to be outside the theory. "Chaos" avoids language of "crisis" - avoids a certain perspective where pain exists.

If change is emergent, we're not in control

Powerless power is a challenging message

Negates the idea that it's possible to organize, predict and control

Can be hard to say if rules create a pattern or simply describe it



Seeks to understand the nature, source, and logic of change

Potential for managing change at a higher (causal) level

Emphasis on seeing/working with patterns in systems

Fusion of organization and environment

Organizing rules of attractor patterns hold organization-environment relations in a particular configuration, Small changes can produce large effects

Change is self-organizing and emergent

David Bohm

Bohm was a theoretical physicist who also thought and wrote about philosophy and neurpsychology. He was part of the Manhattan Project. (b. December 20, 1917, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania - d. October 27, 1992, London)

The universe is a flowing and unbroken wholeness

Outward state of the universe at a given moment reflects its inward state., Implicate (Enfolded) Order, Explicate (Unfolded) Order

True understanding requires understanding the generative processes that link implicate and explicate orders.

Gregory Bateson

p.246 GS Note: Edmund Husserl, the father of transformative phenomenology, is also recognized as perhaps the first person to explore "Part-Whole" theory and logic. His explorations were philosophical in nature, and they remain "confusing" to the mathematical theorists who followed him.

Wholes evolve as complete fields of relations. The pattern must be understood as a whole because the whole possesses a logic of its own -- it cannot be understood as separate interacting parts.

Ch7 - Organizations as Psychic Prisons (exploring Plato's cave)

Plato's Cave

Appearance vs reality -- knowledge

Trap of perspective

Paradox: What we know increases what we don't know

Groupthink: reinforcing the validity of the cave and preventing emergence of other worlds and perspectives

Freud & the Unconscious

Klein (annihilation)

Winnicot (transitional object)

Kohut (self psychology)

Anxiety - unless it's resolved, we build defense mechanisms

Freud's defense strategies, Repression, denial, displacement, fixation, frustration, projection, introjection, rationalization, reaction, formation, sublimation, idealization, splitting


Archetype, shadow, myth, tension of the opposites (transcendent function, MBTI), collective unconscious


Encourages metaphorical perspective

Understand complexity

Language for group dynamics, relationships

Link rational/irrational, conscious/unconscious


Not just about the unconscious -- sometimes a cigar is just a cigar

Prisons are more than just cognitive constructs

Utopian resolution

Hubris that the unconscious can be understood

Ch6 - Organizations as Political Systems (interests, conflict, power)


When interests collide, conflicts show up

Thomas test for conflict management: When to use conflict-handling styles, Competing, Emergencies, important issues with unpopular actions,etc, Collaborating, integrative solutions, objective is to learn, merge insights from people with different perspectives, gain commitment by incorporating concerns, to build or repair feelings in a relationship, Compromising, goals, outcomes not important, opponents have eual power and mutually exclusive goals, achieve temporary solutions in complex situations, arrive at quick solutions when time is a factor, when collaboration or competition is unsuccessful, Avoiding, issue is trivial or there are other more pressing issues, chances of getting a solution don't exist, potential disruption outweighs benefits, allow people to cool down, others can resolve on their own, Accommodating, when you are wrong and want to be reasonable, issues are more important to others and you want to maintain cooperation, build credit for other issues, minimize loss when losing, promote harmony & stability, allow subordinates to learn from mistakes


Sources of Power, formal authority, control of scarce resources, use of org structure & rules, control of decision & processes, control of knowledge & information, control of boundaries, ability to cope with uncertainty, control of technology, interpersonal alliances, networks, control of counterorganizations, symbolism & the management of meaning, gender & the management of gender relations, structural factors that define the stage of action, the power one already has

Power is not just what people have, it's also projected


Managing a pluralistic organization



Pluralist, inevitability of interests, value of conflict, existence of power


Presence of politics & Aristotelian value of creating social order

Acknowledgment of power

Focus on understanding the role of structure in conjunction with human nature from a political perspective

Sociopolitical perspectives


Political metaphor shows us politics

Validity of pluralism

Overstates the role of the individual and understates the role of the system


Rulers & ruled

Aristotelian idea of politics as "means of creating a non-coercive form of social order"

It's about maintaining social order

Orgs as government systems

Autocracy, bureaucracy, technocracy, codetermination, representative democracy, direct democracy


task, career, extramural


"the leader must have the friendship of the staff otherwise he will have no support in times of adversity" -- Machiavelli's The Prince

Ch5 - Organizations as Cultures (creating social reality)


Includes, Shared values, Shared beliefs, Shared meaning, Shared understanding, Shared sense making

Harold Garfinkel - cultural rules unconsciously followed, but we notice when they're broken

Karl Weick - enactment, We jointly create and recreate shared reality


Purposefully seed sub-cultures that will be healthy to avoid those that may be damaging

Provide relevant opportunities for conversation between generations and sub-cultures

Strong vs weak culture is neutral with regard to good/bad

Story is where culture gets created, transmitted & maintained

We live in an organizational / industrial society

Many commonalities across geographies have been enculturated through industrial and organizational life

There are important cultural differences

Japan's post WWII success was based on organizations operating as communities with common values and commitments, including spiritual values, Cultural values of the rice field and the spirit of service of the samurai, Success may be in part to the history of feudalism that enables certain forms of relationship that would not be acceptable in the West., Success due to culture may not be transferrable

Britain, Right to rule -- management over workers, Worker culture defined as antagonistic to those in power

Become an anthropologist

Seek to view your own organizational culture as if you were an outsider

Look for links between leadership style and corporate culture

Consider gender dynamics, Rational/analytic vs Empathetic/intuitive/organic forms

Look for differences in cultural perspectives (sub-cultures)

Recognize that rationality is the myth of modern organizations


Directs attention to the symbolic significance of all aspects of organizational life

Recognizes that orgs are held together by shared systems of meaning, Intervention opportunities include beliefs, values, ceremonies, etc

Relationships between org and environment are socially constructed

Effective org changes always implies cultural change


May lead to values engineering that is not authentic with peoples' experience

Can be used as a manipulative tool

Culture is a complex, self-organizing phenomenon., Understanding it through static or institutionalized means can be dangerous., The map is not the territory

Mechanistic attitudes are often prevalent in the manipulation of culture

Ch4 - Organizations as Brains (learning & self-organization)

Ch3 Organizations as Organisms

Limitations of Metaphor

Too concrete. It underestimates an organization's ability to help make its own future / construct its world, There is no "mind" here that shapes intentionality

Assumes functional unity ~ most orgs not functionally unified, e.g. Departments working in silos; low employee engagement with org vision/mission

Danger Metaphor as ideology ~ failing to see people as intrinsically valuable human beings choosing to shape their own futures, Treating people as "resources", Relationships seen as merely functional

Strengths of Metaphor

Understanding relations btw orgs & environment

Management of orgs can be improved by focusing on "needs" in addition to outcomes

Selecting species for particular needs can be powerful choices

Organismic forms support innovation

Helped OD focus on an organization's "fit" with its environment

Focus on ecology & inter-organizational relations

Organizational Ecology

Organizations are distinct from their environments and are in tension with them

Orgs like organisms exist as components in a complex ecosystem

Evolution is always evolution of patterns of relationships

Kenneth Boulding: "evolution involves the survival of the fitting" not just survival of the fittest, Fitting best in the current ecological situation is a better survival strategy

Orgs can play role in shaping their futures esp. working with others

Environment becomes negotiated rather than independent external sources

Population Ecology

Need to pay attention pressures that prevent orgs from changing in response to environment

Resource limitations shape growth, development & decline of org, Role of innovation in shaping new org species (evolution)

Awareness of changing structure of critical resource niches and patterns of dependencies, e.g. ecology of auto industry - oil & gas companies - price of gasoline - social and ecological priorities

Promoting Org Health & Development

Beginning of OD

New questions emerged, What is the nature of org's environment?, What kind of strategy is being employed?, What kind of technology is being used?, What kinds of people are employed and what is the dominant culture?, How is the org structured & what are the managerial philosophies?

Adapting Org to Environment

Like organisms in the natural world, it seems that successful organizations evolve appropriate structures and processes for dealing with the challenges of their external environments

No one best way to organize. Optimal form depends on task or environment

Orgs are open systems that need management to balance internal needs

Management's job is to focus on alignments

Different types of Management are necessary to perform different tasks in same org

Different species of orgs are needed in different environments

Orgs as Open Systems

Bertalanffy, theoretical biologist

Environment matters for the first time

Defines org in terms of interrelated subsystem, Specialization for particular sub-needs

Use of systems to approach, Establish congruencies and alignments between different systems and identify and eliminate potential dysfunctions

Org Needs

1920s Hawthorne Studies, Led to recognizing the importance of social needs in the workplace, Maslow, People function most effectively when their needs are met, Argyris, Herzberg, Mcgregor (org Psychologists) started here

Sociotechnical Systems, Tavistock Institute 50's, Working the polarity of human vs org needs, Trist & Bamforth, When we choose a technical system (structure, job, design or particular technology) it always has human consequences, and vice versa

Ch2 - Organizations as Machines