Is it alive? LO16518

Winfried Dressler (
Tue, 13 Jan 1998 15:53:42 +0100

Replying to LO16421 --

Dear Steve, dear Doc,

Ben Compton wrote:

> I think the factors that lead to decisions are not based on our perception
> of what the organization _is_ as much as it is based on _why_ the
> organization exists.

I come again with Gareth Morgan. Looking at all 8 metaphors he provides in
"Images of Organisations", I found that

4 metaphors create perspectives about what an organisation is:

1 - machine - organisation is material,
2 - organism - organisation is biological,
3 - brain - organisation is mindful,
4 - endless flow and change - organisation is spiritual

and 4 metaphors put light on the question why organisations exist:

1 - culture - to create meaning and therewith value,
2 - politics - to provide a forum where conflicts in interests can be
solved by various sources of power,
3 - psychological prison - a platform where the unconscious determinants
of human behaviour can play their drama,
4 - power - a tool for some to exploit the rest of the world (other people
and nature) for their sole benefit.

In my view, all metaphors can be instructive, all have their strengths and
of all one must not forget that they are metaphors and therefore have
their limits as well.

In this thread (dialogue, discussion, debate, whatever) I have learnt
today in a constructive way through this medium "LO-mailing list" what
happens when two metaphors of two categories come together (organism vs.

Some people are more thrilled by thinking about what and the way something
is, others prefer to reflect on what it might be good for. I think both
categories have their right and I hope I will always have both types in my

I am wondering, Steve and Doc, whether you both can agree to this

Best Regards, Winfried


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