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Metaphors in Management – Blend of Theory and Practice

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Michał Chmielecki and Łukasz Sułkowski

This book will help managers understand organizations in non-quantitative manner. The modern-day managers are challenged with dealing with these constantly increasing complexities in the pursuit of efficiency and effectiveness. They must understand how constant changes influence their tasks so they can contribute to establishing a fast-reacting organization. The authors analyze how metaphors can serve as methods or tools that provide insight into how organizations function, and how best to deal with making them successful in a state of permanent change.

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Part I: Theoretical aspects of metaphors in management

Extract

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Part I:  Theoretical aspects of metaphors in management

Introduction

“All theories of organization and management are based on implicit images or metaphors that persuade us to see, understand, and imagine situations in partial ways. Metaphors create insight. But they also distort. They have strengths. But they also have limitations. In creating ways of seeing, they create ways of not seeing. Hence there can be no single theory or metaphor that gives an all-purpose point of view. There can be no ‘correct theory’ for structuring everything we do.”1

It has always been the goal of managing bodies to understand their employees’ intentions, and try to predict their behavior in an organizational context2. However, today’s management faces a great challenge. Our mental patterns are no longer sufficient for navigating the scenarios of modern organizational complexity3. The modern-day manager is challenged with dealing with these constantly increasing complexities in the pursuit of efficiency and effectiveness. They must understand how constant changes influence their tasks so they can contribute to establishing a fast-reacting organization. “Ideal organizations”, as described by Weick and Quinn4 as well as Buchanan et al.5, are capable of ongoing adaptation, being both proactive and reactive at the same time according to circumstances and situation. Organizational metaphors can serve as methods or tools that provide insight into how organizations function, and how best to deal with ← 7 | 8 → making them successful in a state of permanent change. Bolman and Deal6, stress...

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