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Images of Organization

3.85  ·  Rating Details ·  567 Ratings  ·  38 Reviews
Since its first publication over twenty years ago, Images of Organization has become a classic in the canon of management literature. The book is based on a very simple premise-that all theories of organization and management are based on implicit
Paperback, 504 pages
Published May 9th 2006 by Sage Publications (CA) (first published 1986)
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Jordan Peacock
May 20, 2011 Jordan Peacock rated it it was amazing
Shelves: business, psychology
Easily in my top five 'idea' books - essential reading for anyone.
Mark Uberuaga
In Images of Organizations, Morgan describes how metaphors can be used to describe organizations, which provides a framework for understanding and decision making.

Of the eight metaphors he introduced the machine, organism, and brain were the most useful to me. The machine metaphor reminds me of the main body of the army or an industrial factory. The organization is made up of many parts and people and each has a specific purpose. The disadvantage of an organization that operates like a machine
Sarah Clement
I can see why this work has become popular among managers, as it prescribes a sort of ideal organisation in which we'd all like to work. Drawing on chaos and complexity theory, Morgan describes organisations that are dynamic, self-organising and adaptive; very much consistent with the idea of a 'learning organisation' developed by Senge. Like this organisational form, I have my doubts about how much of this has actually been proven empirically, and if you look at the peer-reviewed literature, ...more
Feb 16, 2009 Karen rated it it was amazing
OK, so I am reading this for school, but I LOVE IT!!!! It's for the Organizational Theory and Change course, and it's been able to give me a framework to explain organizations I have been involved with - how they operate, why and what does / does not make sense. As a disclaimer I fully admit to being a theory nerd.

The book takes a "metaphor lens" approach to looking at organizations to explain how they function and communicate. It looks at the benefits and disadvantages of various approaches, wi
Apr 11, 2009 Michele rated it did not like it
i hate this book. if you are ever required to buy it for school DO NOT
Sep 18, 2011 Jan rated it really liked it
I was first introduced to Gareth Morgen's images of organization in an introduction course in Organization and Manangement at my first term of a bachelor program in Management. In retrospect I imagine my introduction to this work as a gathering of organizational academics happy for their reunion, passionately discussing organizational theory while opening new bottles of red wine:

-the passion for the subject and their lingual capabilities are reflected in that this work is great litterature.
Shahine Ardeshir
Mar 02, 2014 Shahine Ardeshir rated it it was ok
The idea behind this book is terrific: Change the metaphor through which you look at an organization, and you'll discover facets about it that you didn't earlier think of. It struck me as a novel way to look at management, and that's what made me pick it up.

The warning I would give, however, is that this is less a book to read and more one to refer to. It's tonality, structure, and flow (or rather, lack thereof) all reminded me of the textbooks I read in college. It was long winded, often unnece
It's ok. Maybe it's just my impression of the class I had to read it for bleeding out into my overall impression of the book itself, but I found it to be a bit dull. Morgan has some good insights into how organizations work - his ideas about organizational culture in particular are particularly good. However, overall this book just seems a bit on the ephemeral side for my tastes. Maybe this is just because, even after about 18 graduate credits' worth of management-related education, I still ...more
Anne Lutomia
May 24, 2015 Anne Lutomia rated it it was amazing
Gareth Morgan provides the reader with a unique way of understanding organizations. He applies multiple metaphors to theorize and analyze the nature of organizations. By so doing, organizations are deemed as machines, cultures, organisms or instruments of domination to name a few. This book was a required reading for my organizational behavior. I enjoyed it, the professor was able to initiate interesting discussions by tying our lived experiences to the various images or lenses discussed by ...more
Mark Jacobsen
Jul 23, 2013 Mark Jacobsen rated it it was amazing
I like lenses. Graham Allison's classic "Essence of Decision" opened my eyes to the value of multiple lenses in analyzing decision-making, and Gareth Morgan has now done the same for my understanding of organizational structure and behavior. Multiple lenses are powerful analytical tools for observers to study an issue; by illuminating the issue from radically different perspectives, they help observers develop rich, nuanced conclusions. I have never formally studied organizational management, so ...more
Britton Bush
Apr 28, 2013 Britton Bush rated it it was amazing
Interesting, provocative, and extremely useful method of analyzing organizations. The commentary, analysis, and examples that Morgan uses in 'Images or Organizations' aid perfectly in the presentation of organizational analysis. Morgan uses metaphor lenses a method of investigating organizations. Each metaphor acts as an aid in which analysts can gain, perhaps previously unseen, insights about any organization in question. Great book for anyone in pursuit of organization and administration ...more
Jun 22, 2014 Steve rated it really liked it
Images of Organization is deep stuff, and not recommended for the casual reader. I loved the exploration into different models of thinking about organizations, but not everyone will share my passion. Morgan organized this book well, every chapter ended with a brief "strengths and weaknesses" section of a different perspective on organizations. I suspect that I will be turning to Images of Organizations for reference material for my writing and my classes for years to come.
Jeff Lampson
This one MUST be on my book list. I first read it in my graduate Organization Theory Course circa '86 and it's metaphors are as illustrative and powerful today as then. I enjoyed reading through it while in the basement this past weekend and it's worked it's way back onto the coffee table. Timeless and excellent.
May 11, 2014 Paul rated it it was ok
This book is dense. Dense, dense, dense. But, to be fair, it is also very thorough. I cannot recommend this book for anything but as a textbook with chapters parsed out and discussed in groups. It is really that thick. Reading it as supplemental reading on your own? You're either a serious introvert or a masochist.
Hafez Shurrab
Apr 14, 2013 Hafez Shurrab rated it it was amazing
For better understanding of how organizations may work, I recommend reading this book thoroughly. I started to better understand the theory of organizations when I have read it. It is very helpful for understanding the processes inside and across organizations. If you want to manage and lead an organization in the future, you would not regret it to read this book.
Ahmed Sherif
Jul 24, 2016 Ahmed Sherif rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This book has changed my life. After reading it I was a completely different person regarding Organization Theory. It helped me a lot in my business life as well as my personal life. The brain metaphor was the most interesting to me. A must read book for businessmen as well as business students.
Sep 14, 2009 Michelle rated it liked it
Incredible insight on the use of metaphor for learning more about organizational theory. Great concept and interesting read.
Mar 22, 2015 Katie rated it really liked it
it was interesting. using metaphors to explain organizational theory was easy to understand and very readable.
Dec 12, 2014 Tamara rated it really liked it
A cornucopia of ways of seeing/looking at organizations. Interesting and helpful. If u run an org you want to read this book.
Oct 25, 2015 Jim rated it it was amazing
Shelves: phd, 2015
An interesting way to look at organizations through different lenses. Determining how to describe organizational design is beneficial for all business leaders today. A tough read however.
Aziz Awad
Feb 03, 2016 Aziz Awad rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's creative way to understand and read organizations by different images. Old book, but still useful ideas.
Apr 15, 2015 Sabina rated it liked it
I was hoping this would have been more engaging. It was required reading for me,and I was hopeful after reading the introduction. I was far less excited once I got into it.
This book is boring. I mean, I get what is talking about with the metaphors and all, but the chapters could have been shorter, since he kept writing about the same ideas for pages.
Harry Ashbaugh
May 05, 2014 Harry Ashbaugh rated it it was ok
Shelves: graduate-school
Read this book as part of my graduate school curriculum. Good reference book on organizational structure. A lot of the material is over written and long winded.
Jul 04, 2008 Scott rated it liked it
A tough read, but good organizational theory. Very much like reading the blueprints to the Space Shuttle -- dry, not fun, but its all there.
Jan 21, 2008 Katy rated it it was ok
it's a text book, I'm counting it on my goodreads. It's interesting look at organizations but really it's a text book.
Pedro Vieira lomar
Apr 27, 2013 Pedro Vieira lomar rated it liked it
Muito bom se voce pular metade dos capitulos gerais. A ideia de multiplas interpretacoes metaforicas par as organizacoes e excelente, mas faria mais sentido se fossem explicadas em conjunto.
May 26, 2015 Amanda rated it liked it
It was an ok book, a little repetitive, I felt like the author contradicted himself in a lot of the chapters.
Samir Dhond
Mar 26, 2009 Samir Dhond rated it really liked it
One of the most profound books I have ever read about an organiation. I liked this book for its approach of looking at organizations. Very insightful and educational.
Anne rated it did not like it
Dec 08, 2012
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