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Images of Organization 2nd Edition

13 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0761906322
ISBN-10: 0761906320
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Editorial Reviews


"This volume updates what has become a true classic in management literature. Sprinkled with contemporary examples, it incorporates the most recent themes in cognitive approaches, chaos theory, self-organizing systems, and metaphor analysis. Retaining its provocative framework, it is essential reading for any scholar or practitioner who must act or seek to understand the paradoxes and shifting visions of organizational life." (Linda L. Putnam)

"A fine, well-thumbed friend returns reborn and refreshed. No one who cares about organizations should miss this living classic." (Curt Lindberg, President)

"The new edition of Images of Organization leads the reader smoothly into the most recent debate among organizational scholars while preserving the elegance of the first edition. The reader is freed from compulsory and totalizing accounts of organizational life." (Antonio Strati,Professor)

"Images of Organization is MUST READING for practitioners in the overlapping fields of organizational design, management, learning, and change. . . . In Images, metaphor becomes an extraordinarily accessible and pragmatic tool. Gareth Morgan challenges us to flex our innate capacity to imagine and create-to image and evolve. . . . He is one of the most thorough researchers and imaginative theorists in the domain of organization. This piece of work is rich with examples and down-to-earth frames. ENJOY!" (Bill Veltrop)

"Gareth Morgan's new edition of Images of Organization is a classic work that will stir the imagination of readers for years to come. I recommend this superb contribution with unreserved enthusiasm." (Danny Miller,Professor of Business Administration)

"Gareth Morgan has improved importantly on the new edition of Images of Organization. It contains many new ideas such as 'design principles' for creating learning in organizations. There are also fascinating suggestions for practitioners, challenging their assumptions and replacing them with ones that are more likely to lead to effective performance." (Chris Argyris, James Bryant Conant)

"There aren't enough superlatives to describe Images of Organization. I have used Gareth Morgan's first edition as the main text in my seminar on organizational studies for the creative insights it provides into the functioning of organizations. What was already a masterpiece is strengthened in its new edition. . . . Original, insightful, creative, meaningful, relevant, practical, scholarly, research-based. These descriptors only begin to describe this brilliant and challenging work." (Eugene W. Ratsoy,Professor of Educational Administration)

"Images of Organization provides powerful tools for understanding and analyzing organizations. The book forces us to extend our existing frames of reference. . . . The revisions to the first edition have been substantial." (Pratima Bansal,Assistant Professor)

"Images of Organization is an exciting book, demonstrating both the diverse perspectives and the limitations on our understanding of organizations. It is invaluable for teaching the future leaders of organizations." (Brian Nichol,Visiting Associate Professor)

"In Images of Organization, Gareth Morgan demonstrates an uncanny ability to visualize organizational processes. The metaphorical images he creates provide a deep understanding of what organizations are and, more important, what they can become. Each of his organizational metaphors is a richly woven blend of classic organizational theory and new, often radically different, ideas from many diverse arenas. Further, he goes beyond simply creating explanatory metaphors. He makes it clear that metaphorical thinking is at the heart of effectively managing organizations during times of turbulence and change. This book is a must read for all serious students of organization, theory, behavior, and change. Gareth Morgan ranks alongside James Thompson and others as the elite scholars in the field." (W. Edward Stead,Professor of Management)

"I have used Gareth Morgan's Images of Organization for many years. Morgan's approach to organizations is thought provoking. Students find the use of metaphors intriguing and insightful. Through the use of metaphors, Morgan provides students with a variety of lenses to view the world differently. He provides an interesting method for exploring organizations that standard course textbooks do not offer. Images works well as a course text or as a supplementary text." (Susan C. Aldridge, Director, Western Region)

"Gareth Morgan's Images of Organization and its companion, Creative Organization Theory, have changed the way I teach my course on organizations. My students really enjoy learning about organizations by discussing and debating the decision cases in Creative Organization Theory. The way Morgan uses images and metaphors stimulates students to 'reframe' and think about organizations in different ways. I have even found Morgan's images useful in helping me think about not just organizations but many other aspects of our social worlds." (David Hachen, Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Gareth Morgan is well known for his creative contributions to management. He is the author of seven books, including Images of Organization, Creative Organization Theory, Imaginization and Riding the Waves of Change. He acts as consultant and seminar leader to numerous organizations throughout Europe and North America, and is Distinguished Research Professor at York University in Toronto. He has sat on the editorial boards of the Academy of Management, and Organization Studies; and is a Life Fellow of the International Academy of Management. Born in Wales, he now lives in Toronto with his wife, Karen and their children Evan and Heather.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: SAGE Publications, Inc; 2 edition (December 10, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0761906320
  • ISBN-13: 978-0761906322
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #251,005 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 35 people found the following review helpful By kybernetes on February 13, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is not a "three steps to understanding organizations" type book. The people posting negative reviews for this were looking for something simple and digestable - this book is not that. However, if you take the time, you will find it profoundly alters your thinking about understanding organizations.
This book provides solid theoretical models for understanding what is occuring in organizations. I read this book over 10 years ago and STILL find it the second best and most enlightening thing I have ever read on organizations. This has dramatically aided me in being a very successful business consultant.
The foundation of this book is the notion that you cannot understand complex organizations in any meaningful way through a single perspective. People in the organizations operate on many different perspectives. Each view of the world creates its own understanding of the organizational problems, solutions and daily pattern of interaction. This book provides you the tools for understanding organizations through a number of key perspectives or metaphors, and gives you indications on how to perform a multi-perspective systems analysis.
If you spend the time with this book, you will find yourself able to understand your surroundings FAR better than your peers.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Rolf Dobelli HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on March 26, 2001
Format: Paperback
Since the start of the Industrial Revolution, thinkers have used evocative images in trying to explain just what a corporation is. Have they succeeded? Gareth Morgan presents a thoughtful, well-documented look at images that arise from our theories and metaphors about reality. He discusses how they shape the way we view the corporation as an entity and how we act. His analysis involves a mix of philosophy, history, sociology, anthropology, biology and organizational examples. He moves from industrial-age notions of the organization as a machine, to biological analogies about the organization as an organism. Other metaphors - the organization as a brain, as social reality, as the source of cultural difference and as an arena for power struggles - shape what occurs within corporations. While this book is not an easy read, it illuminates the dynamics of organizational life. We [...] recommend this book to executives, and to readers intrigued by serious societal expositions.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Zelig on November 6, 2000
Format: Paperback
Morgan decribes common assumptions about organizations - he helps to reveal the hidden assumptions behind the managers perceptions. What do we mean when we say that 'organizations are like animals'? It is pretty easy to start to think from a metaphor, and end up in literal believing in it (e.g. that 'organizations live and die', 'organizations have evolutions'). Such reifications are carefully described by Morgan - several most recurrent metaphors of organizations and popular organization theories basing on them are clearly described, and their pros and cons are pointed out. Having read 'Images of Organizations', it is much more difficult to adopt illusionate metaphors, and to get persuaded by a biased visioner.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 14, 2003
Format: Paperback
Gareth Morgan's book provides an antidote to the finance, marketing and HR texts that are required reading for an MBA student. The clever use of metaphor allows the reader to absorb the huge anount of information contained within the book (check out the bibliography!) - you don't even realise how much you are learning until you start relating concepts to others around you. My fellow students, colleagues and even my parents had to listen ...
I found it a very easy to read book, if you are willing to put aside your existing ideas (psychic prison) about the way the organisation works(?) If you prefer big words, read Morgan and Burrell's Sociological Paradigms and Organisational Analysis - essential reading, but even more brilliant as a companion to Images.
Learn the stuff you are expected to know from your finance, marketing, statistics, strategy and HR texts, but understand the stuff that will change your world from Images of Organisation.
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Ware on June 9, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book is quite accessible to the reader. It's not dry like most textbooks, but talks about organizations in a straightforward manner. Morgan presents various ways of looking at organizations through the use of metaphors.
This is what made the book so good. Each chapter examines a different metaphor applied to organization. Metaphors such as " machines", and " brains" shed light on different aspects of organizations. What makes the book even better is that, in the summary of each chapter, Morgan also looks at the weaknesses of each metaphor, thus giving the reader a very thorough examination of the concept.
The reason I didn't give this book 4 stars was the fact that, later in the book, it got kind of hard to follow. By the time he got to "Organizations as Psychic Prisons", I was way out of my league. The chapters got convoluted and hard to understand. The chapter summaries ended up being half as long as the chapter itself. I just kind of gave up on some of them...they weren't helping me at all.
All in all, if you want to learn about how organizations work, this is a very good book, but be wary of the last third or so.
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