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Influence of Organizational metaphors on Organizational Performance (Essay Sample)


Discuss implications of organization metaphors on organizational performance.

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Influence of Organizational metaphors on Organizational Performance
The need for change leadership is one of the key elements required by organizations to realize their desired competencies. Organizations face exceptional demands from different quarters such as the need for improving the quality of their products and services, ensuring employees and public safety and adopting new policies that enable them realize their goals and objectives. Realization of the improvement of the management of operations in an organization requires the adoption of models that guide change. Of this importance is the organization theory entered by Morgan’s images of an organization. The theory describes different metaphors that are applicable in studying behavior and performance of organizations. It is with the importance of organizational metaphors that, this essay analyzes in detail ways in which the metaphors enhances workflow in an organization and organizational learning, including ways in which they can be extended to support different organizational aspects. Additionally, the essay focuses on ways in which these models/metaphors contribute to the development of shared meaning and realities within an organization.
Workflow in an organization can be defined as the process whereby tasks are grouped into processes and effective utilization of the allocated resources to ensure achievement of the desired goals and objectives. Organizations with workflow designs enjoy various benefits such as effective adoption of the desired technology and realization of efficiency in coordinating activities. Workflow ensures success in different domains such as quality improvement, process improvement, and implementation of technology (Vibert, Conor 15). A study on the influence of the workflow of the healthcare organizations revealed that technology adoption improves the quality of care by reducing over reliance on manual methods of storing information and promoting compliance with the use of evidence based practice. This implies that, workflow enables effective adaptation of the organizations to the evolving environment and optimization of activities (Buono, Anthony, and David 125).
Gareth Morgan’s metaphors provide the tools used for analyzing the value, activities, and performance of organizations. Metaphors promote metaphoric thinking that ensures organizational change where it executes its activities in accordance with the desired cognitive change. Metaphors such as the organization as organisms promote the development of new understanding of the organizational behavior (Grant, David 54). Traditionally, process models viewed organizations as an open system. This process was associated with disadvantages such as actors of an organization becoming part of the external environment. Consequently, this affects human interaction, one of the key components of business process. However, organization as organisms facilitates understanding of organizational behaviors by facilitating its adaptation to the external environment. This leads to the integration of feedback loops and process improvement to the external environment (Morgan, Gareth 321).
Moreover, organization as organisms facilitates the adoption of the desired technology. This provides pervasive support to the organization's activities such as enhancing cooperation, coordination, and communication. Mintzberg’s framework supports the effect of organization as organism metaphor by stating that, it enhances the adoption of effective leadership styles such as bureaucracy, transformational, and transactional leadership styles. Organizations characterized by this metaphor have consolidated business ontology that promotes the adoption of organizational species such as role oriented and machine bureaucracies leading to the promotion of organizational activities and performance. Perceiving an organization as an organism enhances collaboration between organizations (Vibert, Conor 236). For example, it allows them to understand the assumptions that influence directly their performance, thereby embracing actions that guide them in executing actions aimed at promoting collaboration hence, their performance. As stated by Morgan, Gareth 154, organization metaphor galvanizes and motivate organizations take actions such as promoting innovation and cooperation within an organization. However, this metaphor works under the influence of different assumptions, such as believing that, every organization has its own metaphors, which may help or hinder it from realizing its objectives. Additionally, it functions under the assumption that, it is the responsibility of the facilitator and not the employees to develop the desired metaphorical landscape in the organization (Grant, David 74).
On the other hand, most scholars view organizations as machines as ubiquitous. Perceiving organizations as machines shapes employees and facilitators perception, action, and expectations in different profound ways. This includes influencing design and operations management within the organization. This implies that, organizations realize benefits such as consistent performance, which alters design of operations management. One of the core values in this metaphor is control (Vibert, Conor 24). Engineers design, plan, implement and evaluate the operation's output acting as one of the problematic ways to view organizations performance. This is supported by the fact that, organizations comprises of people and not machines. Therefore, this does not allow the desired dynamic nature of tasks undertaking that contribute to organizational performance. Organization as a machine metaphor promotes repetition of activities resulting in boredom hence, lack of employee motivation, job satisfaction, and autonomy. Scholars such as Vibert, Conor (94) and Grant, David (114) criticize organizations as organism metaphor by stating that, it makes employees think of their organization as materials with the managers and facilitators have the core responsibility of creating and implementing blueprints. Most importantly, the metaphor creates an unrealistic and inevitable control of the organization’s activities.
However, Rodrigues, Suzan, and John 201 supports the effect of the machine metaphor on organizations performance by stating that, it ensures job specialization secondary to the repetition of activities. The metaphor supports classical theories of management by enhancing the redesigning of leadership and adoption of the new scientific management. Additionally, organizations using the machine metaphor achieve a dominant way of doing and thinking. This leads to automation of business activities and provides a clear separation of the manual undertaking of activities and automated activities in the organization (Grant, David 133). Consequently, machine metaphor supports choreographed and routinized work, which enhances the volume of transactions within an organization. However, it is appreciable that, organizations should avoid using machine metaphor to support knowledge acquisition and empowerment among the employees and facilitators in their workplace (Vibert, Conor 114).
Organizations as brains metaphor focuses on organizational learning activities. It integrates workflow and learning which supports evolution of organizational activities into a total system. The metaphor includes organizational intentional aspects such as doing things in the right ways rather than doing the right activities in the organization. Through this, processes within the organization improve because of a supportive learning environment and improved operations management provided in the organization. For example, brains metaphor embraces comprehensive processes that develop a workflow that ensures inquiry and adoption of quality conceptual models within the organizations (Grant, David 35). Brain metaphor heightens visibility of an organization by promoting the adoption of a semantic model of quality and pragmatic model of quality that focuses on the ability of stakeholders to provide a free environment for inquiry hence, employee autonomy and motivation. It incorporates existing and newly created model fragments that provides an arena for learning in the organization. This results in the execution of organization's activities in conformity with desired practices and policies set in the community. Consequently, this leads to the development of skills vital for ensuring workflow and adoption of technology (Rodrigues, Suzana, and John Child 104).
Brains metaphor influences workflow and efficiency by facilitating the application of the principles of holographic systems into the organizations’ systems of workflow and operations management. This includes incorporation of technical, social, and organizational learning subsystems into the organization's culture. Consequently, it leads to the establishment of a clear scope of work, authority of decision-making and responsibility that enhances efficiency of tasks undertaken (Morgan, Gareth 86). Moreover, brains metaphor provides organizations with the ability to create their own capacities. As a result, simultaneous generalization and specialization within the organization develops, redundancy and connectivity. Additionally, brain metaphor influences performance of an organization by providing permeable boundaries and systems with goals that aim at ensuring that the organization achieve its desired state of equilibrium hence its performance (Rodrigues, Suzana, and John Child 124).
Organizations as cultures metaphor appreciate the social construction of activities within an organization. The metaphor focuses on symbolic and subjective aspects that determine the relationship between the organization and its environment. This helps organizations understand the need for embracing change and adopting m...
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