Characteristics Of An Organization As A Mechanical Image Essay

Characteristics Of An Organization As A Mechanical Image Essay

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The overall structure of of various types of organizations can be framed by using metaphorical images which help to clarify the way that organizations operate. Morgan (2006) discusses several of these metaphorical images, including the image of an organization as a machine and the image of an organization as an organism. Each image is unique, but there are some similarities and many differences between the two. In order to understand each image meaningfully, the two images will be introduced, explained, compared, and contrasted in this paper. This will be followed by a personal discussion of which image the author would choose if only one image was available as the single way to structure an organization.
The Mechanical Image
The theory of an organization as a mechanical image supports the idea that organizations should be managed as specialized, separate parts that contribute to a larger goal within the organization. There are several defining characteristics associated with the mechanical image of organization. A mechanical organization typically has a structure that is characterized as bureaucratic, with a rigid system of hierarchical management. According to Weber (1900??), who was at the forefront of explaining hierarchical organizations, “each lower office is under the control and supervision of a higher one, and there is a right of appeal and of statement of grievances from the lower to the higher” (p. 221). This type of top-down management , often defined in an organizational chart , is utilized at such organizations. The idea behind this type of structure is rooted in the idea that an order from the top of an organization should travel throughout an organization in a very specific way in order to result in a p...


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...ertain circumstances, a mechanical mode of organization can provide the basis for effective operation, but in others it can have many unfortunate consequences” (p.13). This is an important point for not only the mechanical image, but also for any other image or approach that one may use to understand an organization. It is also worth noting that the mechanical approach typically works better with stable and predictable organizations while the biological organism approach is more appropriate for use with less stable, unpredictable organizations. With this in mind, I believe that the choice image of organizations as organisms is the best approach to use with organizations due to it’s focus on employee needs, teamwork and the relationship between the organism and its environment.
I believe this to be true, firstly, because of the focus on the needs of the employee.

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