Lesson notes, exercises, downloads, and recommended reading are below the video. On mobile, the video will rescale when you play it.

Morgan’s 8 Organizational Metaphors: An Organization is Like a…

Sometimes the best way to understand something complicated and abstract is with a metaphor. Gareth Morgan suggested we can gain some good insights into the nature of organizations from 8 organizational metaphors.

Watching this video is worth 2 Management Courses CPD Points*.
(See below for more details)

The Nature of Organizations
This video is part of course module number 6.1.1
Program 6: Managing within Organizations
Course 1: The Nature of Organizations
Section 1: Introduction to Organizations

Other videos in this section include:
– What is an Organization? https://youtu.be/bfqubYe8YNA
– Organizations as Structures: Understanding an Organization as a Structure https://youtu.be/LLnoTLkapjo
– Organizations as Processes: Understanding an Organization as a Set of Processes https://youtu.be/i51iHWLB3hE
– The Features of Organizations: What an Organization Needs https://youtu.be/vVwryqV92KE
– Why do we need Organizations? Structure vs Agility https://youtu.be/o9u0i0wOog4

None of these 8 organizational metaphors is sufficient in itself to fully understand organizations. They each give complementary perspectives:
1. Machines
A mechanistic view of organizations that stresses process and efficiency. Possibly at the cost of poor human relations and lower agility.
2. Organisms
Living systems adapt to their environments. But if they fail to adapt, they fail to thrive.
3. Brains
Rationality, learning and creativity. Stress the role of organizations as information processors.
4. Cultures
Sees organizations as a collection of values, beliefs, traditions, and rituals that provide distinctness.
5. Political Systems
A view that stresses the roles of interests, agendas, influence, alliances and, of course, power.
6. Psychic Prisons
Perceiving organizations as systems that repress and restrain members, due to conscious and unconscious pressures.
7. Flux and Transformation
Organizations are a platform for changes that can be adaptive or chaotic.
8. Instruments of Domination
Organizations are a means to overcome and dominate competitors – socially, economically, or politically.

Think about organizations where you have worked, or that you have encountered and know quite well.
1. For each one, which of the eight organizational metaphors works well? (4 MC CPD Points)
2. Can you find an example of an organization you know or have heard about, which fits with each of the eight organizational metaphors? (4 MC CPD Points)

Free Resources
– CPD Tools – https://gum.co/MC-CPD
Paid resources
– Management Courses Onboarding Kit – https://gum.co/MC-ObK ($3)

– Understanding Organizations https://geni.us/oB774Do
– Images of Organization https://geni.us/hrOemEs
– Inside Organizations: 21 Ideas for Managers https://geni.us/YwwL
– Gods of Management: The Four Cultures of Leadership https://geni.us/bpPeC5

Managers Need a Basic set of kit to do your job well. Here are my top recommendations: https://kit.co/MikeClayton/manager-s-work-kit (the links are affiliated)

Management Courses Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Points
You can record your Management Courses CPD points on our free, downloadable CPD record log.
Download it at: https://gum.co/MC-CPD

Each video has two levels of MC CPD points. For this video:
– If you simply watched the video, record 2 MC CPD points
– If you also carried out all of the recommended exercises, score a total of 10 MC CPD points

Links to our book recommendations are affiliated through Amazon

#Management #ManagementCourses #OrganizationalMetaphors


A Thorough Introduction to Organizational Culture [Compilation]
Introduction to Organizations: A Compilation of our Introductory Videos
What is Globalization?
Kim Cameron: Positive Organizational Scholarship
Charles Handy: Philosopher of Organizations
Edgar Schein: The Master of Organizational Culture
Harold Geneen: Data-driven Charismatic Organization
Chester Barnard: Organizations as Networks of People
Max Weber: The Father of Organizational Theory
How we Work: Geert Hofstede’s 6 Cross-Organization Cultural Dimensions
National Culture within an Organization: Geert Hofstede’s 6 Cultural Dimensions
Quinn and Cameron: Competing Values Model of Organizational Culture
Edgar Schein’s 3 Levels of Organizational Culture
Cultural Web: Johnson & Scholes on Where Culture Originates
Introduction to Organizational Culture
Empowerment: The Organization Giving up its Power
French and Raven: Social Power Bases in Organizations
Power in Organizations: The Power of Governance
Robin Fincham: Three Levels of Organizational Power
Amitai Etzioni: How Organizations Secure Compliance
Organizational Power: What is Power?
Virtual Organizations
Brian Robertson’s Holacracy Organizational Model
The Agile Organization
Adhocracy Organizational Model
Peter Senge’s Learning Organization
The Matrix Organization Model
Charles Handy’s Triple-I Company
Charles Handy’s Federal Organization Model
Charles Handy’s Shamrock Organization
Charles Handy’s Gods of Management
Henry Mintzberg’s 4 plus 2 Organizational Types
Edgar Schein’s Two Organizational Cultures
Why do we need Organizations? Structure vs Agility
The Features of Organizations: What an Organization Needs
Organizations as Processes: Understanding an Organization as a Set of Processes
Organizations as Structures: Understanding an Organization as a Structure
What is an Organization? – the Nature of Organizations

Mike Clayton

About Mike Clayton 

Dr Mike Clayton is a (former) Project Manager and now a management educator. Having trained thousands of people at live workshops, seminars, and conferences, he now delivers training mainly via video. He has 14 books with international publishers and runs two successful YouTube channels. He is also the founder of OnlinePMCourses.com

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