Images, Ships, and
WHY THE SHIPS?
Isn't this site about organizations?
But orgs. are complex, murky, hard to make sense of. People have always needed a more concrete, familiar model, metaphor or image. At different times (for example) org.s were commonly imagined as being like
- a railroad (19th century)
- an army or govt. bureaucracy (any time)
- a mass-production business (20th century)
Ships are just one among many (very imperfect) models that have these advantages: visual, include many roles, come in different types, face many environmental challenges, and they can change their mission. A cruise ship can become a troop carrier, an obsolete warship can become a museum, a fishing boat can be used for sea rescue or for smuggling, etc. So ships provide one dynamic visual images that can help us think about organizations.
We need other images and metaphors since no one fits perfectly. In fact instances of mis-fit (when noted) can lead to good insights and debates.