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) orgs were commonly imagined as being like
- a railroad (19/20th century)
- an army or govt. bureaucracy (any time)
- a mass-production system (20th century)
Ships are just one among many (imperfect) models that have these advantages: they are visual, include many roles, come in different types, face various environmental challenges, and they can change their mission.
A cruise ship can become a troop carrier in war time, an obsolete warship can become a museum, a fishing boat can be used for sea rescue or for illegal smuggling, etc. So ships can provide 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.