Images, Ships, and (Other)
Organizations.

 

WHY THE SHIPS?  

Isn't this site about organizations?

 

Correct. 

But orgs. are complex, murky,  hard to make sense of.  People have always needed a more concrete, familiar model, metaphor or image for obscure subjects. 

 

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 (20 C)

 

Ships are just one model that has 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 vivid images that can help us think about organizations.

 

 

 

BUT

Ships are just one model that has these advantages: they are visual, include many roles, come in different types, face various environmental challenges, and they can change their mission.  

Of course it over-simplifies and

it only fits the highly formal or bureaucratic kind of ORG. .    

 What about the other kinds, especially the learning organization? 

We shall need different models, such as the production team that forms to make an independent movie or to produce a theater show, or to design and construct a large building.  This  project/ORG may last years, involve hundreds of players, and vast amounts of money. But when the show is over, the building is finished, the project/ORG ends and the accountants close the books.