Images, Ships, and
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.

 

 

 

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.  

But is it realistic?

 Like every model it simplifies a lot and we may think it eliminates some factor that makes a big difference. 

For example the boundary around a ship seems to be sharply defined -- unlike many organizations. In fact, boundary spanning is an important issue.