Organizations are everywhere. We depend on them but we don’t understand them well. When they FAIL you cannot just FIX them like a broken bike. Why not?
1. They are complex
2. Many key elements are invisible, especially
3. “People Problems” including politics, cultural factors, mental models, and conflicting goals and interests.
Take a cruise ship as a handy metaphor or mental image for studying orgs and how to fix / manage them.
Each ship has its captain, crew, and customers; it has structures and operating rules; ; its mission is set by head office and could be changed. In an extreme emergency situation a cruise ship could switch from pleasure boat to troop carrier or to large life boat, doing rescue from a local ecological disaster.
Our focus on images and metaphors has practical importance since orgs depend on their members having shared images and assumptions about "how we do things here". This is necessary for successful communication and collaboration..
Team facilitators often ask members to make explicit their mental images of how their team and organization work, as a foundation for solving problems that have defeated managers. These images (some shared, some disputed) can be captured through talking, as well as by drawing, role-playing, and model-making.
(See G. Morgan's book Imagin-i-zation.)
NOW A MODEL FOR MANAGING
THE BIGGEST ORG. PROBLEMS