Idenity Graphic
Radical Humanist
Radical Structuralist

-The Functionalist Paradigm


The machine metaphor portrays organizations as machine-like: orderly, rational, efficient, impersonal. The bureaucratic organization is mechanistic and emphasizes:

  • specialized & routine roles (like cogs in the machine)
  • centralized authority & decision making (directing style of leadership)
  • performance orientation
  • loyalty to supervisor
  • adherence to rules, policies, and procedures
  • vertical communications

The machine metaphor underlies these schools of management thought

  • Scientific Management (e.g., Frederick Taylor's Time and Motion Studies)
  • Classical Mangement Theory (e.g., Henri Fayol's Principlesof Management)
  • Bureaucray (e.g., Max Weber's Ideal Organizational Form)

The machine metaphor emphasizes the Manager as Engineer.

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The organism metaphor portrays organizations as biological organisms: changing, adapting, evolving. Organic organizations emphasize:

  • generalized roles
  • decentralized authority & decision making (delegating style of leadership)
  • problem-solving orientation
  • loyalty to mission
  • network communications
  • creativity & innovation
  • teamwork

The organism metaphor underlies these schools of management thought:

  • Systems School (e.g., Chester Barnard's Functions of the Executive)
  • Population Ecology School (e.g., Hannan & Freeman's Population Ecology Model)

The organism metaphor emphasizes the Manager as Biologist.

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The brain metaphor portrays organizations as information processing systems capabable of learning and questioning. Learning organizations emphasize:

  • redundancy
  • double-loop learning
  • holographic principles
  • requisite variety
  • organic tendencies

The brain metaphor underlies the this school of managent thought:

  • Learning Organizations (e.g., Peter Senge's The Fifth Discipline)

The brain metaphor emphasizes the Manager as Questor.

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Political Arena

The political arena metphor portrays organizational life as one of power and conflict. The political perspective emphasizes:

  • sources and uses of power
  • organizational politics including career and gender issues
  • conflict management philosophies and styles

The political arena metaphor underlies these schools of management thought:

  • Organizational Politics (e.g., Herbert Simon's Administrative Behavior)
  • Organizational Conflict (e.g., Blake & Mouton's Managerial Grid).

The political arena metaphor emphasizes the Manager as Political Scientist and Politician.

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The culture metaphor portrays organizational life as tribal. When viewing organizations as tribal cultures the metaphor emphasizes:

  • values
  • rituals
  • language
  • symbols
  • myths
  • stories
  • heroes/heroines
  • identity

The culture metaphor underlies this school of managemet thought:

  • Organizational Culture (e.g., Deal and Kennedy's Corporate Cultures).

The culture metaphor emphasizes the Manager as Anthropologist.

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Political Arena
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