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Exploring Morgan’s Metaphors

Exploring Morgan’s Metaphors
Theory, Research, and Practice in Organizational Studies

Edited by:

© 2017 | 304 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

Gareth Morgan’s monumental book, Images of Organization, revolutionized the field of organization theory. In honor of Morgan’s classic text, this edited volume, Exploring Morgan’s Metaphors: Theory, Research, and Practice in Organizational Studies, illustrates how Morgan’s eight metaphors inform research, practice, and organizational intervention in a variety of contexts. Including contributions from well-known experts in their fields, specifically, Joep Cornelisen, Cliff Oswick, David Grant, Hari Tsoukas,  and Gareth Morgan, this new text offers fresh perspectives and sets forth new metaphors for conceptualizing organizations in today’s workforce. Readers will gain insights and guidelines into the different ways that Morgan’s metaphors and metaphorical thinking can be used to better understand organizational life, as well as how to study and develop organizations.

Gareth Morgan
Linda Putnam, Anders Örtenblad, Kiran Trehan
Chapter 1. Introduction: From Theory to Application of Metaphor in Organizational Analysis
Overview of Morgan’s Images of Organization  
Generating Organizational Metaphors in Theory and Practice  
Moving From Theory to Application: The Structure of This Book  
Gareth Morgan
Chapter 2. Reflections on Images of Organization
On the Genesis of Images of Organization  
On the Inspiration for Writing This Book  
On Metaphor and How It Works  
On the Contributions That Images Makes  
On Responses to Critiques of Images  
On Developing New Metaphors for Research  
On Criteria for Evaluating a Metaphor  
On Dominant Metaphors in the Field  
On Additional Generative Metaphors  
On Metaphors and the Natural Environment  
Joep Cornelissen
Chapter 3. Morgan's Legacy in Theorizing and Understanding Organizations
Morgan and Metaphors  
How Metaphors Work  
Metaphors and Theories of Organization  
Anders Örtenblad
Chapter 4. Approaches to Using Metaphors in Organizational Analysis: Morgan’s Metaphors and Beyond
Framework: Seven Distinctions  
A Typology of Approaches to Using Metaphors in Organizational Analysis  
Which Approach Is Preferable?  
The Chapters in Part II of This Book  
A Comment on Meta-Metaphors: Understanding How We Approach Metaphors  
Vikas Rai Bhatnagar
Chapter 5. Viewing Organizations as Enablers of Happiness
Dynamic Modeling of Morgan's Metaphors  
Gaps in Basic Assumptions of Current Metaphors: Toward Enriching Them  
Perceived Negative Aspects of Humans  
Conceptualization of Human Beings and Their Purpose  
New Metaphor of Organizations as Enablers of Happiness  
Thomas Süße, Bernd-Friedrich Voigt, Uta Wilkens
Chapter 6. Combining Metaphors to Understand New Organizational Phenomena
IPSS as the Case of Application  
Metaphors as Frames of Understanding Organizational Phenomena  
Domains-Interaction Model for Metaphor Development  
Specifiying Characteristics of Organizing in IPSS  
Applying Morgan's Images to the Set of IPSS Variables  
Turo Virtanen
Chapter 7. Exploring Metaphors of Leadership
Need for Quantitative Analysis  
What Are Metaphors?  
The Formulation of Leadership Metaphors and Data Generation  
Overview of the Distribution of Metaphors  
The Latent Meaning Structures of Leadership Culture  
Results Compared With Previous Research  
Ron Kerr, Sarah K. Robinson, Carole Elliott
Chapter 8. Developing Metaphors in Light of the Visual and Digital Turns in Organization Studies: Toward a Methodological Framework
The Visual and Digital Turns in Organization Studies  
The Case: Mondelez International  
Discussion: Evolving a New Image Through Our Digital Methodology  
Conclusions: Contributions of This Paper and Ways Forward for Organization Studies  
Vitor Hugo Klein, Jr., Christian Huber
Chapter 9. Imagination and the Political Use of Images
Assumptions About Images and Imagination  
From Images of Toward Imagination in Organization  
Discussion and Conclusion  
David Grant, Cliff Oswick
Chapter 10. Organization as Affect: Moving on Metaphorically
Revisiting the Metaphor and Organization Journey  
A New Challenge  
Organization as Affect  
Haridimos Tsoukas
Chapter 11. The "Metaphor" Metaphor: Educating Practitioners for Reflective Judgment
Reflective Thinking  
Organizations as Texts  
Refined Understanding  
Peter Case, Hugo Gaggiotti, Jonathan Gosling, Mikael Holmgren Caicedo
Chapter 12. Of Tropes, Totems, and Taboos: Reflections on Morgan's Images From a Cross-Cultural Perspective
Understanding Tropes, Totems, and Taboos  
Totems, Images, and Replicas in International Encounters  
Key features


  • Foreword by Gareth Morgan explores the paradoxical nature of organizational metaphors, the issue of bias, and the relevance of the original eight metaphors in today’s world.
  • Illustrations and in-depth descriptions of ways that Images of Organization can be applied in current organizational contexts develop the reader’s capacity to critically reflect and extend their knowledge beyond existing debates.
  • Discussions of timely topics such as leadership, happiness, and reflective judgment, encourage readers to use Morgan’s metaphors in their own research, practice, and organizational intervention.
  • Cutting-edge ideas and thought-provoking research engage readers with new innovations and developments in the application of Morgan’s metaphors, including new metaphors and ways to conceptualize organizations.

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 3

Chapter 8

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