CHAPTER 3 NATURE INTERVENES: ORGANIZATIONS AS ORGANISMS EDD 803-Organizational Development and Change Theory Holy Family University Ellieen Ingbritsen Carol Luongo Kimberly H. Lowe Sequitta Adams Organisms A system in which its existence is predicated on the existing environment as well as the adaptability of a changing one. (Morgan, 2006) Organization as Organisms Organisms are comprised of different parts that work together to make up a system. Different “species” function better in different environments. Background to Organismic Metaphor Frederick Taylor, along with other management theorists attempted to design an organization to operate as a “technical problem” (p. 35). It has shown to be ineffective. Since then, conscious efforts has been made to overcome the drawbacks from this perspective. Between 1920’s and 1930’s, studies were conducted at the Hawthorne Plant by Elton Mayo. Other factors (e.g. personal issues outside the workplace) were taken into consideration that would contribute to the boredom and lack of motivation among employees. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs pioneered the theory of motivation that identifies “the human being as a kind of psychological organism struggling to satisfy its needs in a quest for full growth and development” (p. 35). Human resource management: employees were viewed as valuable resources by providing meaning to their work through autonomy, responsibility, and acknowledgement. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Characteristics of an Organism Organizations Organisms Compared to “open Susceptible to systems” Unlike “machine” metaphor which believes that nothing external affects outcome in an organization. This is considered “closed” (p.38). environment in order to survive. Outside factors affect how things are done. Organismic Metaphor Strengths Emphasis on the quality of human needs, rather than the organization as a structure Importance is placed on relationships and environment Organizations are viewed as “alive” organisms, with “species” that evolve. Providing members of the group to adapt and be more open to change. View entities as “healthy” and “unhealthy”…balance or imbalance. Healthy organisms are alive and balanced. Limitations View organizations and environment as “too concrete”, and objective not being “socially constructed”. Overlooks the importance of culture, beliefs, myths, and values Assumption of “functional unity” Metaphor becoming an ideology, serving as a guide to normal practices. Reflection… References Morgan, G. (1997). Images of Organization (Updated Edition). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.