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Exploring Morgan’s Metaphors

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

Edited by:
  • Anders Örtenblad - University of Agder, Norway, Nord University, Norway
  • Kiran Trehan - University of York, UK, University of Birmingham Business School, UK
  • Linda L. Putnam - University of California, Santa Barbara, USA

July 2016 | 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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