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Management: perspective and practice
Management: perspective and practice

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5 Making connections

In activity 4, you read about different metaphors for organisations. Metaphors are useful ways of describing and illustrating organisational structure and culture.

Described image
Figure 22 Bees producing honey – an organisational metaphor
Described image
Figure 23 A football match in progress – an organisational metaphor

Describing organisations using pictorial metaphors is somewhat different to using rich pictures. In fact, although both can be seen as symbolic representations of organisations, they derive from different aspects of organisational theory. For Activity 3.4, you might have used several pictorial metaphors or symbols in your rich picture to illustrate a problem or opportunity in your work.

Activity 13 Metaphors through sounds

Another way you can think about metaphors is through sounds or music. For example, listen to the following two sounds – what kinds of organisations do they conjure up for you?

Download this audio clip.Audio player: Sound 1
Sound 1
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Download this audio clip.Audio player: Sound 2
Sound 2
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One colleague listened to Sound 1 and said that it reminded him of his last job in a telecommunications corporation.

Now, think of a single metaphor for your organisation as a way of describing its culture. What is it like to work there?

Activity 14 Identifying a cultural metaphor

  1. Identify a digital image or sound that serves as a metaphor for the culture of your organisation.

    You can take a digital photo, or use the internet to find existing images using the following search engines and sites:

    Alternatively, you can draw your own metaphor and take a digital snapshot of it or use an electronic drawing program.

    Or you can record a sound (e.g., a car sounding its horn) or music piece, or you can find short audio files from the following sound libraries on the internet:

  2. Write a brief description (about 50–75 words) of the metaphor and why you chose it to represent your organisation’s culture.
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