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Metaphors of Organisation

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Essay title: Metaphors of Organisation

The machine metaphor is defined as an organization that operates in a

mechanistic-like manner (Morgan 12). These organizations are very

centralized and structured. The tasks performed are very monotonous and

predictable, and workers become very separated from their work, similar to

how a robot would operate. The employees are viewed by the organization as

inanimate and replaceable. In a machine, each unit is independent and

necessary to create a smooth operation of the whole machine. Community

Clinic has only a few similar mechanistic functions within their

organization. The South County Clinic employees (and all other clinics)

follow a set “chain of commands” within the hierarchy. There are very

strict rules pertaining to one’s job that may not be broken, similar to how

one would program a machine. For example, an employee is expected to do

many tasks at once, such as answering the phone, filling out paperwork and

assisting incoming clients. If these tasks cannot be performed correctly and

on time, one may be subjected to termination. The paperwork that has to be

filled out by the employees and the patients is also very routine and

standard, making it a repetitive, mechanistic-like chore for both parties.

The rules and guidelines that are given by the government for Medicaid

patients and Title X patients (funding for family services) are also very

stringent and must be followed as to not get the funding taken away (see

Appendix C).

The machine metaphor creates a few strengths and weaknesses within an

organization. This metaphor suggests that the mechanization of

organizations is effective in dealing with straight- forward tasks, as well

as providing efficiency and control. At Community Clinic, most of the

paperwork is required to be done in a set time- a mechanistic like manner,

which is done efficiently and precisely. The weaknesses of the machine

metaphor are the inability to adapt to change and its dehumanizing

qualities. For example, if a patient educator were to fill out paperwork

differently than the organization says to, he/ she would be reprimanded.

This ideology allows no room for human error.

A different approach to the machine metaphor would be the organismic

metaphor, which suggests that organizations are fluid, flexible and

adaptable to change (Morgan 34). This metaphor goes along with the Human

Resource style of management, mentioned earlier. This metaphor suggests that

the environment and the organization are always dependent upon each other,

otherwise known as “open systems”. This ideology also suggests that there

is always uncertainty within an organization-due to the nature of human

beings, and that this should always be acknowledged (Morgan 39).

In relation to the organismic metaphor, Community Clinic has realized some

of the needs of its organization and their environment. The times have

changed within the realm of sexuality (being much more acceptable to talk

and educate about it). All clinics provide “teen clinics” where teenagers

can get one year’s services completely free. Becoming educated on sexuality

at a young age is something that would not have happened 50 years ago. They

also offer free STD screenings

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