Information Use in the ‘New’ Organization

The Organic Metaphor and its Implications
  • Richard Kamm


A common theme in much recent work on managerial practice is that, if organizations are to survive the challenges of contemporary economic, technological and social conditions, they need to take on a particular form. The well-structured, bureaucratic corporation, is criticised as rigid, dehumanising and incapable of adapting to the rapid changes of the business environment. The style of thinking that it embodies, mechanistic philosophy or scientific management, is held to be less appropriate than an approach which emphasises decentralization, autonomy and flexibility. Such principles are seen as resting in an organizational form variously characterised as ‘new’ (Drucker, 1988), ‘knowledge-based’ (Quinn, 1992), ‘informated’ (Zuboff, 1988), ‘virtual’ (Harrington, 1991) and even ‘postmodern’ (Bergquist, 1993). Beneath these labels lies a common perception of the adaptable, decentralised organizations which recapitulates Burns’ (1971) idea of the organic type of structure. This, in turn, can be related to the wider organismic metaphor for social activity (Morgan, 1986).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard Kamm
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Computer Studies and MathematicsUniversity of the West of EnglandBristolUK

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