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Analysis Essay of the Iba, University of Dhaka Based on the Metaphorical Paradigms Introduced by Gareth Morgan

Autor:   •  October 15, 2018  •  2,081 Words (9 Pages)  •  652 Views

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their course work. From my observation, IBA is already following this approach which has helped it to its current position.

IBA is also leading the way with innovation as they were the first to introduce MBA program in Bangladesh, among the first to introduce BBA program. Although they were followers to introduce EMBA program, again they are the pioneer to introduce the DBA program.

The Second Metaphor: Organization as Brain

This metaphor is based on human brain which is viewed as an open system which closely scans the environment, judge own situation against the environment, and takes corrective action. This also views organizations as information processing centers which are capable of learning, and learning to learn.

There are three theories relating to this metaphor. One of those is Cybernatics. Cybernatics highlights four steps in organizational work flow and ability:

1. Capacity to sense, monitor, and scan significant aspects of their environment

2. Able to relate this information to the operating norms

3. Able to detect significant deviations from these norms

4. Able to initiate corrective action

The second theory, which is most highlighted in this context is the organizations ability of learning to learn. This adds another step in the cybernatic pattern described above, which is ability to question the established norms and if required, make correction in the standard procedure. This is also termed as ‘Double loop learning’.

The third theory describes the organization as a holographic brain. The metaphor of a hologram represents systems where qualities of the whole are built into all the parts so that the system has an ability to self-organize and regenerate itself on continuous basis (Bentov, 1977). This theory compasses five major principles, (Morgan & Ramirez, 1984). The first principle represents the essential one, which emphasizes on building the whole in all essential parts. According to the principle, this can be incorporated by focusing on four key practices, including corporate culture, information system, structure, and roles. The second principle rests in the importance of connectivity and redundancy, especially in information system and functions (Emery, 1969, 1976). The third principle could be seen as supplementary to redundancy. It is called requisite variety, which highlights the importance of internal diversity to match the environmental diversity. Minimizing critical specifications is the fourth principle, where teams are encouraged to get free of blueprints and managerial manuals and generate their own forms (Herbst, 1974). The last considered principle rests in learning to learn, which involves double-loop learning mode and scan of environmental change (Argyris & Schön, 1978). The five principles could draw concrete guidelines of how to turn into holographic organization. 

Relevance of the brain metaphor to IBA

IBA needs to be vigilant of its environment and changes to the environment. Also, it needs to relate these changes and react to those changes, at the same time keep a track whether these moves conform to its standards and norms and if there is significant variations from the norms, IBA needs to initiate corrective actions. It is evident that IBA has these capacities. IBA has shown its ability to monitor the environment by identifying the requirements of the industry and also has moved towards meeting those needs. Probably IBA delayed its introduction of EMBA course and other certificate courses as it was not conforming to its norms. Then, to IBA has corrected its norms and introduced these courses which enabled more learning scopes for the society as well as more business option for IBA. This also highlights IBA’s ability of Learning to learn. Also high the course fees of some courses, including this DBA course shows that IBA has the capacity of learning to learn as they have changed their norms in this case.

Referring to the holographic design, IBA obviously has redundancy of functions where different faculty are capable to teach different subjects. But there is scope to improve in the area of requisite variety. Probably IBA has more variety to meet the environmental needs than its competitors, but IBA’s main competitor is IBA itself and there is further scope to improve here. IBA also has met the minimum critical specifications as the specifications set by the board is not very much. There is a standard set by them, but the means to achieve those fall to the faculty and they are very much capable to do it.

Comparison and integration of the two metaphors

To summarize, Brain metaphor is actually an advance from the organism metaphor. While machine metaphor introduces organization as a closed system with internal control and efficiency, organic metaphor introduces the environment to it. The organization needs to react to its environment and shape it based on the environmental needs. The brain metaphor takes it a step more where it introduces the organization’s ability of learning to learn. It also introduces the organizational norms and the ability to correct the norms if required.

While the organism metaphor allows a machinistic-organic continuum and allows the organizations some liberty to operate in the continuum based on the environment, the brain metaphor does not allow this. It looks at the organization from the view point of human brain only, not any other animals which need less of the brain matter.

Both of these theories emphasize on innovation to sustain and to grow. But brain metaphor introduces some other concepts like redundancy which highlights on generalization in addition to specialization. It highlights that all the parts must contain the whole so that the organization has the ability to self-organize and regenerate itself on continuous basis. Since this theory emphasizes more on organic form, it does not allow the strict SOPs and emphasizes on minimum critical specifications.

These two metaphors have their limitations too. While the organic metaphor views the organizations as an organism leaving in a natural environment which operates in its own ways and the parts within the organism don’t compete or fight against each other, the actual organization environment is quite different. It lives in a social environment, not in natural environment where human factors constitute the whole environment. And human factors are the most unpredictable of all the factors. Also, in a real organization,


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