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Organizations as Machines. Gareth Morgan. The Chinese Gardener. In the story of Tzu-gung, what was the opinion of the old man towards machines and their influence on people? How can this debate be applied to today?. The Rise of Bureaucratic Organizations. What is a bureaucratic organization?

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Organizations as Machines

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Organizations as machines l.jpg

Organizations as Machines

Gareth Morgan


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The Chinese Gardener

  • In the story of Tzu-gung, what was the opinion of the old man towards machines and their influence on people?

  • How can this debate be applied to today?


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The Rise of Bureaucratic Organizations

  • What is a bureaucratic organization?

  • How does Morgan describe the rise of bureaucracy?

  • What elements of the machine metaphor can be seen in the example of the management observation checklist for service personnel?


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Origins of Mechanistic Organization

  • How does Morgan tie the relationship between machines and the Industrial Revolution? Who does Morgan discuss?

  • Adam Smith: Division of Labour

  • Fredrick the Great: Vision of the “mechanized” army


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Principles of Classical Management Theory

  • Unit of command

  • Scalar chain

  • Span of control

  • Staff and line

  • Initiative

  • Division of work

  • Authority and responsibility

  • Centralization of authority

  • Discipline

  • Subordination of individual interest to general interest

  • Equity

  • Stability of tenure personnel

  • Esprit de corps


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Fredrick Taylor: Scientific Management

What are the 5 principles of “Scientific Management”?

  • Shift all responsibility for the organization of work from the worker to the manager.

  • Use scientific methods to determine the most efficient way of doing work.

  • Select the best person to perform the job.

  • Train the worker to do the work efficiently.

  • Monitor worker performance to ensure that appropriate work procedures are followed and that appropriate results are achieved.


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Critically thinking about the theory

  • What are some of the strengths of the machine metaphor?

  • What are some of the weaknesses of the machine metaphor?


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