An Action-Oriented Perspective on Organization and Information Systems
Chapter 4: Organizational Paradigms: Old and New
4. Organizational paradigms: old and new The intellectual disease of analysing data to the exclusion of the situation may be called data ﬁxation. Its principal symptom is a certain obsessiveness with arithmetic (…) I must confess that I regard the invention of statistical pseudo-quantities like the coefﬁcient of correlation as one of the minor intellectual disasters of our time; it has provided legions of students and investigators with opportunities to substitute arithmetic for thought on a grand scale. (K. Boulding, 1958, Administrative Science Quarterly, 3 (1):16) INTRODUCTION The learning organization has been one of the most attractive ideas that has been put to managers in the last few years, but what does it mean? And most importantly, how is it achieved? Can an organization learn? What does organizational knowledge mean? We submit that the learning organization will only become a viable proposition when managers come to the realization such an organization stands on the opposite side to the machine organization (Morgan, 1997). Machine organizations are those we see around us every day and which are still being created today, based on the century-old commandand-control management paradigm. It is not possible to create learning organizations out of machine organizations simply because the assumptions behind the latter are radically different from the assumptions that would be needed to create the former. Morgan (1997) in his Images of Organization has suggested two metaphors which together explain what the learning organization is. They are the organization as ﬂux and transformation and the organization...
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