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Customer reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

on 23 May 2017
Very good read, purchased second-hand at a bargain price for a good quality book!
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on 21 November 2017
In good condition, a useful academic book food for thought
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on 2 November 2002
This is a fundamental reference book on models of organizations. While others try to sell their own pet theory, Morgan presents them all, exposing them to thorough scrutiny.
Any manager or student of management frequently gets confronted with situations that demand an ability to 'read' what is going on, and to generate responding answers and actions. Effective 'reading' needs models. Most of us rely on one or two favoured theories that habitually frame our thinking. However the choice of model is itself a limiting act - think in terms of mechanistic processes and you are limited to machine-based solutions.
Faced with a flavour-of-the-month theory - quality management, knowledge management, chaos theory, whatever - you can turn to this book and understand what type of theory it is - its assumptions, its benefits, its limitations.
Working in the other direction is slightly less comfortable. If you want the latest thinking on a particular perspective, you will find it summarised here, though not always accompanied by comprehensive signposts to follow-on reading.
Altogether quite awesome in its breadth.
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The strong point of this book is that it strengthens your personal radar -the ability to 'read' organizations. Probing what is really going on and the underlying influences. A classic book in its field.

The basis of this book is that you cannot understand complex organizations, in any meaningful way through a single perspective. People in organizations operate on many perspectives. Each view of the world creates its own understanding of the organizational problems, solutions and daily pattern of interaction. The time spent on this book will enable you to far better understand what is going on around you than your peers.

A leading Canadian University running a progamme on Organization design has used this material and also drawn on the following:

* Designing Effective Organizations. This is a UK book from Ashridge. Which contains nine tests of organizational design. A useful and more pragmatic resource, in its style than this book. (See my other reviews)

This book can be complex and hard going in places. This is balanced by the many different insights provided. Many readers might find chapters 7 and 9 a step to far, and skip them.

The core message perhaps is - limit your thinking and you will limit your range of options. Each way of seeing/viewing organizations will produce distinctive insights, with their own pattern of strengths and limatations. The challenge is to integrate the insights and then develop an action strategy that can suit your own purpose.

For an alternative view on organizational politics/dynamics see:

* Who really matters: The core group theory of power, privilege, and success. (See my other reviews)

This was suggested to me by a leading practitioner in the Organization Design/Change Management field from a very large UK organization at a meeting of the Organization Design forum. The key point is that you may have done all the strategy/planning stuff but overlooked the core power base, in which case you could screw up, and you will wonder what went wrong. I have seen this happen several times.

Stan Felstead - Interchange Resources - UK.
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As leadership expert & psychologist I deeply appreciate the multitude of evidence based insights offered in this book about organisations. The book strikes a beautiful balance between sensemaking, understanding and theory, evidence & science. A book that goes beyond recipees and simplicities and that at the same time offers pragmatic insights and frameworks. As Kurt Lewin once said, there is nothing so practical as a good theory. In this (rare) case, I agree.
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on 20 June 2017
Paid a ridiculous amount of money for it for the business component of my M.Sc in risk management, looked at it once and found that it was a load of "bobbins". Don't waste your money.
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on 19 March 2009
This was a set text for a Masters degree I did a couple of years ago. It is one of the books that impressed me the most, as it does an excellent job of identifying and unpicking the different lenses that have been applied to organisations over the years. In particular, the chapters on organisations as psychic prisons and as flux & change I found particularly powerful.

Morgan does an excellent job of analysing the most common metaphors for organisation, and offers the reader both the pros and cons of each, in a way that I found particularly accessible and unlike most books I have read in this area.

Highly recommended, and even if you can only pick up one of the earlier additions, worth having as they do not differ too much.
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on 22 August 2017
good nick and arrived promptly
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on 15 January 2017
book is in very good condition, but a bit oily cover...
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on 3 February 2011
For those who have been around the houses with organisational redesign this book is a refreshing challenge to traditional thinking. But beware he will support an argument in one part of the book but challenge it much later so dipping in and out of it might be a bit risky.
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