Organizational Metaphors

Published: 2018-08-29 22:05:07
2070 words
8 pages
18 min to read
Wesleyan University
Type of paper: 
This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

The Vertical axis portrays the strategies 

From the figure, the diverse metaphors that can be applied in organizations comprise of organizations as organisms, machines, cultures, brains, psychic prisons, political systems, instruments of domination, and flux and transformations. Applying metaphors in the context of organizations is appropriate as they serve as ideal learning tools. They facilitate in the transfer of broad information amounts. Metaphors also provide individuals with opportunities for allowing individuals to receive information as well as interpret it in their unique terms. In the context of PWR, therefore, metaphors would emerge as appropriate tools for governing its operations CITATION Buo10 \l 1033 (Buono & Jamieson, 2010). In this sense, it would be possible to categorize PWR as a brain metaphor. This is because as significant knowledge and information amount is produced, it would be possible to circulate it within the entire organization, thereby make notable improvements within the company in terms of boosting knowledge management (KM) initiatives. Nevertheless, it is worth laying emphasis on the drawback of perceiving PWR as the brain. It usually challenges the conventional hierarchical structure of a company in line with the individuals holding real power. Applying the ideas in this sense would demand as shift of mind and power in the case of all members apparent within the company.


The SoSM refers a widespread grid, which usually exhibits a range of complexity in line with the diverse participantst range to pinpoint the diverse problem scenarios or situations CITATION Hit08 \l 1033 (Hitchins, 2008). As for the horizontal axis, it depicts the diverse stages that PWR can follow in its KM initiatives. The Vertical axis portrays the strategies to follow for each stage in the implementation phases.

Figure 2 depicts five major problem contexts in line with the appropriate metaphors, which would address the prevailing KM problems for PWR. After evaluating PWR in the perspective of the SoSM table above in line with the existing participants, as well as matching it with the brain metaphor, the organization can address the existing issues through directing the resolution of the problem to the Viable System Model (VSM).

Viable System Model

The setting that companies undertake their operations is usually complex mostly because their operating environment is dynamic and ever changing. The interlinked environments in line with the moderated informal associations result to continuous as well as rapid changes. Here, the repercussions are unpredicted demands, which require the management of firms to be flexible as well as prepared to deal with the unanticipated challenging situations CITATION RU­o12 \l 1033 (RU­os, 2012). Traditional strategies of management might not cope with the multifaceted organizational settings. In this sense, the VSM serves as an ideal solution, since it targets the challenging external and internal situations in line with the capacity of the VSM system to allow firms cope with the rapid changes. VSM lays significant emphasis on adaptation mechanism, control, as well as communication.

As for the VSM model, it relates to three parts of an organism that are constantly interacting, including organs, muscles, the nervous system in line with the surrounding setting. It targets the key activities within a company, which allow an organization to undertake its operations efficiently while other parts operate in harmony. Here, the environment reflects the outside setting.

Determination of Knowledge Processes State

The VSM revolves around three major concepts, including variety engineering, black box strategy, and self-regulation through loops for feedback. Hence, to ensure that the VSM system manages to realize viability, it is essential to have five systems. Concerning the case of PWR, the VSM system will entail the following stages


During the initial projectts month, the first task for the KM teams at PWR are should be to lay emphasis on learning of the prevailing KM activities from scientists. The task in this case should revolve around prevailing knowledge stores, which would serve as the initial strategy for knowledge management. It would also be appropriate to consider deploying numerous methodologies, which would facilitate in undertaking knowledge audit. However, since most of the methodologies are not yet published or tested, PWR should consider deploying a methodology, which multiple organizations have utilized successfully, while laying emphasis on technology in line with socially oriented initiatives. Step 1 should mostly revolve around leveraging systemic thinking to facilitate in identifying the undesirable and desirable stales affiliated with the four processes of basic knowledge. The processes and affiliated states are as depicted in Table 1. The second objective should be to start comprehending the way KM processes are affiliated with each other. For instance, considering creation of knowledge, a desirable state would be defined after the creation of new knowledge. The real new knowledge would be perceived as not existing previously. Thus, a different state for KM practices would be store new knowledge to ensure that other individuals within the organization can access it. After the determination of the undesired and desired states, the KM team should focus on investigating why undesirable states prevail, thereby resulting to step 2 CITATION Chu08 \l 1033 (Chun, et al., 2008).

The step should revolve around data utilization, which would be gathered from preliminary investigations and interviews. The team should then consider inventorying the prevailing KM systems and assess if they are open or closed. An evaluation of the different KM systems should be carried out, including non-technology and technology based systems CITATION Chu08 \l 1033 (Chun, et al., 2008). Here, the major area of emphasis should be to determine if the properties would contribute to undesirable or desirable states as depicted in table 2 below.

Identification of Behaviors Affiliated with States

The third step should target the identification of behaviors affiliated with desirable states as well as make sure that it would be possible to identify the behaviors while identifying the behaviors linked with undesirable states, to ensure that the behaviors are discouraged or discarded. The behaviors affiliated with undesirable and desirable states are portrayed in the third column apparent in Table 2. The team should take around two months carrying out interviews with scientists, gather data, as well as document the behaviors. Here, they would manage to identify two salient behaviors affiliated with desirable states. Initially, most of the PWR scientists might be willing to share knowledge when asked. Secondly, the scientists might share knowledge in case they are offered the opportunity. By contrast, two salient behaviors might emerge as affiliated with undesirable states. Firstly, redundant knowledge might be developed since the scientists might not find prevailing knowledge. Secondly, the work environment might not support sharing of knowledge. By evaluating the behaviors, it would be possible to identify patterns affiliated with reinforcing behaviors and realize how they can address the behaviors that contribute to reinforcing processes, which result to emergence of undesirable states CITATION Chu08 \l 1033 (Chun, et al., 2008).

The KM team should consider taking the information they gather concerning undesirable and desirable states, open and closed systems, and affiliated behaviors, to assist in developing a systemic overview of KM at PWR. Generally, the team should consider building on details gathered from step 1 to 3, hence lead to the development of a key overarching theme affiliated with undesirable situations CITATION Chu08 \l 1033 (Chun, et al., 2008). The major themes that might become apparent comprise of snapshot solutions as well as lack of generative knowledge as depicted in figure 3 below

 Reinforcing Processes 

From figure 3, concerning snapshot solutions, it would be essential to lay emphasis on the ways through which previous attempts for changing or fixing the undesirable states influenced small pieces associated with the entire KM process based on the problemst snapshot. In the event of generative learning, the KM team should consider finding out whether negative learning lacks. Here, it is ideal to not that even if knowledge is created, transferred, or stored successfully, it would be traditionally challenging to leverage and customize the knowledge and implement it to solve a new challenge CITATION Chu08 \l 1033 (Chun, et al., 2008)

In order for PWR to overcome the snapshot solutions as well as boost generative learning, it should the role of the KM team to consider envisioning an environment whereby scientists would manage to define the direction as well as flow of knowledge as well as participate in the process of designing KM information systems. It should be the role of the IT department to institute technology infrastructure. However, the users would also be responsible for enforcing the ways the systems that utilize technology are utilized. The major objective in this sense would be to mitigate the scientistst natural reaction to safeguard their individual knowledge. PWR can do this through implementing knowledge management software (Askme), which would allow knowledge experts, to access particular knowledge topic through a central repository. The application should also allow the users to modify the application based on their unique needs CITATION Chu08 \l 1033 (Chun, et al., 2008). The architecture of the application is as depicted in figure 4 below.

KM Software Application Architecture

By utilizing the software application, it would be possible for scientists to raise questions regarding particular topics relating to issues such as turbo machinery, combustible devices, deterioration rates, and liquid rocket propulsions. By posting the questions in the application, other scientists would add their input to the knowledge base hence result to collaborative efforts and development of new knowledge.

The processes followed in the paper have served as guidelines to evaluating the areas that PWR has weaknesses. The segmentation of PWR to systems has provided clear viewpoints concerning the companyts KM aspects and the prevailing problems within the company. In order for the firm to operate efficiently, the company needs to centralize its KM initiatives. The team members responsible for overseeing the KM initiatives should consider instituting policies, which the engineers within the company can understand. This way, it would be possible to implement the steps in line with efforts from other organizational stakeholders associated with PWR, thus support effective communication and knowledge sharing. The managers within the company should consider training the employees within the organization on how to use the KM software application to provide them with an effective way of generating and sharing knowledge concerning the diverse activities that take place within the company. This would empower the staff members by supporting an enriching and encouraging culture of coordinating and sharing information among the diverse departments.


Leadership in Complex Environments

The VSM system has received significant recognition based on its robustness and flexibility, which matches the needs of the rapidly evolving business environment. The flexibility of the system becomes apparent based on the ways in which it facilitates in allocating diverse units within a business as well as permitting organizations to cope with the dramatic changes apparent in the business environment. The sturdiness of the model prevails as it targets organizationst uniqueness CITATION Mit08 \l 1033 (Mitsuishi, et al., 2008). Nevertheless, the VSM model encounters limitations when it fails to put into consideration the roles that individuals play in line with providing a vague image of a company. Furthermore, the VSM model might also result to autocratic management, thus pose challenges when implementing it. Therefore, the SoSM model would be ideal in the case of KM initiatives at PWR since it allows a company to sustain its culture whereas VSM overlooks certain general issues that organizations face CITATION Esp11 \l 1033 (Espejo & Reyes, 2011).

The present business world is characterized by instability, which poses challenges for leaders when pursuing their roles. The key problems leaders encounter in the present uncertain business world revolves around complexity. Leaders are experiencing situations in their companies, which are negatively affecting their capacities when leading change or making decisions, especially when the external environment becomes demanding CITATION Gri11 \l 1033 (Grisham, 2011). Therefore, it is appropriate to consider devising ways that would guide leaders when it comes to dealing with uncertain situations, particularly in the systems thinking environment. The major areas worth considering in this case revolve around exercising significant learning commitment, looking at prevailing phenomena through diverse perspectives, and showing willingness to cope with the prevailing challenges in the business arena. In the case of PWR, for example, one of the effective ways in can deal with the KM implementation challenge is through mentoring managers as well as leaders on how to deal with complexities surrounding the activities of the firm. It can do this by gaining notable understanding concerning what activities people undertake and empower them to serve as organizational members CITATION Gan13 \l 1033 (Ganson, 2013). These would assist the company in dealing with the diverse sophisticated situations, support cooperation, and enhance cooperation and knowledge sharing.


Request Removal

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the SpeedyPaper website, please click below to request its removal: