“Imaginization” in management (already in 1993!)

imaginizationI came up with “Imaginizing” by myself, but Gareth Morgan beat me to it by a large margin: His book Imaginization: New Mindests for Seeing, Organizing and Managing was published in 1993, and his website is called Imaginiz.com.

“As a society, we have become preoccupied with the idea of finding ways of fixing and controlling the world around us. ‘Getting organized’ has meant finding that structure or solution for an organization that’s going to last (…) But, in times of change, organizations that are organized in this way run into trouble because they can’t adjust to the new challenges (…) The challenge now is to imaginize: to infuse the process of organizing with a spirit of imagination that takes us beyond bureaucratic boxes. (…)

Imaginization is a way of thinking. It’s a way or organizing. It’s a key managerial skill. It provides a way of helping people understand and develop their creative potential. It offers a way of finding innovative solutions to difficult problems. And, last but not least, it provides a means of empowering people to trust themselves and find new roles in a world characterized by flux and change.”

Imaginization builds up on Morgan’s earlier, more academic work on Images of Organizations (1986, updated 2006), where he aims to show how metaphors are central to our thinking about organisation and management (as about many other things!), and can open new possibilities. Morgan introduces 8 paradigmatic “images” or organizations: machines, organisms, brains, cultures, political systems, psychic prisons, flux and transformation, instruments of domination. While not exhaustive, this list helps understand the conscious or subconscious assumptions on which organizations are built, or evaluated.

Changing organizations therefore requires a change of mindset – hence Morgan’s late focus on “reinventing management education to promote effective learning in a digital, turbulent world.”

 

 

 

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