Paradigms, metaphors, and puzzle solving in organization theory

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Gareth Morgan


The purpose of this paper is to present the elements of a radical humanist critique which suggests that the discipline of organization theory has been imprisoned by its metaphors, and to stimulate an awareness through which it can begin to set itself free. The paper explores the relationship among paradigms, metaphors, and puzzle solving showing how organization theory and research is constructed upon a network of assumptions that are taken-for-granted. The metaphorical nature of theory and the implications of metaphor for theory construction are examined. A theoretical and methodological pluralism which allows the development of new perspectives for organizational analysis is suggested. While orthodoxy is based upon a few metaphors characteristic of the functionalist paradigm, metaphors characteristic of other paradigms, which challenge the ground assumptions of orthodoxy, are shown to have much to offer.


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MORGAN, G. Paradigms, metaphors, and puzzle solving in organization theory. RAE - Revista de Administracao de Empresas , [S. l.], v. 45, n. 1, p. 58–71, 2005. Disponível em: Acesso em: 28 feb. 2024.
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