Metaphors are useful communication tools used in management practices and routine conversations. They are frequently utilized to understand vague concepts better and act as a conceptual instrument that assigns meaning. With analogies’ help, it conveys meaning, helps with the perception of blurry ideas, and ignites the process of imagination with a mental picture. In the business context, metaphors facilitate shaping and conceptualizing the managerial endeavor. This essay intends to discuss the dominant metaphors used in management practices.
There are several metaphors for illustration and deep insight into the different functions of a business. These metaphors shape our thinking of the management system within the business. Here are five metaphors commonly used to describe the management of a business.
The dominant metaphor used for business is a machine. This metaphor laid the foundation for the understanding of the bureaucratic business. It emphasizes the efficient utilization of labor and working in coordination to achieve optimal productivity.
To complete the task, a business uses a hierarchical framework as a medium of coordination at different levels. In any business, the layout for power distribution among the employees and the strategy to develop the best approach regarding time and resources is like that of a machine. Similarly, a machine has a rigid structure for its support. Each of its components’ functions is clearly defined, and all the parts are working together to perform a certain task. The whole system works in a closed-loop in which all components of a machine are interdependent.
The business approach can be regarded as an open-loop approach. Unlike the machine approach, which perceives the business within its restricted premises, this approach shifts the outlook of a business towards a living being with intelligence and adaptation capabilities. The living organisms are born and learn from different environments and are flexible regarding adaptability. Similarly, the environment in which a business flourishes plays a vital role in its productivity.
An encouraging and supportive environment favors efficiency in the business. Different departments work together to achieve a unified goal within the business as the different subsystems in the organism body. The structural framework of business varies depending on nature and the environment. It can be regarded as different species within the pool of the organism.
Different kinds of dominance were introduced, such as external and internal dominance, dominance due to a potential threat, the forced dominance of authority, and dominance bylaws, where regulations are designed in such a manner as to assure head supremacy. Such practices are common in government and the military, where it is necessary to abide by rules and laws for the smooth flow of operations. Often bureaucratic framework is required depending upon the nature of the business. Similarly, global business dominates the world’s economy. Business theorist establishes a close relationship between political dominance and global economics, and vice versa.
Conflict on many issues can arise within a business, just like families. This metaphor highlights the confusing dynamics of conflicts. Conflicts can range from departmental conflicts to individual conflicts. A family is an institution that protects and supports its member at times, but at the same time, disagreement is common within its member. The cordial nature of the relationship among family members minimizes the duration of the conflict. The business is similarly treated like a family where all individual in the hierarchy shares a pleasant relationship. This relationship helps in reducing the negative impact of a conflict within the business.
This metaphor is associated with power and authority and the relationship between superiors and subordinates. The business can be viewed as a political system where individuals are plotting for personal benefit. This concept is complex due to its paradoxical nature. It reflects the idea were members of a business are working for the sole purpose the personal benefit. According to the idea, the business is a mini-state with three different sorts of relationships between the member and the entity.
The relationships are unitary, pluralist, and radical. In the unitary relationship, members and the business are collectively considered a single entity is working together to achieve a common goal where intense conflict is rare and transient. Pluralists focus on the diverse nature of individuals and groups where the goals of different members and groups can vary and regards conflict as a part of the business. The third type of relationship views a business from a completely different perspective. It stresses the radical nature of business where rival forces of management and union are trying to surpass each other. Conflict in this approach is inevitable and can change the structure of the business.About Complete Controller® – America’s Bookkeeping Experts Complete Controller is the Nation’s Leader in virtual bookkeeping, providing service to businesses and households alike. Utilizing Complete Controller’s technology, clients gain access to a cloud-hosted desktop where their entire team and tax accountant may access the QuickBooks™️ file, critical financial documents, and back-office tools in an efficient and secure environment. Complete Controller’s team of certified US-based accounting professionals provide bookkeeping, record storage, performance reporting, and controller services including training, cash-flow management, budgeting and forecasting, process and controls advisement, and bill-pay. With flat-rate service plans, Complete Controller is the most cost-effective expert accounting solution for business, family-office, trusts, and households of any size or complexity.