Back to Basics: Organizations are as Unique as Individuals
In 1928 the Belgian artist René Magritte painted a picture of a pipe (the kind you fill with tobacco). The painting, called “The Treachery of Images,” now resides in the Los Angeles County Art Museum. Under the image of the pipe are the words “Ceci n’est pas une pipe,” French for “This is not a pipe.” In other words, although the painting is very realistic, it is not the real thing; it’s just a representation.
In similar fashion, this is not an organization:
Actually it’s not even an image of an organization; it depicts only two components of organizational reality: the division of work into specialty areas, and a hierarchy or power structure.
Of course, actual organizations are far, far more complex than the charts we typically rely on to depict power and authority relationships. In fact, those images tell us almost nothing about how an organization actually operates; they provide no information whatsoever about the processes, procedures, operating principles, or values and culture that are part of every organization and guide the way its members create products or services. Read more