Research Publications

Trapped’ by metaphors for organizations: Thinking and seeing women’s equality and inequality
Linzi J Kemp
Human Relations, published online before print March 3, 2016, doi: 10.1177/0018726715621612
Gender was consistently identified as a major force in all editions of Images of Organization (Morgan, 1986, 1997, 2006), yet 30 years after publication of Morgan’s (1986) seminal work, women’s equality remains elusive in twenty-first-century workplaces. This state of affairs became the stimulus for the present research study, and its purpose the exploration of influences on women’s equality and inequality from the eight metaphors contained in Images of Organization (Morgan, 1986, 1997, 2006). Data were collected from a sample of 70 articles in 30 leading academic journals that referenced Images of Organization (Morgan, 1986, 1997, 2006), and were analyzed for within-domains similarity between the eight metaphors and imageries of women in organizations. The results were then investigated for women’s equality and inequality via content analysis. Four themes of influences on women’s equality and inequality were identified from these metaphors for organizations. The implications of these findings are discussed, and two novel images are introduced to progress equality for women. The contribution to scholarly knowledge from this study is the proposition that the influence of these metaphors for organizations has in effect trapped ways of seeing and thinking regarding women’s equality and inequality. The practical value of the current study lies in the proposal of new images to release organizational praxis for women’s equality to become a real force in twenty-first-century organizations.



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