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An organization called Harry
School of Management and Economics, Växjö University, Växjö, Sweden; Faculty of Social Sciences, Lillehammer University College, Lillehammer, Norway.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2156-680X
2008 (English)In: Journal of Organizational Change Management, ISSN 0953-4814, E-ISSN 1758-7816, Vol. 21, no 2, p. 174-187Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose: Anthropomorphism is the attribution of human characteristics to gods, plants, animals or inanimate objects (the wind, rocks, etc.). This paper sets out to disprove the association of anthropomorphic characteristics with individual organizations.

Design/methodology/approach: This paper discusses anthropomorphism in organization theory because many scholars argue that organizations are human or like human beings. Some examples of “An organization called Harry” in organization literature are presented.

Findings: Three causes of anthropomorphism can be traced. The negative, rather than any positive, consequences of anthropomorphism in organization literature are discussed.

Originality/value: A new agenda for organizational studies is suggested where anthropomorphism is avoided together with the fallacy of the human metaphor. Anthropomorphism creates confusion rather than advancing the field of organization theory.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2008. Vol. 21, no 2, p. 174-187
Keywords [en]
Cognition, Metaphors, Open systems, Organizations
National Category
Economics and Business
Research subject
Economy, Ledarskap, entreprenörskap och organisation
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-71628DOI: 10.1108/09534810810856426ISI: 000255214300004Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-41649085987OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-71628DiVA, id: diva2:1280907
Available from: 2019-01-21 Created: 2019-01-21 Last updated: 2019-01-30Bibliographically approved

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Andersen, Jon Aarum

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf