People who see organizations as an instrument of domination are often terrible people to work with and for. They see employees as objects to be subjugated. They also tend to see the natural resources available to the company as theirs to exploit.
When this metaphor works: in some cases, this is the most realistic view of organizational life (sadly).
When this metaphor fails: this view can be adopted by activists who paint a miserable and myopic view of any kind of effort concentrated to a capitalist end.
What this metaphor means for leadership: under this paradigm, leaders are expected to override the will and self-determination of their subordinates.
What this metaphor says about organizational change: this metaphor fails to respond to meaningful external change because it prioritizes the personal wants and needs of a leader; i.e. if a leader doesn’t find it attractive to change, the organization will not change.
With the amalgamation of the southern and northern protectorate, and the widely acclaimed history of Nigeria, its creation and linkage to Unilever (which funnily have the most successful FCMG products in the country till date), one can tell that the organization of the country is solely/deliberated designed by the British for resource exploitation.
Which sadly, to this day, is still the same system that governs the present political system/organization.
Like, exploit oil from the south, share oil blocks with friends and associates, care less about the people, and come back later during election to share rice with everyone – to further exploit them later.
When and if you look closely to the structures of organizations in the country, its quite unfortunate that many of them takes the natural metaphor of organization as instrument of domination where the boss exploits resources, both human and financial (I’m sure you know this too well).
This has so much eaten to the fabric of the society to the point where the only widely used method of organization in the country naturally takes on this shape.
In 2016, I was at the Federal Ministry of Education policy talk with education stakeholders.
The UNESCO consultant presenting said “we have designed this perfect educational model for middle school and high schools in the country, and we are hoping that you, the state education commissioners would do good work of implementations.”
At this point, I knew it will never work, and my reason was; how do you design a one size fits all system for education in the country? How do you pack Southern States which are obviously well developed with Northern states, many of which are playing the catching up game in education?
Then I see the system clearly, and knew it will never work, and yes, I pray it collapse soon enough.
Like me, if you’ve worked well with governments MDAs, or if your work depends on some folks working for governments, then you’ll see how most of them play the status game where you will be the subject of conquest to them (I once witnessed CBN compliant team messing up and asking out of context document instead of admitting he forgot the Compliant documentations in Abuja).
If you’ve been fortunate or unfortunate like me to study Satir Change model, you’ll understand better that there’s nothing that change people’s behavior like chaos.
As a lover of Architecture, I learn something very incredible about interrelationship of systems which is;
Site -> Structure -> Service -> Skin -> Stuffs.
I can tell that the Nigerian system have an unfortunate bad structure, and no matter how much you try, services, skin and stuffs will never make up for it.
Sources: Images of Organization & Nobl (the part on system metaphor).