The Indigo Podcast is available on all major podcast platforms, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts. Wherever you listen, please consider giving us a quick review and 5-star rating if you think we deserve it. For more details about the different sections of Elevating What Works and how to manage your subscription including e-mails and notifications, click here.

Here’s the episode:

It’s common to hear people describe their work organizations as a “family.” And that description is often made as a proud statement, as if to imply that an organization should operate or feel like a family. But that’s problematic, as we discuss in this episode. Specifically, we explore:

  • Why our use of metaphors for organization matters

  • How the way in which we talk about things can create or reinforce cultural norms

  • Why “family” is a problematic way to think about your work organization

  • Implications for people, leaders, and organization

Elevating What Works is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.

Links and Other Information

Örtenblad, A., Putnam, L. L., & Trehan, K. (2016). Beyond Morgan’s eight metaphors: Adding to and developing organization theory. Human Relations, 69(4), 875-889. Click here

Gareth Morgan’s seminal book, Images of Organization

Harvard Business Review article by Joshua Luna, “The Toxic Effects of Branding Your Workplace a ‘Family’” 

Article by David Burkus: “Why a company is not a family — and how companies can bond with their employees instead”

All episodes of The Indigo Podcast

Like us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter