Computers, domestic pets and cars, especially your first one, are often referred to affectionately by a personal name, indicating a special bond between the person and the machine or animal. Perhaps in the case of the car this goes back to the days when the driving power really was measured in terms of the number of horses! Such warm, friendly qualities are not usually attributed to organisations. Of course, there have been exceptions, e.g. the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) used to be referred to as 'Auntie', whilst the Bank of England was 'the Old Lady of Threadneedle Street', but who has recently heard of an affectionate name for any well-known organisation? (Dear Reader, let us not set up a correspondence on this!)
In what sort of organisation do you work? Is it industrial, commercial, scientific, academic, voluntary, or part of the public sector? What are its objectives? If you are a consultant or an information broker, or if you are employed on some other independent basis, perhaps you work regularly in different types of organisation. Even if you have not done any freelance work, your career may still have taken you through several of the categories mentioned.
Organisations, as well as being grouped under broad headings relating to purpose and objective as above, are also classified according to their structures and control systems. Over the years they have been the focus of numerous research studies, out of which a variety of differing theories have emerged. In the early 1960s the work of Burns and Stalker was seen as a new way of looking at organisations, concentrating as it did on the way in which industry attempted to manage innovation. More recently, their book on the subject was re-issued, Burns and Stalker (1994), and is still regarded as proposing a valuable way of considering the success of various management methods, particularly in today's climate of rapidly changing economic, social and especially technological conditions.
In their original study they looked at the influences which determine whether different types of management are successful or not. One particu