Organization theory and poetry: A not so elusive link by Naveed Yazdani , Hasan S. Murad and Rana Zamin Abbas (4)

The poem is highly metaphorical reflecting the imagination of a rejected lover who is viewing his beloved’s
honeymoon with someone else. The rejected lover is
viewing the honeymoon as a kind of ‘post-mortem’. The
key metaphorical words are ‘bread’, ‘platter’, ‘knife’, ‘flesh’
and ‘hunger’. Bread is the frigid and unwilling beloved,
whose flesh is cut across by the maleness (knife) of her
husband. Hunger is the reflection of carnal desires of her
husband which is devoid of non-physical and eternal
love, the kind of love, which the rejected lover’s broken
heart harbored for his beloved (Gopal and Sachar, 2000).
One specific example from Urdu poetry
Mir Taqi Mir (1722 to 1808) is one of the immortals
among Urdu poets. He uses suggestions, images, and
metaphors in a masterful manner. His favorite theme is
unfulfilled love. His mastery over the art of composing
ghazal, a special genre of Urdu poem is acknowledged
by his contemporary Zauq, another famous Urdu poet, in
the following words:
Never, never, could I attain the grace of Mir’s style,
Though, I strained every nerve to cultivate the ghazal
(Kanda, 1992; Samiuddin, 2004).
A critic and writer of Urdu poetry, Majeed Yazdani (1986)
has conducted a thorough search of the use of body
parts (employed as metaphors) in the poetry of Mir Taqi
According to Majeed Yazdani (1986), body parts play
vital role in poetic collection of Mir Taqi Mir. In Qulyaat-eMir (the collection of Mir’s poetry) the use of body parts
as metaphors is quite in abundance. He qualifies this
statement by painstakingly collecting 6746 couplets from
the 13578 couplets of gahazals in Qulyaat-e-Mir which
employ the body parts such as heart, liver, chest, eye,
brain, hand, feet, head, and tongue. This amounts to
about 50% of the total couplets of Qulyaat. These body
parts metaphorically convey the notions and f eelings of
intellect, grief, unfulfilled love, beauty, promise, tears
hope, and eloquence.
The clear demarcating line between social sciences and art and aesthetics is blurred and questionable. The
modernist stance of organization theory (and social
sciences) was that of differentiation. Social sciences were
made ahistoric and amoral as result of this project of
differentiation. Prior to Western modernity, religion, art
and rational knowledge were undifferentiated. The
positivistic movement of late 19th and early 20th century
however exalted only that knowledge which was
empirically demonstratable (Palshaugen, 1998).
How empiricism affected the field of organization theory
can be inferred from its definition which was well used
into the 1970’s: it was defined “as the study of structures,
functioning and performance of organizations and their
behaviors of groups and individuals within them” (Jones
and Munro, 2005). It was in 1980s that organiza-tion
theory started dismantling its colonial burden of valueneutral and amoral language. During the 1980s, a branch
of organization theory called ‘action research’ started to
emerge. Action research challenged the notion of
‘method’ and ‘methodology’ in the process of research
and had more in common with arts than with sciences.
The purpose of this kind of research was to find out truth
without the imposition of scientific methodological
framework (Palshaugen, 1998).
It was also in the 1980s that metaphors started finding
their place in organization theory. Metaphors are used in
organization theory literature after Morgan’s groundbreaking work Images of Organization (1998). Since
then, some theorists have attempted to capture different
organization theory perspectives through metaphors. The
metaphors of machine, organism, culture and collage are
descriptive of the classical, modern, symbolic-interpretive
and post-modern perspectives in organization theory
(Dreiling, 2007; Hatch, 2011). He opened up these ‘tight
paradigms’ or perspectives by linking them to abstract
symbols. These abstract symbols or metaphors had the
power to convey meanings in more enriched and
purposeful way. Morgan’s simultaneous use of two
metaphors (binocular vision metaphor) posits that, two
metaphors used together are superior to one another in
providing a picture of reality, just as two eyes used
together provide a better and broader vision than one eye
(Gibson Burrell as in, Clegg et al., 1996; Morgan, 1980).
Metaphors are said to have added a rich and creative
dimension to the understanding of organization theory
related issues (Czarniawska, 2006). 

(Organization theory and poetry: A not so elusive link by Naveed Yazdani, School of Professional Advancement, University of Management and Technology, Lahore. Pakistan. Hasan S. Murad, University of Management and Technology, Lahore, Pakistan. and Rana Zamin Abbas, Organization Theory Center, University of Management and Technology, Lahore, Pakistan. / Accepted 15 September, 2011 African Journal of Business Management Vol. 6(1), pp. 7-13,11 January, 2012 / Available online at

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