The dominant metaphors underpinning management theory and practice are the machine and the organism. These dominant metaphors are in turn underpinned by assumptions of stability, uniformity, and rationality. But organisations can also exhibit instability, fragmentation and non-rational behaviour. Therefore management theory provides a deficient model of how organisations actually operate. When overlaid onto a real organisation these theories are supposed to inform the practice of management but in reality misinform the practice of management. The area of strategic management demonstrates this probably better than any, which explains the growing disenchantment with the discipline. Management theory needs to be able to guide the practice of management in situations of stability and instability etc. Unfortunately, the dominant metaphors exert their influence on management theory development as well and on the methodologies used to study organisations and management. As an example, leadership has been studied as a characteristic of an individual. But leadership is a relationship. Privileging leadership as an attribute of a leader rather than as a relationship has certainly created a lot of theory. The only trouble it's actually pretty misleading.