Metaphors in Organization

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This entry presents various understandings of, and approaches to, metaphors in organizations. Metaphors arise when, for example, (i) meaning is transferred from a source domain to a target domain, (ii) two domains are blended, or (iii) there is cross‐domain mapping in the conceptual system. Metaphors have been used intentionally both by theorists and researchers to analyze and study organizations, and by consultants and practitioners in the context of problem solving and organizational development. Additionally, metaphors play a crucial role in relation to the actual development of theories of organizations. Inductive and deductive approaches are found within metaphor‐based organizational research, in which metaphors are respectively elicited from or projected onto the organizational reality. Likewise, as regards the form of metaphor research, it is possible to distinguish between discursive and cognitive approaches. Metaphors are perceived both as potentially emancipatory and as a means of concealing and reifying existing power relationships and power structures in organizations.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe International Encyclopedia of Strategic Communication
EditorsRobert L. Heath, Winni Johansen
Number of pages5
Place of PublicationBoston
Publication date2018
ISBN (Print)9781119010715
ISBN (Electronic)9781119010722
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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