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Organizational Metaphors

Kathleen J. Krone


Subject Linguistics
Communication Studies » Organizational Communication

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405131995.2008.x


Extract

Metaphors have played an important role in shaping the study of organizations and organizational communication since the 1980s. Various principles of metaphor have been used to conceptualize the abstract and complex domains of organizations and organizational communication; to imagine new constructs, theoretical insights, and perspectives; to analyze and understand organizational culture; and to facilitate organizational change ( Lakoff 1993 ). An early and influential consideration of metaphorical →  Images analyzed organizational theory through a set of eight metaphors as diverse as “machines,” “cultures,” “psychic prisons,” and “instruments of domination” ( Morgan 1986, 1997 ). This analysis highlighted the partiality of each metaphor, illustrating the idea that organizations are too complex to be understood completely as any one. In addition, multiple and overlapping metaphors have been used to characterize organizational communication research, including those of conduit, lens, linkage, performance, symbol, multiple voices, and discursive forms (→  Organizational Communication ). This analysis also implies that the complexity of organizational communication requires the use of multiple metaphors in research and illustrates how the relationship between organization and communication shifts within and across metaphors, between those of containment, co-production, and equivalency ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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