Full Text

Organizational Metaphors

Kathleen J. Krone

Subject Linguistics
Communication Studies » Organizational Communication

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405131995.2008.x


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

Log In

You are not currently logged-in to Blackwell Reference Online

If your institution has a subscription, you can log in here:


     Forgotten your password?

Find out how to subscribe.

Your library does not have access to this title. Please contact your librarian to arrange access.

[ access key 0 : accessibility information including access key list ] [ access key 1 : home page ] [ access key 2 : skip navigation ] [ access key 6 : help ] [ access key 9 : contact us ] [ access key 0 : accessibility statement ]

Blackwell Publishing Home Page

Blackwell Reference Online ® is a Blackwell Publishing Inc. registered trademark
Technology partner: Semantico Ltd.

Blackwell Publishing and its licensors hold the copyright in all material held in Blackwell Reference Online. No material may be resold or published elsewhere without Blackwell Publishing's written consent, save as authorised by a licence with Blackwell Publishing or to the extent required by the applicable law.

Back to Top