Management Metaphors

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Description of Management Metaphors. Explanation.

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Definition Management Metaphors. Description.


Management Metaphors are used often by managers to communicate and clarify the meaning of complex things or concepts, such as a strategy, a strategic vision, a mission statement and, last but not least, a management method or philosophy.


A metaphor (from Greek metapherein - to transfer) is a comparison which imaginatively compares one (complex) thing with another dissimilar (well-known) thing, and transfers or ascribes to the first thing (the tenor or idea) some of the qualities of the second (the vehicle or image). Typical for a metaphor is that one thing is likened to another dissimilar thing not using like, as, than, etc.


A metaphor is not merely an expressive device, but an integral part of the function of language as a definer of reality as well as a reflector of reality.


This form of figurative language can help to convey meaning to widely dissimilar things. Below some examples of frequently used metaphors in management:

Metaphors are extremely powerful communication mechanisms, and their relevance in management, the media and society as a whole can hardly be overestimated. This can be both positive and negative. For example if we need to change an organization, a carefully chosen metaphor can be a powerful change agent, but if the employees keep referring to the organization using an old metaphor, that old metaphor can be a strong barrier to change.


When crafting an organizational metaphor it is advisable to be very alert for Cultural Dimensions.


Management Metaphors Forum
  Book on Metaphors of Organizations: Images of Organisation (Morgan)
No discussion of metaphors in business would be complete without mention of Gareth Morganís book: "Images of Organisation" (first published in 1986). Morgan, Professor of organizational behavior and industrial relations at the Schulich School of Busi...
     
 
  Functions of Metaphors in Management
Methaphors can play an important role in organizations/organizational theory. They broadly have two major functions or impacts, which are summarized by Foropon and McLachlin:
1. Explanatory effect: A methaphor entails a certain way of thi...
     
 
  Examples of Using Metaphors in Management. Quotes
Hi, do you know of a remarkable, humorous quote by a famous person or any other nice example of using metaphors in management?
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Compare with: Framing  |  Metonymy  |  Cognitive Bias  |  Storytelling  |  Positioning  |  Catalytic Mechanisms  |  Six Thinking Hats  |  Brainstorming  |  Strategy Maps  |  Mind Mapping  |  Garbage Can Model

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