Management Metaphors

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Summary

What are Management Metaphors? Meaning.

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.


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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 manag (...)
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🔥 NEW 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 Organisatio (...)
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Functions of Metaphors in Management
Methaphors can play an important role in organizations/organizational theory. They broadly have two major functions or i (...)
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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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