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Metaphors in Management – Blend of Theory and Practice

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Michał Chmielecki and Łukasz Sułkowski

This book will help managers understand organizations in non-quantitative manner. The modern-day managers are challenged with dealing with these constantly increasing complexities in the pursuit of efficiency and effectiveness. They must understand how constant changes influence their tasks so they can contribute to establishing a fast-reacting organization. The authors analyze how metaphors can serve as methods or tools that provide insight into how organizations function, and how best to deal with making them successful in a state of permanent change.

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Part II: Practical applications of metaphors in management

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Part II:  Practical applications of metaphors in management

1.  Metaphors in economic discourse

Classic and modern economics use metaphors constantly. In economic discourse, metaphor is very common225. Many economic expressions, such as expansion, depression and inflation, are metaphorical in nature.

Nevertheless, it was only in 1982 that W. Henderson began the conversation of metaphor in economics, stressing that there was a scarcity of metaphorical analyzes in economics, despite its deliberate and wide use in economic texts. The 1980s then saw metaphors dragged out of the closet by Johnson and Lakoff226, pioneers in this field. They proved that metaphorical reasoning was prevalent, and stressed that metaphors were essential for humanity’s understanding. In the 25 years since Waterman and Peters’ triumph, the usage of metaphors has grown stronger. Every academic that you can think of now uses metaphors227. This has become most prevalent in the management and business fields.

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