An ethnography of metaphor usage in IS projects : from description to domination

Griffiths, M 2007, An ethnography of metaphor usage in IS projects : from description to domination , PhD thesis, Salford : University of Salford.

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This study presents the story of a three-year ethnographical field study, from December 2000 to December 2003, conducted at a North West based Management Consultancy. Throughout this period the organisation experienced accelerated growth from two sites with a workforce of twenty, to six sites with a workforce of forty-five. There were two major IS implementation projects conducted in that period resulting in pervasive organisational change for this growing workforce. A controlling mechanism by the organisation's domineering Managing Director was the strategic 'planting' of two hegemonic metaphors, in the guise of 'Tigger' and 'Eeyore', two characters from the children's storybook Winnie the Pooh. This was done to pre-empt and avert resistance behaviour. An objective of this study was to explore this use of metaphors to coerce certain users into compliance with management aims in IS projects. Existing studies tend not to report upon management's explicit use of metaphor to control workforce behaviour in this manner. It could also be argued that this explicit use may have only been observed due to the rich insight of this longitudinal ethnographical study. Key features of the mechanism of metaphors 'working' in this case was the observation of a complex network of other underlying dominant metaphors in use in the organisation, enabling the submissive, unwavering, acceptance of the two hegemonic metaphors. A central contribution of this study is to highlight the power of mutually reinforcing metaphors when applied in a suitable context, so extending and reinforcing existing metaphor research within the IS field. XI

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Contributors: Light, B (Supervisor)
Schools: Schools > School of Computing, Science and Engineering
Schools > School of Computing, Science and Engineering > Salford Innovation Research Centre
Depositing User: Institutional Repository
Date Deposited: 03 Oct 2012 13:34
Last Modified: 04 Aug 2022 11:26

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