Metaphor and organizational conflict

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Yair Hamburger
Udi Yitzchayak
Cite this article:  Hamburger, Y., & Yitzchayak, U. (1998). Metaphor and organizational conflict. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 26(4), 383-398.


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Many people hold a metaphor that accurately describes their perception of the organization in which they work. The metaphor also determines the way people perceive, remember, and analyze information they receive. However, any single metaphor limits people’s perception by blocking and distorting the information encountered. Much of the conflict in the organization is caused by people holding different metaphors, oblivious to the fact that they behave in accordance with their metaphor. They are like people speaking in different languages, but totally unaware of their inability to communicate. This article tackles this problem and offers several suggestions on how to improve internal organization relationships using our current knowledge of metaphors. We believe that our ideas provide yet another perspective on the use of the metaphor for understanding organizational conflict. We believe it constitutes a significant addition to this fascinating field.
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