Imagined Worlds: the Role of Metaphors and Metaphorical Scenes in Sensemaking Accounts


Joep Cornelissen
  • Speaker
Rotterdam School of Management (RSM), Erasmus University Rotterdam

Event Information

Type
Research Seminar
Programme
Business-Society Management
Date
Wed. 26 Sep. 2007
Contact
Time
13:00-14:00 hours
E-mail
Location
Mandeville Building T7-67
Number


Abstract

This study develops the role played by metaphors in professionals’ sensemaking accounts of novel and complex events affecting their organizations. Using data from a sample of thirteen corporate communication professionals, I found that sensemaking accounts involve a specific form of metaphorical language whereby individual metaphors are combined together to form more specific metaphorical ‘scenes’ with actors carrying out certain activities, manipulating objects in a certain manner or moving in a certain direction, as if the event involved such physical acts and movements. The study also points to particular contextual conditions that influence the construction of sensemaking accounts: the magnitude of the perceived break between received cues and prior work experience, the conventionalization of metaphors in a particular professional community, and an individual’s view of his or her professional identity. 

 
Contact information:
Pursey Heugens
Email
Pursey Heugens
Professor of Organization Theory, Development, and Change, Scientific Director ERIM, Dean of Research RSM
  • Coordinator