Research Handbooks in Business and Management series
Edited by Helle Neergaard and Claire Leitch
Chapter 6: Metaphors in communication of scholarly work
Metaphors can be helpful in storying your research findings. Considering the amount of work that goes into collecting and analysing material in a study, it makes sense to spend some time reflecting on how to communicate effectively. Taking a pedagogical approach to communication by using metaphors can be an effective way to illustrate and contextualize what you have to say. People learn by metaphor because it allows them to apply familiar knowledge structures to new settings (Walsh 1995; Cardon et al. 2005). Metaphors facilitate understanding while they trigger new questions to be explored. What do metaphors such as villain and hero do for our understanding of a phenomenon? How do they shape our understanding of entrepreneurship in this case? What venues for research might appear in the wake of these metaphors, and what falls outside the spotlight of a metaphor? Questions like these send chills down the spine of many researchers. They appear to go against everything we were taught about significance, generalization and precision in method classes. Yet, in the same classes, there were few discussions about academic authorship and communication of research. This chapter is an attempt to provide input for those discussions by looking at metaphors in communication of scholarly work.
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