Publication details [#7613]

Mann, Thor. 2004. Developing another ear: Using organic metaphors to understand organizations. New Brunswick, N.J.. 110 pp.


This dissertation proposes that interpreting the metaphors that arise from a client during organizational diagnosis (Alderfer, 1980) provides another tool for examining unconscious and conscious, systemic organizational dynamics. Ethnographic research, including interviews and observations (Whyte, 1984), was conducted with a museum in a large northeastern city. The data were then analyzed using a method I call organic organizational metaphor analysis. Metaphors were chosen for analysis because they were non-literal, evocative language that occurred with some frequency in the organization. The metaphors were analyzed for their manifest and latent content using dictionaries, etymological dictionaries, and reference materials on history, fairy tales, and popular culture. Organic organizational metaphor analysis provided insights into the unconscious fantasies and emotional experiences of members at the lower end of the client hierarchy and shows promise as another tool for data analysis in organizational diagnosis. (Thor Mann)