One of the things that I gave short shrift to in my talk at All Things Open was the idea of metaphors and how they relate to culture. Well, there were a few things I had to cut shorter than I’d like, but I’ve had a few chats about metaphors and language since then and decided to get something written up.
Metaphors, as direct comparison and symbolic representation, have a strong effect on the way we perceive objects and actions. Metaphors may be the only way we come to shared understandings on non-tangible cultural precepts like emotions or morals. The choices of our metaphors show us what is valued in an organization’s culture. Now, I’m not talking about “her eyes shone like the diamonds” or “you’re cold as ice” style of metaphor. So what sorts of metaphors are we talking about here? Continue reading The metaphorical compass