Shifting meanings : The role of metaphors in collective meaning–making in complex project leadership

Hatcher, Caroline A., Chang, Artemis, & Kim, Jai (2012) Shifting meanings : The role of metaphors in collective meaning–making in complex project leadership. In Management Research Revisited: Prospects for Theory and Practice (BAM 2012 ), Cardiff University.


This paper examines the use of metaphors in collective meaning-making in the work of managers and leaders of megaprojects, drawing on interviews with thirty-three leaders of complex projects in a case study organisation responsible for the delivery of major acquisitions. Recognising the notion of both contextualised and decontextualised approaches to either seeking to elicit or project metaphors, the paper describes the various ways in practising project leaders describe their work and the synergies these metaphors have with the broader social discourse and theorisation around complexity and the language of complex adaptive systems. The paper presents our case study findings where we outline our typology of meta-metaphors describing project leaders’ multiple roles and our interpretation of the significance of these choices.

Impact and interest:

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

Full-text downloads:

411 since deposited on 29 Oct 2012
36 in the past twelve months

Full-text downloads displays the total number of times this work’s files (e.g., a PDF) have been downloaded from QUT ePrints as well as the number of downloads in the previous 365 days. The count includes downloads for all files if a work has more than one.

ID Code: 54398
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT (150300) > Organisation and Management Theory (150310)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Deposited On: 29 Oct 2012 22:13
Last Modified: 08 Mar 2013 11:44

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page