Organization Management Journal


This paper describes the use and implications of war and military metaphors shared by a top management team working in the defense industry. The team used war metaphors pervasively to make meaning of the ambiguity and uncertainty in its environment. Five categories of war metaphors and action verbs were found. Findings from this study suggest the team used metaphors to structure and communicate abstract ideas and experiences, highlight or hide aspects of the work environment, unite team members, lead their organization, and maintain their warlike culture. Further findings demonstrate how the team constructed and maintained metaphors individually, intersubjectively, unreflectively, and in ongoing dialogue. The implications of this study provide insights into how a top management team used metaphor to define its perception of itself and its environment and in so doing, to manage its relationships within that environment.