Metaphors We Strategize By

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Metaphors We Strategize By

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Title: Metaphors We Strategize By
Author: Strand, Robert
Abstract: The metaphors of strategic management are predominantly rooted in competition in support of the objective to achieve a “competitive advantage.” Drawn from military, sport, and (oftentimes incomplete) interpretations of evolutionary biology, these metaphors imply that business is a zero-sum competitive game. Metaphors are not “just” words but, rather, they impact thoughts and actions. Hence the use of competitive metaphors encourages competitive behavior in business. We argue that this misdirects the purpose of business from being about value creation and, moreover, that value creation is most effectively achieved by approaching business as a fundamentally cooperative endeavor. Furthermore, these “survival of the fittest” sorts of metaphors inhibit considerations toward ethics, humanism, and sustainability. We call for a shift toward metaphors rooted in cooperation and as a means to do so we also call for a shift in focus from achieving “competitive advantage” toward achieving “cooperative advantage” as the objective of strategic management. We conclude by laying out some promising research avenues for further considerations.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10398/8880
Date: 2014-02-14

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