It Was a War that Wore Out Both Men and Women: Metaphors in an Information System Project

Riitta Hekkala, Mari-Klara Stein, Matti Rossi

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    Abstract

    This study looks at metaphors from the perspective of cognitive metaphor theory. Using the theory developed by Lakoff and Johnson (1980) we examine the use of metaphors by project members in an information system (IS) project. The data was collected from 22 interviews. Interviews were conducted with a range of stakeholders, including representatives of users, software developers, experts and IT and service managers. The findings of this qualitative case study indicate that IS developers and experts use many kinds of metaphors to make sense of the IS project they work on. The findings also show that metaphor is pervasive in IS development work, not just in language but also in thought and
    action and various metaphors are used to make sense of the different phases of the project. It can be argued that the dominant metaphors of any given project will strongly affect the trajectory of the project. Thus the metaphors in use in a project should be a concern for project management and we suggest that emphasizing constructive metaphors could be beneficial for many projects.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationECIS 2014 Proceedings
    EditorsMichel Avital, Jan Marco Leimeister, Ulrike Schultze
    Number of pages13
    Place of PublicationAtlanta, GA
    PublisherAssociation for Information Systems. AIS Electronic Library (AISeL)
    Publication date2014
    Article numberPaper 1070
    ISBN (Print)9780991556700
    Publication statusPublished - 2014
    Event22nd European Conference on Information Systems, ECIS 2014: Digital Work, Digital Life - David Intercontinental Hotel, Tel Aviv, Israel
    Duration: 9 Jun 201411 Jun 2014
    Conference number: 22
    http://ecis2014.eu/

    Conference

    Conference22nd European Conference on Information Systems, ECIS 2014
    Number22
    LocationDavid Intercontinental Hotel
    CountryIsrael
    CityTel Aviv
    Period09/06/201411/06/2014
    Internet address
    SeriesProceedings of the European Conference on Information Systems
    ISSN0000-0034

    Cite this

    Hekkala, R., Stein, M-K., & Rossi, M. (2014). It Was a War that Wore Out Both Men and Women: Metaphors in an Information System Project. In M. Avital, J. M. Leimeister, & U. Schultze (Eds.), ECIS 2014 Proceedings [Paper 1070] Association for Information Systems. AIS Electronic Library (AISeL). Proceedings of the European Conference on Information Systems http://aisel.aisnet.org/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1070&context=ecis2014