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On the metaphorical nature of intellectual capital: A textual analysis

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On the metaphorical nature of intellectual capital: A textual analysis

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Samenvatting

Metaphors are at the basis of our understanding of reality. Using the theory of metaphor developed by Lakoff and Johnson (1980, 1999) this paper analyses common metaphors used in the intellectual capital and knowledge management literatures. An analysis of key works by Davenport & Prusak (2000), Nonaka & Takeuchi (1995), and Stewart (1991) suggests that at least 95 percent of all statements about either knowledge or intellectual capital are based on metaphors. The paper analyses the two metaphors that form the basis for the concept of intellectual capital: ‘Knowledge as a Resource’ and ‘Knowledge as Capital’,
both of which derive their foundations from the industrial age. The paper goes into some of the implications of these findings for the theory and practice of intellectual capital. Common metaphors used in conceptualising abstract phenomena in traditional management practices unconsciously reinforce the established social order. The paper concludes by asking whether we need new metaphors to better understand the mechanisms of the knowledge economy, hence allowing us to potentially change some of the more negative structural features of contemporary society.

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OrganisatieHogeschool Inholland
LectoraatIntellectual Capital
Gepubliceerd inJournal of Intellectual Capital Special issue: ‘Becoming Critical’ 6(4), 2005
Datum2005-07-07
TypeArtikel
ISSN1469-1930
TaalEngels

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