To provide a descriptive case study showing how the construction of drawings as visual metaphors can help work groups “give voice” to their emotional reactions to organizational change events, and provide groups with a vehicle for interpreting and framing their experience of organizational change.
A seven‐person focus was asked to construct a drawing that would serve as a visual metaphor for conveying the group's reaction to ongoing organizational changes within their company. Following this construction, the group engaged in a self‐interpretation of their metaphor.
The work group's feelings regarding organizational change were encapsulated in visual metaphor of “dark tower”; a metaphor of which revealed that team members shared several strong, negative emotions regarding the organizational change event. A review of how the group's changes in metaphor construction evolved over three successive drawings showed how certain elements of the metaphor came to play a central role in the team's emotional expression of organizational change events.
This case study did not attempt to provide a comparative review of metaphor constructions across work groups, nor did it include the use of other research methods, such as structured interviews, to confirm these findings.
This study illustrates how the construction of visual metaphors can be used to help researchers gain a more in‐depth understanding of the subjective, felt experience of groups during organizational change events.
The group's reflections on how their successive drawings changed over the course of the construction of their metaphor sheds light on how “visual narratives” take form over time.
Barner, R. (2008), "The dark tower: Using visual metaphors to facilitate emotional expression during organizational change", Journal of Organizational Change Management, Vol. 21 No. 1, pp. 120-137. https://doi.org/10.1108/09534810810847075Download as .RIS
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