An Analysis of Use of Metaphors in Research

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s): 119
  • Published: November 26, 2008
Read full document
Text Preview
The Chimpanzees’ Tea Party: a new metaphor for project managers

An analysis of use of metaphors in research

Submitted by:
Ram Kumar Dhurkari (FPM/02/04/IT) Ankita Tandon (FPM/02/01/O) The use of metaphor in organizational research is to highlight features of a process by way of comparing and contrasting. The metaphor provides a method to analyze parallels between the metaphor and the organization, at the same time, throwing light on the differences by way of comparing the phenomenon using different metaphors. The metaphor allows the researcher to analyze the same incident from various paradigms. Additional information using various methods can be used to triangulate information and reach an understanding of the phenomena is question. Using the metaphor of the chimpanzees’ tea party, the authors give a different perspective of project management in the IT sector. The new metaphor correctly indicates that standard procedures and control may not always lead to desired results. It advocates providing a free hand to the team so that they can come up with innovative solutions for projects. The IT industry is change and innovation driven. This implies a flexible work environment to stay competitive. IT projects generally follow a set procedure which does not provide the scope of team members to innovate. This might lead to time delays, poor quality output as team members do not understand the rationale of the tools provided to them. The metaphor correctly emphasizes that the project manager should look into the context of the team members and provide them flexibility to design their work environment. The chaos in fact will have some order as the goal will be achieved much faster and in a cost effective way. So far as this is concerned the metaphor does a good job of providing a different perspective of project management. However this metaphor cannot be applied directly without looking into aspects that have been overlooked or misleading conclusions have been drawn: a. Chimpanzees have a tendency to go about playing with things, curiosity is natural and in the process of examination, they end up creating a mess. However, with training, they can be trained to behave in a manner which is unlike them but may suit the purpose of the zoo. Taking cue from the same metaphor, members of the project team may differ in their curiosity and innovation levels. Leaving them to their own whims and fancies might end up their wasting time or on the other hand, coming up with a better solution. They may need direction from the project manager, may need basic skill sets or some kind of training. However, training them to do things in a pre – prescribed manner may not be that useful if they do not see the use of it. They would then end up moving away from the goal which may require very different set of tools rather than that is provided. b. Humans and chimpanzees behave in different manners. Therefore the assumption of order in chaos may be misleading. c. The role of the keeper – the keeper has been shown as a cleaner who is standing to clean up the mess created by the chimpanzees. The project manager cannot be a person who is a side observer of processes. He needs to be actively involved in the dynamic process helping his team with insights and experience. d. The tea party is organized at zoos to attract kids and entertain them. From the point of view of the viewers, it is a chaotic funny situation. – these viewers are outsiders who have no idea about the context of the act. Thus they interpret it in their own way deeming the act as funny and chimpanzees as probably naughty and stupid. These people do not have a stake in the act, are not concerned with the outcome of the event, and thus would not react or try to control the activity. In contrast, in an organization, the activities of the project manager are...
tracking img