Qualitative Research in Information Systems: References on Narrative and Metaphor
Michael D. Myers
This is a list of references on narrative and metaphor.
After a brief introduction which suggests those works which
are essential reading for newcomers to the field, the list
is organized into two parts: the first part lists citations related to
the approach in Information Systems, the second
lists citations related to the approach in other disciplines. You can use the Edit Find command to look for a specific
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There is a wealth of material on narrative and metaphor
in other disciplines. Literary theorists, philosophers,
historians, theologians, anthropologists, sociologists,
psychologists and others have written extensively in this
A good introduction to the use of metaphor in
organizational theory is Morgan's
Polkinghorne's (1988) book on narrative has been
extremely influential in the social sciences. In
Information Systems, a good place to start would be the
Hirschheim and Newman (1991).
In addition to the citations listed below,
Narrative Psychology has an extensive annotated
bibliography on narrative psychology and related areas,
Sage Publications has
published a number of books in a series entitled "The
Narrative Study of Lives," and
Narrative Inquiry is a serial devoted primarily to the
Citations in Information Systems
Avison, D.E. and Myers, M.D. "Information Systems and
Anthropology: An Anthropological Perspective on IT and
Organizational Culture," Information Technology &
People, (8:3), 1995, pp. 43-56.
Beath, C.M. and Orlikowski, W.J. "The Contradictory
Structure of Systems Development Methodologies:
Deconstructing the IS-User Relationship in Information
Engineering," Information Systems Research (5:4),
December 1994, pp. 350-377.
Boland, R.J. and Greenberg, R.H. "Metaphorical
structuring of organizational ambiguity," in L.R. Pondy,
R.J. Boland and H. Thomas (eds), Managing Ambiguity
and Change, Chilchester, Wiley, 1988, pp. 17-36.
Boland, R.J., Jr. "Metaphorical Traps in Developing
Information Systems for Human Progress," in Systems
Development for Human Progress, H.K. Klein and K.
Kumar (eds.)., North Holland, New York, NY 1989, pp. 279-
Boland, R. and Schultz, U. "From Work to Activity:
Technology and the Narrative of Progress," in Orlikowski
et al. (eds), Information Technology and Changes in
Organizational Work, London: Chapman and Hall, 1995,
Davidson, E.J. "Examining Project History Narratives:
An Analytic Approach," in Information Systems and
Qualitative Research, A.S. Lee, J. Liebenau and J.I.
DeGross (eds.), Chapman and Hall, London, 1997, pp.
Heiskanen, A. "Organizational Metaphors and Information
Systems Practice: A Case Example of Implementation
Strategy Formation," in Human, Organizational, and
Social Dimensions of Information Systems Development,
D. Avison, J.E. Kendall and J.I. DeGross (eds.).,
North-Holland, New York, 1993, pp. 399-417.
R. and Newman, M. "Symbolism and Information Systems
Development: Myth, Metaphor and Magic," Information
Systems Research (2:1), March 1991, pp. 29-62.
Kendall, J.E. and Kendall, K.E. Metaphors and their
Meaning for Information Systems Development," European
Journal of Information Systems, Vol. 3, No. 1, 1994,
Kendall, J.E. and Kendall, K.E. "Metaphors and
Methodologies: Living Beyond the Systems Machine," MIS
Quarterly, Vol. 17, No.2, 1993, pp. 37-47.
Lanzara, G.F. "The Design Process: Frames, Metaphors,
and Games," in Systems Design For, With and By the
Users, U. Briefs, C. Ciborra, and L. Schneider (eds.),
North Holland Publishing Company, New York, NY, 1983, pp.
Madsen, K.H. "Breakthough by Breakdown: Metaphors and
Structured Domains," in Systems Development for Human
Progress, H.K. Klein and K. Kumar (eds.), North
Holland, New York, NY, 1989, pp. 41-53.
Myers, M.D. "A disaster for everyone to see: an
interpretive analysis of a failed IS project,"
Accounting, Management and Information Technologies
(4:4), 1994a, pp. 185-201.
Ramiller, N.C. "Airline magazine syndrome: Reading a
myth of mis-management," Information Technology &
People (14:3), 2001, pp. 287-303.
Ramiller, N.C. "The 'textual attitude' and new
technology," Information & Organization (11), 2001,
Walsham, G. "Organizational Metaphors and Information
Systems Research," European Journal of Information
Systems (1:2), 1991, pp. 83-94.
Citations in Other Disciplines
Boje, D. M. "The storytelling organization: A study of
story performance in an office-supply firm,"
Administrative Science Quarterly, 36, 1991, pp.
Boyce, M. E. "Organizational
Story and Storytelling: A Critical Review,"
Journal of Organizational Change Management (9:5),
Abstract: The stories told in organizations
offer researchers and OD practitioners a natural entry
point to understanding and intervening in the culture(s)
of an organization. Informed by perspectives of social
constructivism, organizational symbolism, and critical
theory, key studies of organizational story and
storytelling are examined, multidisciplinary foundations
are identified, and challenges to the application of
story work in organizations are presented.
Bruner, J. S. Actual minds, possible worlds.
Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1986.
Bruner, J. S. Acts of meaning. Cambridge, MA:
Harvard University Press, 1990
Bruner, J. S. "The narrative construction of reality,"
Critical Inquiry, 18, 1991, pp. 1-21.
Clancy, J.J. The Invisible Powers: The Language of
Business, Lexington Books, Lexington, MA, 1989.
Clifford, J. The Predicament of Culture:
Twentieth-Century Ethnography, Literature and Art.
Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1988.
Clifford, J. and Marcus, G.E. Writing Culture: The
Poetics and Politics of Ethnography. Berkeley, CA:
University of California Press, 1986.
Cohen, A.P. The Symbolic Construction of Community.
Ellis Horwood, London, 1985.
Dyer, W.G. Jr. and Wilkins, A.L. "Better Stories, Not
Better Constructs, to Generate Better Theory: A Rejoinder
to Eisenhardt," Academy of Management Review
(16:3), 1991, pp. 613-619.
Geertz, C. The Interpretation of Cultures, Basic
Books, New York, 1973.
Howard, G. S. "Culture tales: A narrative approach to
thinking, cross-cultural psychology, and psychotherapy,"
American Psychologist, 46, 1991, pp. 187-197.
Lakoff, G. and Johnson, M. Metaphors We Live By.
The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL, 1980.
Lévi-Strauss, C. Savage mind. Chicago, IL:
University of Chicago Press, 1968.
Manning, P.K. and Cullum-Swan, B. "Narrative, Content
and Semiotic Analysis," in Handbook of Qualitative
Research, Denzin, N.K. and Lincoln, Y.S. (eds.).
Sage, Thousand Oaks, 1994, pp. 463-478.
This article discusses various forms of textual
analysis, including narrative analysis, content
analysis, and discourse analysis.
Mitchell, W. J. T. (Ed.). On narrative.
Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981.
Morgan, G. Images and
Organizations, Sage Publications, Beverley Hills,
Polkinghorne, D. E.
Narrative knowing and the human sciences. Albany,
NY: State of New York University Press, 1988.
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