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Cognitive sculpting as a means of working with managers' metaphors

Sims, D. B. P. and Doyle, John R. 1995. Cognitive sculpting as a means of working with managers' metaphors. OMEGA -The International Journal of Management Science. 23 (2) , pp. 117-124. 10.1016/0305-0483(94)00066-J

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This paper presents a new technique for helping managers to talk through and develop their view of difficult and complex issues, which are given expression by arranging a collection of objects, some of them symbolically rich, in an arrangement or ‘sculpture’. At the same time, the managers describe develop the meanings being given to, and the relationships between, the objects. The technique is in the tradition of elicitation techniques, such as cognitive mapping, in that it encourages a person or a group to dialogue with a physical representation of their ideas. Meanings are not merely described but sometimes actively constructed or negotiated. Theoretically, the technique draws on recent work in cognitive psychology and linguistics on metaphors. The paper describes and evaluates our experience with using the technique in a variety of different circumstances, and argues that, more than two-dimensional techniques, cognitive sculpting offers the ‘requisite variety’ to capture and communicate the richness and metaphoric complexity of managers' views of their world.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
Uncontrolled Keywords: cognitive mapping; elicitation; group decision; modelling; subjectivity
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0305-0483
Last Modified: 05 Nov 2019 03:30

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