Moving beyond metaphor

Fuller, Ted and Moran, Paul (2000) Moving beyond metaphor. Emergence, 2 (1). pp. 50-71. ISSN 1521-3250

Full content URL:

Full text not available from this repository.

Item Type:Article
Item Status:Live Archive


The proposal that the metaphors associated with complexity theory can inform the business world is made by several
writers (Wheatley, 1992; Stacey, 1996; McMaster, 1996, Merry, 1995), but is open to critique that the metaphors are
not grounded in the field of study, but in other domains that may or may not be analogous. In previous articles, the authors (Fuller, 1998, 1999; Fuller and Moran, 1999) have illustrated the apparent analogies between complex adaptive systems and the world of small firms. However, because there is no grounding of these analogies in that domain, there is
no evidence that complexity theory has validity in describing or explaining empirical observation. For example, a new firm starting up may be associated with the metaphor of emergence, but whether theories of emergence as developed in thermodynamic systems have any analogous properties with a business start-up is problematic.
This article investigates how complexity theory can inform an understanding of small firms, which we posit as an example of socioeconomic systems, in a more rigorous and scientific way than metaphor. Our approach to this is to investigate the possibility of a methodology that is plausible in its relationship to small firms, and developed from the conceptions
and literature of complexity.

Keywords:Small enterprises, Small businesses, Complexity theory, Emergence
Subjects:N Business and Administrative studies > N100 Business studies
Divisions:Lincoln International Business School
ID Code:13118
Deposited On:24 Jan 2014 10:13

Repository Staff Only: item control page