Why have academic concerns and priorities within the old industrial relations paradigm seemingly wilted before the ideas of a new, more business oriented paradigm? I suggest that the answer lies partly in the relative appeal of their respective root metaphors. The metaphor of the old tends to be closed, static and pessimistic — industrial relations as trench war. The new offers a more hopeful, essentially American pioneering metaphor that conveys challenge and progress and makes a fetish of change. However, while I accept the inevitability of metaphorical devices in disseminating and even generating ideas in social science, the article warns against being seduced by the attractiveness of the metaphor rather than the robustness of the idea.
British Journal of Industrial Relations – Wiley
Published: Mar 1, 1990
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