The transforming nature of metaphors in group development: a study in group theory
Barrett, Frank J.
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It is proposed in this paper that members' creation of metaphors facilitates further expression and development of the group. Few methodologies for group inquiry help us in understanding the tacit awareness (Polanyi, 1959) of members as the group is in the process of interacting. One way of dis covering members' awareness is by paying attention to their language, specifically their creation of metaphors. We would like to put forth propositions concerning metaphor and group process that suggest how: (I ) paying attention to metaphors are indicators of a group's phase of development and can lead to a discovery of the tacit awareness of group members; (2/ metaphor facilitates learning and overcomes resistance to otherwise difficult subjects; (3) metaphor is generative and facilitates contact between group members and in this way supports the growth and development of the group; and (4) as individuals articulate metaphors to express their feelings and perceptions while attempting to understand their experience in the group, they are constructing their own social reality. Therefore, to look at the group's metaphor is to see the group development, to identify the social construction of reality in its nascent stages. To support these propositions, we will cite data from various laboratory group experiences.
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