Academy of Management Annual Meeting Proceedings includes abstracts of all papers and symposia presented at the annual conference, plus 6-page abridged versions of the “Best Papers” accepted for inclusion in the program (approximately 10%). Papers published in the Proceedings are abridged because presenting papers at their full length could preclude subsequent journal publication. Please contact the author(s) directly for the full papers.


Metaphors for Innovation: How Entrepreneurs Narrate Different Types of Innovation

    Published Online:https://doi.org/10.5465/AMBPP.2017.211

    While the connection between entrepreneurship and innovation is acknowledged in literature, limited effort has been devoted to the understanding of how entrepreneurs linguistically represent their endeavour in generating and implementing different types of innovation. This paper addresses this void by bringing metaphor analysis into the field of innovation and entrepreneurship. We argue that the sensemaking and sensegiving role of figurative language is important in describing the complexity and ambiguity that characterize the innovation process. This paper provides insights about how episodes of innovation are linguistically elaborated and transmitted through ex post narration. Adopting semi-structured interviews, we found that entrepreneurs highly rely on metaphors to explain events of innovation. Moreover, each type of innovation (product, marketing, process, organizational, and strategic) is simplified differently through the use of metaphorical language in an attempt to differentiate innovations and to provide a rational structure to events. This research advances the literature providing a conceptualization of the different meanings entrepreneurs ascribe to innovation and discusses practical implications on how entrepreneurs’ mental models can be analysed and interpreted for improving the innovation process.

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