A metaphorical analysis of client organisations and the briefing process
Green, S. D. (1996) A metaphorical analysis of client organisations and the briefing process. Construction Management and Economics, 14 (2). pp. 155-164. ISSN 1466-433X
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1080/014461996373593
This paper reviews and critiques the current practice of classifying building clients according to their 'type'. An alternative approach to understanding organisations is developed in accordance with the principles of naturalistic inquiry. It is contended that the complex pluralistic clients of the 1990s can only really be understood 'from the inside'. The concept of organisational metaphors is introduced as the basis for a more sophisticated way of thinking about organisations. The various strands of organisational theory are also analyzed in terms of their underlying metaphors. Different theories are seen to bring different insights. The implicit metaphors adopted by practitioners are held to be important in that they tend to dictate the adopted approach to client briefing. This contention is illustrated by analyzing three different characterisations of the briefing process in terms of their underlying metaphors. Finally, the discussion is placed in a contemporary UK context by comparing the dominant paradigm of practice during the 1980s to that of the 1990s.