The Metaphorical Implications of Data Warehousing

The Metaphorical Implications of Data Warehousing

Elizabeth J. Davidson
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-878289-64-3.ch011
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Metaphors have long pervaded the discourse around information technology (IT) design (Johnson, 1994), helping developers to conceptualize technological features and functions, to design human-computer interfaces (Rechtin, 1997; Golovchinsky and Chignell, 1997; Rauch, Leone, and Gillinhan, 1997), and to articulate application requirements (Boland and Greenburg, 1992; Davidson 1996a). Metaphors also play an important role in conveying what Swanson and Ramiller (1997) call the organizing vision for IT innovations. An organizing vision, which develops through the discourse of a community of technology producers, information systems (IS) professionals, business managers, and other stakeholders, provides an interpretation of the applications of an IT innovation and the rationale for its use. Buzzwords are labels or names that come to be identified with an organizing vision and “may serve as a potent metaphor” (Swanson and Ramiller, 1997, p. 463) for conceptualizing the roles, relationships, control mechanism, and work processes associated with the IT innovation.

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