The Role of Figurative Language in Knowledge Management

The Role of Figurative Language in Knowledge Management

Magdalena Bielenia-Grajewska (University of Gdansk, Poland)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5888-2.ch464
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Background

Knowledge as such can be studied by taking different methodologies into account. One of the typologies of knowledge classification encompasses the division of knowledge according to the way it is created and perceived (e.g. explicit versus tacit knowledge). The difference between explicit and tacit knowledge is that explicit knowledge is easily processed, transferred and stored, whereas tacit knowledge (often not available in a written form, difficult to observe, recognize and categorize) requires conversion into words and numbers (Nonaka & Takeuchi, 1995). Thus, language is indispensable for the creation and application of tacit knowledge since the right choice of words may facilitate the comprehension of new concepts that, because of their unfixed nature, are difficult to perceive and disseminate (Bielenia-Grajewska, Carayannis, & Campbell, 2013b). In addition, language serves as a bridge between various spheres of life since it facilitates information flows taking place in various knowledge domains (Bielenia-Grajewska, 2012). Thus, properly selected linguistic tools may enhance the creation and understanding of novel data, also in cross-domain settings. Linguistic tools as such can be divided according to the classification of literal and non-literal language. Literal language encompasses all linguistic devices that provide direct, defined and precise meaning. On the other hand, non-literal (figurative) language does not offer univocal equivalents but relies on broader contexts and individual interpretations. Since metaphors belong to the most popular examples of figurative language, their role in KM requires a more detailed study.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Figurative Language: Language relying on linguistic tools having non-literal meaning, such as metaphors, similes, paradoxes, idioms, puns etc.

Pictorial Metaphor: A non-literal linguistic device using known domains to denote known or less known domains by applying pictures, drawings and other forms of pictorial representation; also called a visual metaphor.

Metaphor: A non-literal linguistic device using known domains to denote unknown or less known domains.

Verbal Metaphor: A non-literal linguistic device using known domains to denote known or less known domains by applying words or phrases.

Knowledge Management: Strategies and processes related to managing knowledge at different stages, such as creation, categorization and systematization, acquisition, application and sharing.

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