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Business Is Not a Game: The Metaphoric Fallacy

Maurice Hamington
Journal of Business Ethics
Vol. 86, No. 4 (Jun., 2009), pp. 473-484
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40295106
Page Count: 12
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Business Is Not a Game: The Metaphoric Fallacy
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Abstract

Sport and game metaphors are ubiquitous in the culture and language of business. As evocative linguistic devices, such metaphors are morally neutral; however, if they are indicative of a deep structure of understanding that filters experience, then they have the potential to be ethically problematic. This article argues that there exists a danger for those who forget or confuse metaphor with definition: the metaphoric fallacy. Accordingly, business is like a game, but it is not the equivalent of a game. If business is equated to a game, then the potentially negative implications for ethical content and the application of ethical theories are numerous. This article suggests a fresh approach to issues of contemporary business ethics discourse, by attending to the business-as-game metaphor.

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