How metaphorical framings build and undermine resilience during change: A longitudinal study of metaphors in team-driven planned organizational change

Shawna Malvini Redden, Lou Clark, Sarah J. Tracy, Michael S. Shafer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Change is a constant feature of organizing and one that requires resilience, or the ability to effectively face challenges. Although research demonstrates important findings about resilience during chaotic change like crises, less is known about resilience in mundane situations like planned change. This study explores team-driven planned organizational change, offering insights about how team members metaphorically frame change, analyzing how their framing fluctuates over time relative to perceptions of team success. Our three theoretical contributions extend theory about metaphors and organizational change, showing how negative framings of change are endemic to teams, regardless of perceived success; generate knowledge about resilience in organizing by showing how metaphors both build and undermine resilience; and extend applied theory about stakeholder participation in bureaucratic organizations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)501-525
Number of pages25
JournalCommunication Monographs
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study is funded under a cooperative agreement from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH/NIDA), with support from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the Bureau of Justice Assistance, US Department of Justice. We gratefully acknowledge the collaborative contributions by NIDA; the Coordinating Center, AMAR International, Inc.; and the Research Centers including: Arizona State University and Maricopa County Adult Probation (U01DA025307); University of Connecticut and the Connecticut Department of Correction (U01DA016194); University of Delaware and the New Jersey Department of Corrections (U01DA016230); Friends Research Institute and the Maryland Department of Public Safety Correctional Services? Division of Parole and Probation (U01DA025233); University of Kentucky and the Kentucky Department of Corrections (U01DA016205); National Development and Research Institutes, Inc. and the Colorado Department of Corrections (U01DA016200); University of Rhode Island, Rhode Island Hospital and the Rhode Island Department of Corrections (U01DA016191); Texas Christian University and the Illinois and Virginia Department of Corrections (U01DA016190); Temple University and the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (U01DA025284); and the University of California at Los Angeles and the Washington State Department of Corrections (U01DA016211). We wish to thank Dr Tamara Afifi for her support and insightful critiques during the review process, as well as the thoughtful critiques of three anonymous reviewers. Additionally, we thank Dr Kate Lockwood Harris for her helpful and encouraging feedback on earlier versions of this manuscript. The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors alone and no affiliated agencies.


  • Organizational change
  • framing
  • longitudinal research
  • metaphor analysis
  • resilience
  • stakeholder participation


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