Title page for ETD etd-06022008-115150

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Kakar, Akshi
URN etd-06022008-115150
Title Teaching analogies and metaphors to enhance communication in interdisciplinary and cross-functional groups
Degree Master of Science
Department Industrial and Systems Engineering
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Kleiner, Brian M. Committee Co-Chair
McNair, Elizabeth D. Committee Co-Chair
Smith-Jackson, Tonya L. Committee Member
  • , Human factors
  • Interdisciplinary groups
  • Pedagogy
  • Communication
  • Metaphor
Date of Defense 2008-04-17
Availability restricted
In interdisciplinary and cross-functional groups and teams, members pool diverse perspectives for the purposes of new product design and innovation, but these different perspectives may cause interruptions in effective communication. This study examines the use of analogies and metaphors as effective communication tools in interdisciplinary group settings.

Analogies and metaphors are an important aspect of our cognitive activities. Communication using analogies and metaphors plays an important role in constructing our knowledge structures. In this study, an instructional tool with group activities has been designed and tested to teach the effective use of analogies and metaphors in interdisciplinary and cross-functional group and team settings. The tool was designed using theories of pedagogy and includes activities for group members. The instructional tool was tested in interdisciplinary group settings. The results from a mixed methods analysis of data the collected are presented as contributions to the research in group communication and analogies and metaphors. The study also identified characteristics of effective analogies that may be used as potential communication tools in interactions between members from different disciplines and functions.

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