Metaphorical Representations of the HR Consultant
Metaphors are among the most important means of constructing an organizational reality and, as such, are one of the foci of scientific research in the organizational arena. That this focal point has failed to develop more fully is probably due to the methodological difficulties involved in studying metaphors. Q methodology, with its fundamental accent on the scientific study of subjectivity, brings with it both an epistemic orientation and the technical means to tackle the problem. The present study adopts a Q-methodological frame in order to investigate common metaphors applied by human resources (HR) specialists to the HR consultants they work with. A qualitative wave identified 14 metaphors, with active meanings in seven areas of construction. From these, 57 statements were selected and sorted by 41 HR managers and general managers in top Romanian companies. Four factors emerged, covering rather unexpected constructions that, in some ways, diverge from the classical metaphors known to organizational consultants.