Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 86, Issue 4, pp 473–484 | Cite as

Business is not a Game: The Metaphoric Fallacy



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.


ethical theories fallacies game metaphors language 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Metropolitan State College of DenverDenverU.S.A.

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