Operations Management and Supply Chain Management (OM/SCM), as a discipline, can benefit from proper theorizing to address persistent urgings for better and new theories. This paper hopes to inspire more theorizing engagements through the formal process of metaphorical transfer. Metaphorical transfer transforms casually-invoked metaphors in everyday language into theory-constitutive metaphors. This transformation process first mandates theorizing to ensure equivalence between the domain of the metaphor and that of a target phenomenon or research problem of interest. Second, theorizing during metaphorical transfer occurs when abstracted insights intended to govern both the metaphor and target phenomenon materialize. Finally, metaphorical transfer supports borrowing of theories from outside of OM/SCM for testing within OM/SCM by safeguarding against common mistakes. This paper demonstrates metaphorical transfer via the example of divorce and strategic buyer-supplier relationship dissolution and concludes by highlighting other metaphors that may be invoked for a number of exemplary supply chain relationship phenomena.
- Metaphorical transfer
- Strategic buyer-supplier relationship dissolution