Merging, masquerading and morphing: Metaphors and the World Wide Web

Zelinna Pablo, Cynthia Hardy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


We examine the role of metaphors in relation to Web-based phenomena through a comparative study of 29 Web portals, established under a World Bank project known as the Development Gateway. Our analysis suggests that three metaphors - expert, market and community - are particularly significant across these portals, either separately or in combination. The study indicates three particular ways in which these metaphors can combine - merging, masquerading and morphing. We conclude by discussing the implications of using metaphor to understand how practitioners design Web portals and how users engage with them.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)821-843
Number of pages23
JournalOrganization Studies
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Discourse
  • Internet
  • Metaphors
  • Websites


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