The purpose of this paper is to examine how paradox emerges during a planned change initiative to improve and dramatically transform inter‐agency information sharing. Based on interviews with key decision makers, the authors interrogate the relationships among institutional contradictions, emergent dualities, the communicative management of related organizational stakeholder paradoxes, and the consequences of enacted solutions.
Interviews with government leaders serve as the data source. These decision makers are from justice agencies participating in planning an information‐sharing program to better protect citizens and their agencies' workforce.
The data suggests that Seo and Creed's institutional contradiction “isomorphism conflicting with divergent interests” gave rise to three interdependent dualities: stakeholder self‐interest/collective good, stakeholder inclusion/exclusion, and emergent stakeholder consensus/leader driven decision making. These dualities were implicated in the enactment of paradox and its management. No matter what strategy the managers used, the consequences themselves were paradoxical, rooted in the same dualities that were originally present.
The authors sought to trace the outcomes of how leaders managed the poles of dualities, and found evidence of unintended consequences that were intriguing in their own right and were linked to stakeholder considerations. The paper underscores the importance of communication in the representation of paradoxes and how they were managed, and the unintended consequences of the solutions.
Leaders' articulations of paradox can be tapped for improving change efforts.
Whereas, institutional contradictions have been examined in reference to emerging paradox, and while paradoxical solutions have been studied widely, little research has investigated how institutional contradictions become simultaneously embedded in the process and the outcomes of organizational change.
Stoltzfus, K., Stohl, C. and Seibold, D. (2011), "Managing organizational change: paradoxical problems, solutions, and consequences", Journal of Organizational Change Management, Vol. 24 No. 3, pp. 349-367. https://doi.org/10.1108/09534811111132749Download as .RIS
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited