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Managing strategic paradoxes: the influence of demographic characteristics of decision-makers

Aldona Glińska-Neweś (Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, Toruń, Poland)
Iwona Escher (Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, Toruń, Poland)
Barbara Józefowicz (Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, Toruń, Poland)
Alicja Łuka (Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, Toruń, Poland)

Journal of Organizational Change Management

ISSN: 0953-4814

Article publication date: 8 June 2020

Issue publication date: 21 November 2020




Together with increasing ambiguity and frequency of changes, management becomes full of seemingly conflicting choices, i.e. paradoxes, coming up in the process of decision-making. Successful management of paradoxes, i.e. treating them as “both/and” constructs leads to innovative solutions and better overall organizational performance. In response to a significant research gap regarding antecedents of managing paradoxes, the aim of the paper is to investigate how individual characteristics of strategic decision-makers, specifically their age, tenure and educational background, affect the ability to combine contradictions in their strategic choices.


An empirical study was conducted among 201 managers representing furniture companies in Poland. The CATI technique with an interview questionnaire was adopted in order to identify respondents' opinions on the main features, traits and dimensions of the strategy implemented in their companies. Participants' tenure, age and education were measured by single items.


The study suggests that the ability to manage paradoxes increases with age and tenure in a company and at a current position. At the same time economic/business educational background appears to be unsupportive in this regard.


While the issue of managing paradoxes energizes researchers in various disciplines, we still do not know much about antecedents of the process. The study shed light on effects that managers' demographics have on their ability of managing paradoxes. It contributes to the theory on strategic paradoxes as well as theory on the influence of decision-makers' individual characteristics on their decisions.



The project was funded by the National Science Centre, Poland, on the decision number NCN 2016/23/B/HS4/00861.


Glińska-Neweś, A., Escher, I., Józefowicz, B. and Łuka, A. (2020), "Managing strategic paradoxes: the influence of demographic characteristics of decision-makers", Journal of Organizational Change Management, Vol. 33 No. 5, pp. 835-858.



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