This chapter engages with both religion and paradox in leadership and organization research by focusing on three sources of paradoxical tensions and how they are shaped by religion: worldly limits, diverse interpretations, and emerging relationships. First, regarding worldly limits, religion is predicated on an additional “very macro” level of reality, transcendence. This belief offers a distinct way of engaging with paradoxes as it extends the worldly realm’s boundaries. Second, contradictory interpretations of religions may rise, even among members of the same faith, leading to new cognitive paradoxes. Dynamizing boundaries between contradictory elements may allow organizations to maintain unity in a diversity of interpretations. Third, concerning emerging relationships, religions are global phenomena that are experienced side by side in multiple societal terrains. They cut across diverse social systems and give rise to novel relationships. This creates new tensions and paradoxical encounters, as religions traverse borders and boundaries and encounter existing social beliefs, structures, and practices. The expansion, dynamization, and shifting of boundaries then shapes persistent contradictions among interdependent elements. Our field should appreciate and embrace conflicting mysteries and paradoxes across boundaries. We may only need some faith.
I am thankful for the intriguing and insightful conversations related to earlier versions of this chapter with Talal Al-Azem, Laure Cabantous, Burkhard Conrad, Douglas Creed, Bruno Dyck, Roger Friedland, Paolo Quattrone, Tubanur Yesilhark Ozkan, and Timothy Winter, as well as with participants at the European Theory Development Workshop 2019 and the European Group for Organizational Studies Colloquium 2019. I would also like to thank the editorial team of this special issue, in particular Miguel Pina e Cunha and Jonathan Schad for their reviews and comments.
Gümüsay, A.A. (2021), "Crossing Boundaries: Connecting Religion and Paradox for Leadership and Organization Research", Bednarek, R., e Cunha, M.P., Schad, J. and Smith, W.K. (Ed.) Interdisciplinary Dialogues on Organizational Paradox: Learning from Belief and Science, Part A (Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Vol. 73a), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 95-112. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0733-558X2021000073a007
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