Interdisciplinary Dialogues on Organizational Paradox: Investigating Social Structures and Human Expression, Part B

ISBN: 978-1-80117-187-8, eISBN: 978-1-80117-186-1

ISSN: 0733-558X

Publication date: 8 July 2021


(2021), "Prelims", Bednarek, R., e Cunha, M.P., Schad, J. and Smith, W.K. (Ed.) Interdisciplinary Dialogues on Organizational Paradox: Investigating Social Structures and Human Expression, Part B (Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Vol. 73b), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. i-xxii.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021 Emerald Publishing Limited

Half Title Page


Series Page


Series Editor: Michael Lounsbury

Recent Volumes:

Volume 47: The Structuring of Work in Organizations
Volume 48A: How Institutions Matter!
Volume 48B: How Institutions Matter!
Volume 49: Multinational Corporations and Organization Theory: Post Millennium Perspectives
Volume 50: Emergence
Volume 51: Categories, Categorization and Categorizing: Category Studies in Sociology, Organizations and Strategy at the Crossroads
Volume 52: Justification, evaluation and critique in the study of organizations: contributions from French pragmatist sociology
Volume 53: Structure, content and meaning of organizational networks: extending network thinking
Volume 54A: Multimodality, Meaning, and Institutions
Volume 54B: Multimodality, Meaning, and Institutions
Volume 55: Social Movements, Stakeholders and Non-Market Strategy
Volume 56: Social Movements, Stakeholders and Non-Market Strategy
Volume 57: Toward Permeable Boundaries of Organizations?
Volume 58: Agents, Actors, Actorhood: Institutional Perspectives on the Nature of Agency, Action, and Authority
Volume 59: The Production of Managerial Knowledge and Organizational Theory: New Approaches to Writing, Producing and Consuming Theory
Volume 60: Race, Organizations, and the Organizing Process
Volume 61: Routine Dynamics in Action
Volume 62: Thinking Infrastructures
Volume 63: The Contested Moralities of Markets
Volume 64: Managing Inter-Organizational Collaborations: Process Views
Volume 65A: Microfoundations of Institutions
Volume 65B: Microfoundations of Institutions
Volume 66: Theorizing the Sharing Economy: Variety and Trajectories of New Forms of Organizing
Volume 67: Tensions and paradoxes in temporary organizing
Volume 68: Macro Foundations: Exploring the Situated Nature of Activity
Volume 69: Organizational Hybridity: Perspectives, Processes, Promises
Volume 70: On Practice and Institution: Theorizing the Interface
Volume 71: On Practice and Institution: New Empirical Directions
Volume 72: Organizational Imaginaries: Tempering Capitalism and Tending to Communities through Cooperatives and Collectivist Democracy

Editorial Page


Series Editor

Michael Lounsbury

Professor of Strategic Management & Organization

Canada Research Chair in Entrepreneurship & Innovation University of Alberta School of Business

RSO Advisory Board

  • Howard E. Aldrich, University of North Carolina, USA

  • Shaz Ansari, Cambridge University, UNITED KINGDOM

  • Silvia Dorado Banacloche, University of Massachusetts Boston, USA

  • Christine Beckman, University of Southern California, USA

  • Marya Besharov, Oxford University, UNITED KINGDOM

  • Eva Boxenbaum, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark

  • Ed Carberry, University of Massachusetts Boston, USA

  • Lisa Cohen, McGill University, CANADA

  • Jeannette Colyvas, Northwestern University, USA

  • Erica Coslor, University of Melbourne, AUSTRALIA

  • Gerald F. Davis, University of Michigan, USA

  • Rich Dejordy, California State University, USA

  • Rodolphe Durand, HEC Paris, FRANCE

  • Fabrizio Ferraro, IESE Business School, SPAIN

  • Peer Fiss, University of Southern California, USA

  • Mary Ann Glynn, Boston College, USA

  • Nina Granqvist, Aalto University School of Business, FINLAND

  • Royston Greenwood, University of Alberta, CANADA

  • Stine Grodal, Northeastern University, USA

  • Markus A. Hoellerer, University of New South Wales, AUSTRALIA

  • Ruthanne Huising, emlyon business school, FRANCE

  • Candace Jones, University of Edinburgh, UNITED KINGDOM

  • Sarah Kaplan, University of Toronto, CANADA

  • Brayden G. King, Northwestern University, USA

  • Matthew S. Kraatz, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA

  • Tom Lawrence, Oxford University, UNITED KINGDOM

  • Xiaowei Rose Luo, Insead, FRANCE

  • Johanna Mair, Hertie School, GERMANY

  • Christopher Marquis, Cornell University, USA

  • Renate Meyer, Vienna University, AUSTRIA

  • William Ocasio, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA

  • Nelson Phillips, Imperial College London, UNITED KINGDOM

  • Prateek Raj, Indian Institute of Management Bangalore, INDIA

  • Marc Schneiberg, Reed College, USA

  • Marc-David Seidel, University of British Columbia, CANADA

  • Paul Spee, University of Queensland, AUSTRALIA

  • Paul Tracey, Cambridge University, UNITED KINGDOM

  • Kerstin Sahlin, Uppsala University, SWEDEN

  • Sarah Soule, Stanford University, USA

  • Eero Vaara, University of Oxford, UNITED KINGDOM

  • Marc Ventresca, University of Oxford, UNITED KINGDOM

  • Maxim Voronov, York University, CANADA

  • Filippo Carlo Wezel USI Lugano, SWITZERLAND

  • Melissa Wooten, Rutgers University, USA

  • April Wright, University of Queensland, AUSTRALIA

  • Meng Zhao, Nanyang Business School & Renmin University, CHINA

  • Enying Zheng, Peking University, CHINA

  • Tammar B. Zilber, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, ISRAEL

Title Page





Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand


Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal


King’s College London, UK



University of Delaware, USA

United Kingdom – North America – Japan – India – Malaysia – China

Copyright Page

Emerald Publishing Limited

Howard House, Wagon Lane, Bingley BD16 1WA, UK

First edition 2021

Copyright © 2021 Emerald Publishing Limited

Reprints and permissions service


No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without either the prior written permission of the publisher or a licence permitting restricted copying issued in the UK by The Copyright Licensing Agency and in the USA by The Copyright Clearance Center. Any opinions expressed in the chapters are those of the authors. Whilst Emerald makes every effort to ensure the quality and accuracy of its content, Emerald makes no representation implied or otherwise, as to the chapters’ suitability and application and disclaims any warranties, express or implied, to their use.

British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data

A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library

ISBN: 978-1-80117-187-8 (Print)

ISBN: 978-1-80117-186-1 (Online)

ISBN: 978-1-80117-188-5 (Epub)

ISSN: 0733-558X (Series)


About the Editors ix
About the Contributors xi
List of Tables xv
List of Figures xvii
List of Contributors xix
Foreword xxi
Implementing Interdisciplinary Paradox Research
Rebecca Bednarek, Miguel Pina e Cunha, Jonathan Schad; and Wendy K. Smith 3
Logic(s) and Paradox
Marco Berti 27
The Generative Potential of Luhmann’s Theorizing for Paradox Research: Decision Paradox and Deparadoxization
David Seidl, Jane Lê and Paula Jarzabkowski 49
The Historical Embeddedness of Organizational Paradoxes: Risk-related Rituals and Realities in Emergency Management
Dean Pierides, Stewart Clegg and Miguel Pina e Cunha 65
Commentary: Paradoxes of Social Structure
Charles Hampden-Turner 87
The Organizational Paradox of Language
Joshua Keller and Ping Tian 101
Trying Not to Try: The Paradox of Intentionality in Jazz Improvisation and Its Implications for Organizational Scholarship
Colin M. Fisher, Ozumcan Demir-Caliskan, Mel Yingying Hua and Matthew A. Cronin 123
Spencer Brown’s paradox
Mike Zundel, Anders La Cour and Ghita Dragsdahl Lauritzen 139
Commentary: Paradox as Irony: Inspirations from Jazz, Linguistics, Mathematics, Poetry and Other Stories
Ann Langley 161
Conversations and Inspirations for Organizational Paradox Scholarship
Rebecca Bednarek, Marianne W. Lewis and Jonathan Schad 175
Index 201

About the Editors

Rebecca Bednarek is an Associate Professor at Victoria University of Wellington. She studies paradoxes and strategizing practices and has written extensively about qualitative methods. She has co-authored a research-monograph “Making a Market for Acts of God” published by Oxford University Press.

Miguel Pina e Cunha is the Fundação Amélia de Mello Professor of Leadership and Organization at Nova School of Business and Economics, Universidade Nova de Lisboa (Portugal). He studies organizational as process and paradox. He recently coauthored Elgar Introduction to Organizational Paradox Theory (Edward Elgar) and Paradoxes of Power and Leadership (Routledge).

Jonathan Schad is an Assistant Professor (‘Lecturer’) in Strategy and Organisation Theory at King’s College London, UK and an Academic Fellow of the University of Geneva, Switzerland. His research uses paradox theory to better understand the fundamental tensions contemporary organizations confront.

Wendy K. Smith is Professor and Deutsch Family Fellow at University of Delaware, USA. She explores how leaders navigate strategic paradoxes, such as tensions between exploration and exploitation or social missions and financial demands. Wendy co-edited the Oxford Handbook of Organizational Paradox. She is recognized by the Web of Science for being among the top 1% of most cited scholars in 2019 and 2020.

About the Contributors

Marco Berti is a Senior Lecturer in Management at UTS Business School, University of Technology Sydney. His research focuses on paradox and power, and has been published, among others, in Academy of Management Review, Academy of Management Learning and Education, Management Learning, Organization, and Journal of Management Inquiry.

Stewart Clegg, recently retired from the University of Stavanger Business School, Norway and Nova School of Business and Economics, and is recognized in several fields in the social sciences for his work in organization studies and on power. He is a Prolific Writer and Contributor to journals and has also produced a large number of books, gaining several awards of note.

Anders La Cour is an Associate Professor at the Department of Management, Politics and Philosophy, Copenhagen Business School. His work on paradoxes appears in journals like Acta Sociologica, Cybernetics & Human Knowing and Journal of Civil Society. Currently co-editing a special issue in Voluntas on paradoxes within the management of volunteers.

Matthew A. Cronin is an Associate Professor of Management at George Mason University. He received his PhD in organizational behavior from Carnegie Mellon University. His research seeks to understand how collaboration can help produce creative ideas, and what it takes to then bring these ideas to fruition.

Ozumcan Demir-Caliskan is a PhD Student at UCL School of Management. Her research focuses on how new technologies and new forms of organizing affect creative processes and the experience of creative workers. She received her Master of Science and Bachelor degrees in Industrial Design at Middle East Technical University.

Colin M. Fisher is an Associate Professor of Organizations and Innovation at UCL School of Management. He studies temporal dynamics in team leadership, helping, creativity, and improvisation. He received his PhD in organizational behavior from the Harvard University while moonlighting as a jazz trumpet player, most notably with Grammy-nominated Either/Orchestra.

Charles Hampden-Turner received his MBA and doctorate from Harvard and worked at Cambridge University for 18 years. In the United States, he won Guggenheim and Rockefeller Humanities Fellowships as well as The Douglas McGregor Memorial Award and was President of the Association for Humanistic Psychology. He authored Maps of the Mind and 21 other books.

Mel Yingying Hua is a PhD Student at UCL School of Management. Her research uses qualitative and quantitative methods to investigate how individuals and teams develop, evaluate, and execute their creative ideas. She received her Bachelor’s from the National University of Singapore and worked as a Journalist and Marketer in various start-ups.

Paula Jarzabkowski is a Professor of Strategic Management at Cass Business School, City, University of London and University of Queensland, Business School. Her research focuses on strategy-as-practice in pluralistic and paradoxical contexts, particularly how actor’s practices in such contexts shape wider market and society dynamics. Her central interest is using a practice lens to address the complex problems, or “grand challenges” affecting society, most recently in disaster risk financing.

Joshua Keller is an Associate Professor of Management at University of New South Wales Sydney. His research focuses on cultural and cognitive approaches to organizational and strategic paradoxes. His work has been published in multiple top-tier Organization Studies journals, including Academy of Management Journal, Organization Science, Organization Studies, Human Relations, and Organizational Behaviour and Human Decision Processes.

Ann Langley is an Honorary Professor at HEC Montréal. Until her retirement in August 2020, she was the Chair in Strategic Management in Pluralistic Settings. Her research deals with strategic processes and practices in complex organizations, and draws on qualitative process-based methods. She is Co-editor of Strategic Organization.

Ghita Dragsdahl Lauritzen is an Assistant Professor at the University of Copenhagen. Her research focuses on tensions and the transformation of boundaries in collaborative innovation. Her work on paradox has been published in journals, such as Research Policy, Systems Research and Behavioral Science, and the Journal of Product Innovation Management.

Jane Lê is the Chair of Strategic Management at the WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management. Her research focuses on how people in organizations experience and respond to strategic tension and complexity. Passionate about interpretive research, She has published in Academy of Management Journal, Organization Science, Organization Studies, Strategic Organization, among others, and is currently an Associate Editor at Organizational Research Methods.

Marianne W. Lewis is the Dean and a Professor of Management at the Lindner College of Business University of Cincinnati. Her research focuses on the nature and management of organizational paradoxes. She is among the world’s top 1% most-cited researchers (Web of Science).

Dean Pierides is a Lecturer in Business and Management at the University of Stirling, Scotland. He holds a BA from the University of Pennsylvania, and a DipEd, MEd, and PhD from the University of Melbourne. His research explores how organizations deal with uncertainty, focusing on government agencies responsible for emergencies.

David Seidl is a Professor of Organization and Management at the University of Zurich, Switzerland, and Research Associate at the Centre for Business Research, University of Cambridge, UK. His research interests include strategy-as-practice, routine dynamics, standardization, and philosophy of science.

Ping Tian is a Lecturer in Linguistics at the University of Sydney, Australia. Her research focuses on the application of linguistics and semiotic theory and analytical framework in various contexts, such as business communication. She has taught and published in the areas of multimodality, discourse analysis, media studies, and intercultural communication.

Mike Zundel is a Professor at the University of Liverpool Management School in the UK. His work draws on processual ideas in relation to learning, organizing, and strategy. He is particularly interested in the role of media and technology, and the development of ecological perspectives in the spirit of Gregory Bateson’s ‘pattern that connects’.

List of Tables

Introduction Table II. 1. Approaches for Implementing Interdisciplinary Paradox Research: Epistemology. 7
Table II. 2. Approaches for Implementing Interdisciplinary Paradox Research: Ontology. 11
Table II. 3. Approaches for Implementing Interdisciplinary Paradox Research: Methodology. 12
Chapter 1 Table 1.1 Different Understanding of Organizational Paradox. 37
Chapter 4 Table 4.1 Three Linguistic Paradoxes and Embedded Organizational Paradoxes. 106
Conclusion Table C.1. The Foundations and Futures of Phenomenon-driven Discovery Within Organizational Paradox Research. 178
Table C.2. Disciplinary Foundations: (1) Dialectics; (2) Psychology; (3) Other Disciplines Mentioned. 182
Table C.3. Eclecticism in Inspirations. 188
Table C.4. Inspirations from Within Organizational Theory. 189

List of Figures

Chapter 1 Fig. 1.1 A Map of the Relationship Between Logic and Paradox. 36
Chapter 3 Fig. 3.1 The Emergency Management Paradox. 74
Commentary 3 Fig. C3.1. Dynamic Equilibrium of Six Dimensions (Trompenaars & Hampden-Turner, 2020). 96
Chapter 6 Fig. 6.1. The Form. 142
Fig. 6.2. The Rule of Condensation. 143
Fig. 6.3. The Rule of Cancellation. 143
Fig. 6.4. Counting Wheels in a Tunnel. 144
Fig. 6.5. Re-entry into the Form. 144
Fig. 6.6. Re-entries in Organizations. 145

List of Contributors

Marco Berti University of Technology Sydney, Australia
Stewart Clegg University of Stavanger Business School, Norway and Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal
Anders La Cour Copenhagen Business School, Denmark
Matthew A. Cronin George Mason University, USA
Ozumcan Demir-Caliskan University College London, UK
Colin M. Fisher University College London, UK
Charles Hampden-Turner University of Cambridge, UK
Mel Yingying Hua University College London, UK
Paula Jarzabkowski City, University of London, UK
Joshua keller University of New South Wales, Australia
Ann Langley HEC Montréal, Canada
Ghita Dragsdahl Lauritzen University of Copenhagen, Denmark
Jane Lê WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management, Germany
Marianne W. Lewis University of Cincinnati, USA
Dean Pierides University of Stirling, UK
David Seidl University of Zurich, Switzerland
Ping Tian University of Sydney, Australia
Mike Zundel University of Liverpool, UK

Foreword: Research in the Sociology of Organizations

Research in the Sociology of Organizations (RSO) publishes cutting edge empirical research and theoretical papers that seek to enhance our understanding of organizations and organizing as pervasive and fundamental aspects of society and economy. We seek provocative papers that push the frontiers of current conversations, that help to revive old ones, or that incubate and develop new perspectives. Given its successes in this regard, RSO has become an impactful and indispensable fount of knowledge for scholars interested in organizational phenomena and theories. RSO is indexed and ranks highly in Scopus/SCImago as well as in the Academic Journal Guide published by the Chartered Association of Business schools.

As one of the most vibrant areas in the social sciences, the sociology of organizations engages a plurality of empirical and theoretical approaches to enhance our understanding of the varied imperatives and challenges that these organizations and their organizers face. Of course, there is a diversity of formal and informal organizations – from for-profit entities to non-profits, state and public agencies, social enterprises, communal forms of organizing, non-governmental associations, trade associations, publicly traded, family owned and managed, private firms – the list goes on! Organizations, moreover, can vary dramatically in size from small entrepreneurial ventures to large multi-national conglomerates to international governing bodies such as the United Nations.

Empirical topics addressed by Research in the Sociology of Organizations include: the formation, survival, and growth or organizations; collaboration and competition between organizations; the accumulation and management of resources and legitimacy; and how organizations or organizing efforts cope with a multitude of internal and external challenges and pressures. Particular interest is growing in the complexities of contemporary organizations as they cope with changing social expectations and as they seek to address societal problems related to corporate social responsibility, inequality, corruption and wrongdoing, and the challenge of new technologies. As a result, levels of analysis reach from the individual, to the organization, industry, community and field, and even the nation-state or world society. Much research is multi-level and embraces both qualitative and quantitative forms of data.

Diverse theory is employed or constructed to enhance our understanding of these topics. While anchored in the discipline of sociology and the field of management, Research in the Sociology of Organizations also welcomes theoretical engagement that draws on other disciplinary conversations – such as those in political science or economics, as well as work from diverse philosophical traditions. RSO scholarship has helped push forward a plethora theoretical conversations on institutions and institutional change, networks, practice, culture, power, inequality, social movements, categories, routines, organization design and change, configurational dynamics and many other topics.

Each volume of Research in the Sociology of Organizations tends to be thematically focused on a particular empirical phenomenon (e.g., creative industries, multinational corporations, entrepreneurship) or theoretical conversation (e.g., institutional logics, actors and agency, microfoundations). The series publishes papers by junior as well as leading international scholars, and embraces diversity on all dimensions. If you are scholar interested in organizations or organizing, I hope you find Research in the Sociology of Organizations to be an invaluable resource as you develop your work.

Professor Michael Lounsbury

Series Editor, Research in the Sociology of Organizations

Canada Research Chair in Entrepreneurship & Innovation

University of Alberta