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Book part
Publication date: 8 July 2021

Rebecca Bednarek, Marianne W. Lewis and Jonathan Schad

Early paradox research in organization theory contained a remarkable breadth of inspirations from outside disciplines. We wanted to know more about where early scholarship…

Abstract

Early paradox research in organization theory contained a remarkable breadth of inspirations from outside disciplines. We wanted to know more about where early scholarship found inspiration to create what has since become paradox theory. To shed light on this, we engaged seminal paradox scholars in conversations: asking about their past experiences drawing from outside disciplines and their views on the future of paradox theory. These conversations surfaced several themes of past and future inspirations: (1) understanding complex phenomena; (2) drawing from related disciplines; (3) combining interdisciplinary insights; and (4) bridging discourses in organization theory. We end the piece with suggestions for future paradox research inspired by these conversations.

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Interdisciplinary Dialogues on Organizational Paradox: Investigating Social Structures and Human Expression, Part B
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80117-187-8

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Book part
Publication date: 8 July 2021

Rebecca Bednarek, Miguel Pina e Cunha, Jonathan Schad and Wendy Smith

Over the past decades, scholars advanced foundational insights about paradox in organization theory. In this double volume, we seek to expand upon these insights through…

Abstract

Over the past decades, scholars advanced foundational insights about paradox in organization theory. In this double volume, we seek to expand upon these insights through interdisciplinary theorizing. We do so for two reasons. First, we think that now is a moment to build on those foundations toward richer, more complex insights by learning from disciplines outside of organization theory. Second, as our world increasingly faces grand challenges, scholars turn to paradox theory. Yet as the challenges become more complex, authors turn to other disciplines to ensure the requisite complexity of our own theories. To advance these goals, we invited scholars with knowledge in paradox theory to explore how these ideas could be expanded by outside disciplines. This provides a both/and opportunity for paradox theory: both learning from outside disciplines beyond existing boundaries and enriching our insights in organization scholarship. The result is an impressive collection of papers about paradox theory that draws from four outside realms – the realm of belief, the realm of physical systems, the realm of social structures, and the realm of expression. In this introduction, we expand on why paradox theory is ripe for interdisciplinary theorizing, explore the benefits of doing so, and introduce the papers in this double volume.

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Interdisciplinary Dialogues on Organizational Paradox: Learning from Belief and Science, Part A
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80117-184-7

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Article
Publication date: 17 August 2021

Diórgenes Falcão Mamédio, Miguel Pina e Cunha and Victor Meyer Jr

By exploring “what is strategic improvisation in organizations?” the authors respond to advances in strategic improvisation (SI) conceptualization with an emphasis on the…

Abstract

Purpose

By exploring “what is strategic improvisation in organizations?” the authors respond to advances in strategic improvisation (SI) conceptualization with an emphasis on the challenges of combining unplanned but deliberate responses to relentlessly changing environments, in which strategy becomes increasingly improvised.

Design/methodology/approach

An integrative review was conducted with the potential to develop new theoretical approaches to research problems. This literature review resulted in an introductory SI framework.

Findings

The authors propose a SI conceptual framework combining foundation, structuration and capillarization. While foundations comprise extemporaneity, novelty and intentionality, considered as triggers for the manifestation of SI, in this study structuration refers to the combination of a minimal structure and a reassessment process in response to unexpected situations. Capillarization means interaction patterns characterized as spontaneous, dynamic and collaborative. This framework leads to the definition of SI as an impromptu deliberate action stream, combining unplanned responses with intentional actions sustaining the convergence of strategy and operation, to integrate and reconfigure resources at the strategic level.

Practical implications

SI in practice considers reconfiguring the internal and external forces to deal with unexpected events and impromptu deliberate responses to face rapidly changing environments. This would enable practitioners and managers to prepare for eventualities that evolve dynamically and spontaneously, and unpredictable imminent global crises.

Originality/value

The authors conducted the first study mapping improvisation as a strategic organizational level phenomenon. SI is recognized as operating across levels, from the tactical and functional to the strategic.

Details

Cross Cultural & Strategic Management, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2059-5794

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Book part
Publication date: 8 July 2021

Rebecca Bednarek, Miguel Pina e Cunha, Jonathan Schad and Wendy K. Smith

Interdisciplinary research allows us to broaden our sights and expand our theories. Yet, such research surfaces a number of challenges. We highlight three issues …

Abstract

Interdisciplinary research allows us to broaden our sights and expand our theories. Yet, such research surfaces a number of challenges. We highlight three issues – superficiality, lack of focus, and consilience - and discuss how they can be addressed in interdisciplinary research. In particular, we focus on the implications for interdisciplinary work with paradox scholarship. We explore how these issues can be navigated as scholars bring together different epistemologies, ontologies and methodologies within interdisciplinary research, and illustrate our key points by drawing on extant work in paradox theory and on examples from this double volume. Our paper contributes to paradox scholarship, and to organizational theory more broadly, by offering practices about how to implement interdisciplinary research while also advancing our understanding about available research methods.

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Interdisciplinary Dialogues on Organizational Paradox: Investigating Social Structures and Human Expression, Part B
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80117-187-8

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Article
Publication date: 16 January 2020

Emanuel Gomes, Miguel Pina e Cunha, David B. Zoogah, Geoffrey Wood and Peter Ping Li

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Journal of Knowledge Management, vol. 24 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1367-3270

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Article
Publication date: 15 August 2016

Arménio Rego, Dálcio Reis Júnior, Miguel Pina e Cunha and Gabriel Stallbaum

The purpose of the paper is to test whether retail stores’ creativity predicts several indicators of performance through stores’ potency.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of the paper is to test whether retail stores’ creativity predicts several indicators of performance through stores’ potency.

Design/methodology/approach

A sample of 45 stores (n = 317 employees) of a Brazilian retail chain was included, and a group/store level of analysis was adopted. Performance was measured through objective measures. To reduce the risks of common method variance, group creativity and group potency were measured with data from different store members.

Findings

The findings show that store creativity predicts indicators of store performance through store potency.

Research limitations/implications

The study was carried out within a single organization, and the stores’ sample is small. Other causalities are plausible, and future studies should adopt a longitudinal design to test reciprocal effects between the variables of the study.

Practical implications

Cultivating creativity (via the selection of creative individuals and nurturing contextual conditions that encourage creativity) may have at least indirect effects on store performance.

Originality/value

While the few empirical studies relating group creativity (still an under-researched topic) and performance have mostly used subjective performance measures, this study uses objective measures.

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Management Research: Journal of the Iberoamerican Academy of Management, vol. 14 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1536-5433

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Article
Publication date: 4 March 2020

Victor Meyer Jr, Miguel Piña e Cunha, Diórgenes Falcão Mamédio and Danillo Prado Nogueira

The focus of this study was to analyze crisis management in a context of high-reliability organizations (HRO) evidenced in two cases of Brazilian air disasters. Aspects of…

Abstract

Purpose

The focus of this study was to analyze crisis management in a context of high-reliability organizations (HRO) evidenced in two cases of Brazilian air disasters. Aspects of human and technological natures were examined, addressing the complex sociotechnical system.

Design/methodology/approach

This in-depth case study addressed the two most serious air disasters on Brazilian territory. The first case involved a midair collision between Gol Flight 1907 and the Legacy jet. In the second case, TAM flight 3054 had difficulty braking when landing at the airport and crashed into a building. Data were collected from official disaster documents.

Findings

The results revealed that the management and operational activities aimed to maintain the necessary conditions that prioritize a high level of reliability. High reliability mainly involves concern over failure, reluctance to accept simplified interpretations, sensitivity to operations, commitment to resilience and detailed structure specifications.

Practical implications

The implications are based on alerting highly reliable organizations, emphasizing the focus on managing more reliably, resiliently and conscientiously. Changes will be required in the operations of organizations seeking to learn to manage unexpected events and respond quickly to continually improve the responsiveness of their services.

Originality/value

In the perspective of an intrinsic case study for crisis management in a context of HRO and disaster risk management, the originality of this study lies in its examination of the paradoxical nature of control within the systems of dangerous operations in complex organizations, as well as their contradictions in a high-reliability system.

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Disaster Prevention and Management: An International Journal, vol. 30 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0965-3562

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Article
Publication date: 22 March 2021

Miguel Pina e Cunha, Maria João Soares Leitão, Stewart Clegg, Remedios Hernández-Linares, Horia Moasa, Kathleen Randerson and Arménio Rego

The purpose of the study is to explore inductively the unique paradoxical tensions central to family business (FB) and to analyze how FB's members face these tensions and…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of the study is to explore inductively the unique paradoxical tensions central to family business (FB) and to analyze how FB's members face these tensions and their implications in the personal and professional realms.

Design/methodology/approach

A multiple-case study with 11 parent–offspring dyads from Portuguese FBs was conducted putting the focus on the micro-level interactions.

Findings

The slopes of roles and relationality in FBs produces three persistent sets of tensions around cognition, emotion and action. These tensions exist in a paradoxical state, containing potentiality for synergy or trade-off.

Originality/value

Our study is the first to empirically demonstrate that paradoxical tensions between parent and offspring are interrelated, by emphasizing the uniqueness of FB as a paradoxical setting and offering insights to negotiating of these singular paradoxes.

Details

Journal of Family Business Management, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2043-6238

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Article
Publication date: 1 July 2008

Ken Kamoche and Miguel Pina E. Cunha

The literature on knowledge management and organizational improvisation have emerged as important perspectives for organizing, while existing almost in parallel. Both have…

Abstract

The literature on knowledge management and organizational improvisation have emerged as important perspectives for organizing, while existing almost in parallel. Both have significant implications for, inter alia, innovation and creativity, adaptability, and management in turbulent times. Previous research has considered the role of improvisation in innovation. We build on this literature to examine the specific role of improvisation in knowledge creation. Our assessment of organizational improvisation indicates that it constitutes an important potential source of knowledge, thus opening up a new avenue for exploring the strategic as well as political significance of embedded, situated knowledge. We argue that the rapprochement of the two literatures brings about the notion of “improvisational knowledge”. We develop the significance of this form of knowledge, focusing in particular on the challenges of appreciating and appropriating it as opposed to seeking to codify it. We offer propositions and identify some avenues for further research.

Details

Management Research: Journal of the Iberoamerican Academy of Management, vol. 6 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1536-5433

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Article
Publication date: 9 April 2018

Miguel Pina e Cunha, Daniel Veiga Vieira, Arménio Rego and Stewart Clegg

The purpose of this paper is to ask why poor performance management practices persist in Portugal, in the middle of claims to increase productivity.

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5936

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to ask why poor performance management practices persist in Portugal, in the middle of claims to increase productivity.

Design/methodology/approach

An inductive micro-practice analysis is used to understand barriers to management practice that do not require massive institutional changes.

Findings

The practice of performance management in Portugal typically displays three weaknesses: (1) insufficient planning (2) process and integrity issues, and (3) a non-meritocratic logic.

Research limitations/implications

The paper discusses the important topic of persistence of bad practices, showing how institutionalized patterns might be difficult to eradicate even they are suboptimal.

Practical implications

The authors identity key issues in the functioning of performance management, therefore helping managers in developing remedies to improve the quality of their practice.

Originality/value

The paper explains the persistence of bad management practice whose continuity hinders not only organizations’ effectiveness but also that of their members.

Details

International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, vol. 67 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-0401

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