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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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Book part
Publication date: 13 August 2018

Robert L. Dipboye

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The Emerald Review of Industrial and Organizational Psychology
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-786-9

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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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Book part
Publication date: 7 December 2020

Wendy K. Smith and Miguel Pina e Cunha

Scholars increasingly depict hybridity as pervasive across organizations. The authors offer insight about how paradox theory informs and expands this approach to…

Abstract

Scholars increasingly depict hybridity as pervasive across organizations. The authors offer insight about how paradox theory informs and expands this approach to hybridity. To do so, the authors do a deeper dive into paradox theory, comparing and contrasting a dynamic equilibrium approach with a permanent dialectics approach. Integrating these two approaches offers paradox theory insights that can enrich and expand hybridity scholarship. The authors offer suggestions for how paradox theory can help develop a future research agenda for organizational hybridity.

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Organizational Hybridity: Perspectives, Processes, Promises
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83909-355-5

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Book part
Publication date: 8 July 2021

Marco Berti

This chapter investigates the mutual relationship between logic and paradox, showing that paradox is indispensable to test logic, as well as logic is necessary to extend…

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This chapter investigates the mutual relationship between logic and paradox, showing that paradox is indispensable to test logic, as well as logic is necessary to extend our understanding of paradox. Firstly, I consider the lesson that organizational theory can draw from formal logic’s investigation of semantic and set-theoretic paradoxes. Subsequently, I survey the plural interpretations of the concept of “logic” in organizational theory (as logic of theory, logic of practice, and institutional logics). I argue that this plurality of meanings is not a source of confusion but offers an opportunity to illustrate different manifestations of, and ways to cope with, organizational paradoxes.

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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: 1 May 1989

Roger Cox

W H Smith is performing well, on the whole. Apparently the low average spend in the group is cushioning it against consumer downturn; conversely, sales at the Do‐It‐All…

Abstract

W H Smith is performing well, on the whole. Apparently the low average spend in the group is cushioning it against consumer downturn; conversely, sales at the Do‐It‐All DIY chain have been affected. W H Smith has also bought the prestigious Waterstones group of bookshops and plans to add to it Sherratt & Hughes. This will improve Smiths' share of the book market from about 17 to a massive 20 per cent. Also in this feature: Great Universal Stores and Boots.

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Retail and Distribution Management, vol. 17 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0307-2363

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Book part
Publication date: 8 July 2021

Joshua Keller and Ping Tian

The way organizational actors use language to think about and communicate their organizational experiences is central to how organizational actors enact organizational…

Abstract

The way organizational actors use language to think about and communicate their organizational experiences is central to how organizational actors enact organizational paradox. However, most inquiries into the role of language in the organizational paradox literature has focused on specific components of language (e.g., discourse), without attention to the complex, multi-level linguistic system that is interconnected to organizational processes. In this chapter, we expand our knowledge of the role of language by integrating paradox research with research from the linguistics discipline. We identify a series of linguistic tensions (i.e., generalizability-specificity, universalism-particularism, and explicitness-implicitness) that are nested within organizational paradoxes. In the process, we reveal how the organizing paradox of control and autonomy is interconnected to other paradoxes (i.e., performing, learning, and belonging) through the instantiation of linguistic paradoxes. We discuss the implications of our findings for research on paradox and language.

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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

Ali Aslan Gümüsay

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…

Abstract

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.

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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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Book part
Publication date: 8 July 2021

Medhanie Gaim and Stewart Clegg

That life is inundated with constant push–pull between contradictory demands is indisputable. Different traditions and worldviews inform individuals’ approaches to dealing…

Abstract

That life is inundated with constant push–pull between contradictory demands is indisputable. Different traditions and worldviews inform individuals’ approaches to dealing with the ensuing paradoxes. However, the literature has focused on Western and Eastern philosophies and traditions, while disregarding others such as the Afrocentric. In this chapter, the authors explore Ubuntu, an Afrocentric tradition, as an alternative philosophical underpinning that can inform the nature of paradoxes. Doing so enriches the understanding, problematizing and managing of paradoxes. Central to Ubuntu is otherness: the emphasis on the need of the other that implies focusing on the other; in doing so, the polarities of diverse needs are accommodated, striving for an ultimate goal of harmony. Moreover, the authors elaborate on the hybrid space where collapsing the East–West and the West and non-west dualism allow engagement with a multiplicity of worldviews. In so doing, the authors expand paradox theorizing beyond the orthodoxy of East and West antinomies and challenge the basic assumption in paradox management by asking the question: what if we start from others’ demands?

Details

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

Keywords

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