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Article
Publication date: 16 August 2021

Nobin Thomas, Rajesh Kaduba Mokale and Patturaja Selvaraj

Organizational scholars are intrigued about stakeholders who propose multiple and conflicting ideas about what is good for their organization. Such contradictions are…

Abstract

Purpose

Organizational scholars are intrigued about stakeholders who propose multiple and conflicting ideas about what is good for their organization. Such contradictions are called paradoxical tensions. Although researchers have singled these out for analysis, focusing only on individual tensions prevents scrutiny of multiple paradoxical tensions that simultaneously emerge and how effectively organizations can manage them. In complex environments – especially during an organizational restructuring – multiple and interrelated tensions occur. Therefore, the objective in this paper is to investigate how organizations create multiple paradoxical tensions and how the combined effect of such tensions can constrain organizations during restructuring. The authors thus aim to help managers think reflectively and to plan interventions to deal with issues arising from restructuring through the lens of paradox theory.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors adopted purposive sampling for an archival research-based case study of a major restructuring of a leading IT firm in India in the decade 2009–2019. This study focused on the types of paradoxes created and the response of the organization to these during the restructure. The authors identified key events using public documents and news reports from that decade. They drew on two sources of data: mainstream media coverage and third-party documents about the company. The latter included monographs and academic publications written by critics, business historians and design and management scholars.

Findings

The findings address the gaps in the literature about how reorganizing during a restructure shapes the contradictions that lead to tensions and coexisting conflicting dualities, creating paradoxes. This study provides the reader with deeper insights into belonging, organizing, learning and performing tensions – core to paradox theory – along with their short- and long-term implications for organizational restructuring. The study demonstrates organizational responses to paradox and its practical implications for managers. The paradoxical nature of cultural–structural tensions in Indian organizations continues to be researched but, by focusing on paradox theory, the authors have opened doors for future research.

Originality/value

Although there is no dispute that effective management of tensions can facilitate organizational performance, contradictory demands that lead to tensions have only intensified as organizational environments become more global, dynamic and competitive. Paradox theory is thus valuable for understanding tensions between equally valid principles, inferences and insights. Although this paper is based on a case study, the framework proposed here can form the basis for theoretical generalizability within certain limitations. Because organizations face similar paradoxical situations under competing demands during restructuring and because paradoxes are becoming increasingly prevalent in organizations, the authors expect their propositions to apply in other cases of restructuring. However, the authors would like to caution that the model developed here should be tested and refined in other contexts to more fully establish its validity and generalizability.

Details

Journal of Organizational Change Management, vol. 34 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0953-4814

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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.

Details

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

David Seidl, Jane Lê and Paula Jarzabkowski

This chapter introduces two core notions from Niklas Luhmann’s social systems theory to paradox studies. Specifically, it offers the notions of decision paradox and…

Abstract

This chapter introduces two core notions from Niklas Luhmann’s social systems theory to paradox studies. Specifically, it offers the notions of decision paradox and deparadoxization as potential generative theoretical devices for paradox scholars. Drawing on these devices, the paper shifts focus to the everyday and mundane nature of decision paradox and the important role of deparadoxization (i.e., generating latency) in working through paradox. This contribution comes at a critical juncture for paradox scholarship, which has begun to converge around core theories, by opening up additional and possibly alternative theoretical pathways for understanding paradox. These ideas respond to recent calls in the literature to widen our theoretical repertoire and align scholarship more closely with the rich, pluralistic traditions of paradox studies.

Details

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

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.

Details

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, 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.

Details

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: 26 November 2018

Janet Ann Nelson

Although managing global change is one of the key competencies demanded of global leaders, it is one of the most under-researched topics in the field (Lane, Spector…

Abstract

Although managing global change is one of the key competencies demanded of global leaders, it is one of the most under-researched topics in the field (Lane, Spector, Osland, & Taylor, 2014). This chapter shares findings from a recent qualitative study that examined how global business leaders navigate complex global changes. Data were collected from 23 global business executives working for 20 unique global enterprises, in 12 different functions, through a pre-interview participant qualifying profile, an in-depth semi-structured interview, and follow-up verification. Findings reveal that global business executives are contextual leaders who juggle both global task and global relationship complexities. The paradox is the process they employ to navigate continuous change, enabled by sensemaking. Finally, as agile learners, they prove that the global leadership capabilities required to navigate paradox can be learned.

Details

Advances in Global Leadership
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78754-297-6

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Book part
Publication date: 8 July 2021

Peter Ping Li

The author argues and explains that the indigenous Eastern epistemological frame of yin-yang balancing can be taken as a unique system of thinking toward a…

Abstract

The author argues and explains that the indigenous Eastern epistemological frame of yin-yang balancing can be taken as a unique system of thinking toward a meta-perspective. It is not only deeply rooted in the indigenous Eastern culture traditions, but also bears salient global implications, especially in the domain of paradox management. The purpose and contribution of this chapter are twofold: (1) to explain the unique and salient features of yin-yang balancing (the “either/and” system to reframe paradox into duality as partially conflicting and partially complementary, both spatially and temporarily) as compared with the Western logic systems (the “either/or” and “both/or” or “both/and” systems); and (2) to explore the global implications of the “either/and” system for future paradox research, including the three unique themes of overlap between opposites with the “seed” of one opposite inside the other; threshold from the contingent balance between partial separation and partial integration in line with specific contexts through three operating mechanisms, and knot for the special role of third-party to shift paradox from a dyadic level to a triadic and even a multiplex level.

Details

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 2010

Jason A. Wolf

All things change, nothing is extinguished…. There is nothing in the whole world which is permanent. Everything flows onward; all things are brought into being with a…

Abstract

All things change, nothing is extinguished…. There is nothing in the whole world which is permanent. Everything flows onward; all things are brought into being with a changing nature; the ages themselves glide by in constant movement. (Ovid)

Details

Research in Organizational Change and Development
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-85724-191-7

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Article
Publication date: 25 May 2021

Jakob Wirth, Christian Maier, Sven Laumer and Tim Weitzel

“Smart devices think you're “too lazy” to opt out of privacy defaults” was the headline of a recent news report indicating that individuals might be too lazy to stop…

Abstract

Purpose

“Smart devices think you're “too lazy” to opt out of privacy defaults” was the headline of a recent news report indicating that individuals might be too lazy to stop disclosing their private information and therefore to protect their information privacy. In current privacy research, privacy concerns and self-disclosure are central constructs regarding protecting privacy. One might assume that being concerned about protecting privacy would lead individuals to disclose less personal information. However, past research has shown that individuals continue to disclose personal information despite high privacy concerns, which is commonly referred to as the privacy paradox. This study introduces laziness as a personality trait in the privacy context, asking to what degree individual laziness influences privacy issues.

Design/methodology/approach

After conceptualizing, defining and operationalizing laziness, the authors analyzed information collected in a longitudinal empirical study and evaluated the results through structural equation modeling.

Findings

The findings show that the privacy paradox holds true, yet the level of laziness influences it. In particular, the privacy paradox applies to very lazy individuals but not to less lazy individuals.

Research limitations/implications

With these results one can better explain the privacy paradox and self-disclosure behavior.

Practical implications

The state might want to introduce laws that not only bring organizations to handle information in a private manner but also make it as easy as possible for individuals to protect their privacy.

Originality/value

Based on a literature review, a clear research gap has been identified, filled by this research study.

Details

Internet Research, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1066-2243

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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…

Abstract

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.

Details

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

Keywords

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