Exploring paradox: Toward a more comprehensive guide

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Abstract

“Paradox” appears increasingly in organization studies, often to describe conflicting demands, opposing perspectives, or seemingly illogical findings. This article helps researchers move beyond labeling—to explore paradoxes and contribute insights more in tune with organizational complexity and ambiguity. I first develop a framework that clarifies the nature of paradoxical tensions, reinforcing cycles, and their management. Using this framework, I then review studies in which paradoxes spurred by change and plurality are investigated. I conclude by outlining strategies for identifying and representing paradox, addressing implications for research.

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Authors

  • Marianne W. Lewis

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