Organizational Paradoxes: When Opposites Cease To Be Opposites

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingChapter in an edited book (as author)Academic researchpeer-review

Abstract

As our world becomes more fast-paced, complex, ambiguous, uncertain and interconnected, multiple competing tensions and demands jockey for our attention in organizational life. How managers respond to these tensions is fundamental to an organization's fate. Psychologists have long advocated the cognitive nature of paradoxes and that they are cognitively and socially constructed. I advocate that Kelly's theory of personal constructs holds great promise in getting managers to think more deeply about how they think they construe the seemingly opposing tensions confronting their everyday strategic work. In contributing to the paradox literature, I argue that Kelly's bi-polarity of construing extends beyond (complex, not simple) "either/or" thinking to a much higher level "and/both" thinking where opposites cease to be opposites and that the poles of a construct are in fact complementarities. Using a pilot study with a senior executive, I demonstrate how a modified repertory grid technique captures paradoxical thinking.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Wiley Handbook of Personal Construct Psychology
PublisherJohn Wiley and Sons Ltd.
Pages306-319
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781118508275
ISBN (Print)9781118508312
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2015

Keywords

  • And/both thinking
  • Constructive alternativism
  • Dualism
  • Duality
  • Either/or thinking
  • Janusian thinking
  • Managerial tensions
  • Organizational paradoxes
  • Repertory grids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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