Paradox as invitation to act in problematic change situations

Beech, N., Burns, H., de Caestecker, L., MacIntosh, R. and MacLean, D. (2004) Paradox as invitation to act in problematic change situations. Human Relations, 57(10), pp. 1313-1332. (doi:10.1177/0018726704048357)

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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0018726704048357

Abstract

It has been argued that organizational life typically contains paradoxical situations such as efforts to manage change which nonetheless seem to reinforce inertia. Four logical options for coping with paradox have been explicated, three of which seek resolution and one of which ‘keeps the paradox open’. The purpose of this article is to explore the potential for managerial action where the paradox is held open through the use of theory on ‘serious playfulness’. Our argument is that paradoxes, as intrinsic features in organizational life, cannot always be resolved through cognitive processes. What may be possible, however, is that such paradoxes are transformed, or ‘moved on’ through action and as a result the overall change effort need not be stalled by the existence of embedded paradoxes.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:De Caestecker, Dr Linda and MacLean, Professor Donald and MacIntosh, Professor Robert
Authors: Beech, N., Burns, H., de Caestecker, L., MacIntosh, R., and MacLean, D.
Subjects:H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
College/School:College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Management
Journal Name:Human Relations
Publisher:SAGE
ISSN:0018-7267
ISSN (Online):1741-282X
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2004 SAGE Publications
First Published:First published in Human Relations 57(10):1313-1332
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.

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