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Contribution Details

Type Journal Article
Scope Discipline-based scholarship
Title From a label to a meta-theory of paradox: If we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change
Organization Unit
  • Jennifer Sparr
  • Ella Miron-Spektor
  • Marianne W Lewis
  • Wendy K Smith
Item Subtype Original Work
Refereed Yes
Status Published in final form
  • English
Journal Title Academy of Management Collections
Publisher Academy of Management
Geographical Reach international
Volume 1
Number 2
Page Range 16 - 34
Date 2022
Abstract Text Over the last 30 years, mounting insights into paradox have enabled a paradigm shift in organizational theory from linear, static, and rational toward more holistic, dynamic, and dualistic thinking. To gain insight into the nature and development of this scholarship, we curated articles from Academy of Management journals. We identified four approaches to paradox—as a label, a lens, a theory, and a metatheory. Pioneering and prototypical articles have illustrated how each approach expands our understanding of paradox, elucidating unresolved issues in and between established literatures. The collection displays both the progression of abstraction and complexity in paradox scholarship over time, and the recursive process accentuating the value of each approach and their interplay, thus offering three contributions. First, our delineation of these approaches demonstrates the development of paradox scholarship, helping scholars situate their own work in this expanding canon, while inviting new scholars to find their entry point to engage with paradox. Second, by tracking the journey from label to metatheory, we offer a model that may inform similar paths for other literatures. Third, the collection suggests that insights into paradox are fostering a paradigm shift from linear and binary toward dynamic and holistic ontologies in the organizational sciences.
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Digital Object Identifier 10.5465/AMC.2021.0006
Other Identification Number merlin-id:22997
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