Quo vadis, paradox? Centripetal and centrifugal forces in theory development

Schad, J., Lewis, M. W. & Smith, W. K. (2018). Quo vadis, paradox? Centripetal and centrifugal forces in theory development. Strategic Organization, doi: 10.1177/1476127018786218

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Abstract

Organizations increasingly face contradictory goals, multiple stakeholder expectations, and pluralistic missions that surface and intensify competing demands. Paradox theory offers a lens to understand and engage these tensions. Yet as research adopting a paradox lens continues to grow, scholars warn that its success could advance a dominant logic, which will ultimately hinder conceptual development and result in its downfall. We suggest that scholars can avoid this denigration by embracing theory development’s driving forces—centripetal forces that define and buffer a conceptual core and centrifugal forces aimed at challenging the core and extending its boundaries. Although these forces’ directions diverge, we depict these dual forces as paradoxical—contradictory and fundamentally interdependent. That is, we explore paradoxical forces of theory development to understand the development of paradox theory. We offer means to use, balance, and leverage these insights to help surface the black boxes in paradox research.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: Schad, J., Lewis, M. W. & Smith, W. K. (2018). Quo vadis, paradox? Centripetal and centrifugal forces in theory development. Strategic Organization. © The Author(s) 2018. Reprinted by permission of SAGE Publications.
Publisher Keywords: Centrifugal forces, centripetal forces, paradox theory, theory development, strategy research
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
Departments: Cass Business School > Management
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/20098

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