The Historical Context: Contradictory Ideals of Management

  • Jan Heiberg Johansen


For 40 years researchers and managers have shaped paradox management as a theoretical and practical lens on organizations. It became a relevant perspective as other management approaches had difficulties accommodating increasing complexity.

This chapter will contextualize paradox management by looking at how five dominant management paradigms each try to answer complexity and identify different ways to create value. At the same time, the paradigms work as sources of contradictions in organization and management. They offer various ways to handle paradoxes. The chapter examines how the paradigms are deployed as responses to each other over the past 100 years and provides a historical explanation for the emergence of paradoxes in management.


Historical context of organizational paradoxes The paradigms of management Conflicting ideals of management Authority and autonomy Paradox theory is a corrective and a supplement to traditional organizational theory 


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jan Heiberg Johansen
    • 1
  1. 1.Independent ScholarCopenhagenDenmark

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