The Foundation: A New Perspective on Management in Complexity

  • Jan Heiberg Johansen


Forty years ago, the pioneers of paradox management initiated a series of events leading to the development of organizational paradoxes as a new perspective on organizations. It gradually changes management practice to see organizations through a paradox lens.

A number of theoretical positions emerge when investigating the early paradox literature. These positions on organizational paradox are generally united in the view that organizations are characterized by contradictions and paradoxes and that organizational actors discover paradoxes as cognitive and emotional tensions. They differ in their view on how contradictions are and throughout history have been embedded in organizations. The three areas, the emergence of the concept of paradox in organizational theory, the contradictions, and the tensions, form the chapter’s structure.


The foundation of organizational paradox theory The pioneers of paradox management Contradictions Tensions Paradoxes unite theory positions 


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Authors and Affiliations

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

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