The Paradox Types: Tensions in Organizing, Performance, Belonging, and Learning

  • Jan Heiberg Johansen


This chapter will specify a typology of organizational paradoxes that may arise in the organization. Paradoxes are manifestations of embedded contradictions and they have the potential both to destruct and support the creation of value. They comprise organizing, performance, belonging, and learning paradoxes, and they are often experienced as knots of opposites. The chapter is structured around the four paradox types.

Paradoxes consist of conflicting and interdependent opposites in the organization. These are the types or clusters of paradoxes that have been evidenced in the thousands of organizations investigated in the paradox literature. They are sometimes labeled with different names and some studies find only some of them. The most common names are used here.


The paradox typology Tensions in organizing performance belonging and learning Paradoxes produce devastating and constructive outcomes 


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

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

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