AOM 2021 - Paradox and Well-being: A Multilevel Perspective on Cognitive and Emotional Responses to Paradoxes


Organizational life has always been rife with tensions. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic accentuated the experience of tensions in a wide array of domains for employees and their managers across the globe (Pradies, et al., 2021). How can employees and managers cope with such tensions of enabling productivity while maintaining well-being? The growing literature on the micro-foundation of paradox offers a useful framework for understanding how organizations navigate complex situations and their associated tensions (Waldman et al., 2019). In the past few decades, scholars provided important insights on how individuals and teams navigate paradoxes in complex situations across a variety of domains, including leadership (Zhang et al., 2015), creativity (Miron-Spektor et al., 2011), identity (Kreiner et al., 2015), teams (Gebert et al., 2010), and corporate sustainability (Hahn et al., 2014). 

In this symposium, we will discuss new research on the micro-foundations of paradox, which is particularly relevant to the challenges managers currently face. The five papers comprising the symposium expand our understanding of the ways that individuals and managers engage competing demands in three specific areas: 1) emotional and cognitive aspects of coping with tensions and the extent to which they vary across contexts and cultures; 2) the effect of paradoxical leadership and framing on the ability of teams to manage interpersonal tensions to enhance creativity and performance, and 3) the interrelatedness of different tensions and how coping mechanisms for one tension can have unintended outcomes for related tensions.

Organized by:

  • Katrin Heucher, University of Michigan
  • Angela Greco, University of Groningen
  • Ella Miron-Spektor, INSEAD
Dr. Katrin Heucher
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