Persistence in paradox

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Many scholars accept persistence as a core characteristic of paradox, but why paradoxes persist is a question that has been left underexplored. The chapter first situates persistence in the conceptual evolution of paradox; second, it explores why persistence is inherent to paradox as a consequence of push-pulls between synergies and tradeoffs; and third, borrowing from Benson’s (1977) dialectical frame, it discusses how persistence operates. Overall, the chapter contributes to explaining why persistence, not resolution, is integral to a process view of paradox. To appreciate paradox is to assume that tradeoffs can become synergies and that synergies can untap tradeoffs, only before they rotate their order, in a circular movement with no end in sight. The appreciation of paradox entails an acquired taste for infinity.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPerspectives on process organization studies
Subtitle of host publicationDualities, dialectics, and paradoxes in organizational life
EditorsMoshe Farjoun, Wendy Smith, Ann Langley, Haridimos Tsoukas
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191866289
ISBN (Print)9780198827436
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • paradox
  • process
  • persistence
  • yin-yang
  • push-pull


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