The value of interdisciplinary research to advance paradox in organization theory

Rebecca Bednarek, Miguel Pina e Cunha, Jonathan Schad, Wendy K. Smith

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

7 Citations (Scopus)


Over the past decades, scholars advanced foundational insights about paradox in organization theory. In this double volume, we seek to expand upon these insights through interdisciplinary theorizing. We do so for two reasons. First, we think that now is a moment to build on those foundations toward richer, more complex insights by learning from disciplines outside of organization theory. Second, as our world increasingly faces grand challenges, scholars turn to paradox theory. Yet as the challenges become more complex, authors turn to other disciplines to ensure the requisite complexity of our own theories. To advance these goals, we invited scholars with knowledge in paradox theory to explore how these ideas could be expanded by outside disciplines. This provides a both/and opportunity for paradox theory: both learning from outside disciplines beyond existing boundaries and enriching our insights in organization scholarship. The result is an impressive collection of papers about paradox theory that draws from four outside realms – the realm of belief, the realm of physical systems, the realm of social structures, and the realm of expression. In this introduction, we expand on why paradox theory is ripe for interdisciplinary theorizing, explore the benefits of doing so, and introduce the papers in this double volume.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResearch in the sociology of organizations
PublisherEmerald Group Holdings Ltd.
Number of pages23
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Publication series

NameResearch in the Sociology of Organizations
ISSN (Print)0733-558X


  • Grand challenges
  • Interdisciplinary research
  • Organization theory
  • Paradox theory
  • Tensions
  • Theorizing


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