Managing paradox: Blending East and West philosophies to unlock its advantages and opportunities

By Jean B. Leslie & Sophia Zhao
Center for Creative Leadership

Peter P. Li
Copenhagen Business School

Summary

This paper introduces readers to the idea that the best approaches to paradox may result from a blending of Eastern and Western philosophies. The polarity map and duality map are both thought provoking tools to help address complications in organizational life. Both approaches emphasize the why, what, and how to achieve an ultimate goal of paradox management. Notably, both maps serve another important purpose. Paradoxically, both the existence and the absence of conflict, as reflected in healthy and unhealthy tensions, can threaten the fulfillment of the desired outcome of paradox management. The positive and negative aspects of coexisting opposites presented in the maps are reminders to retain a “paradoxical lens.”

Citation

Leslie, J. B., Li, P. P., & Zhao, S. (2015). Managing paradox: Blending East and West philosophies to unlock its advantages and disadvantages [White paper]. Greensboro, NC: Center for Creative Leadership. https://doi.org/10.35613/ccl.2015.1009 

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