Managerial Dilemmas: Exploiting paradox for strategic leadership

Managerial Dilemmas: Exploiting paradox for strategic leadership
Managerial Dilemmas: Exploiting paradox for strategic leadership
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell | 2009 | 224 Pages | ISBN: 1405160276 | PDF | 12 MB

In the midst of the most severe recession for 80 years there is little need to argue that organizations are beset by dilemmas and paradoxes. Confidence in prevailing business models and in the underlying assumptions underpinning business decisions over manydecades has now been shaken. But it is not enough to rail against arrogance and greed. Within their own (flawed) assumptions bankers and corporate leaders were acting rationally.

 

A major reason for the failure to anticipate and warn is that observers of organizationsusually tend to view organizations in terms similar to those employed by the people who run them: as rational, sensible and objective, whereas, in fact, they are usually confused and confusing, paradoxical and contradictory entities. Paradox is at the heart of how organizations work (or don’t work) yet the phenomenon has been strangely unstudied. In an age of crisis and uncertainty, dilemmas and paradoxes are especially evident and prevalent. The fascination and the promise of paradox is that there is also a sense thatthere is a hidden truth entwined within the opposites. This we contend is a challenge for leaders. The ultimate responsibility of leadership is to make sense of these and to handle them in a competent manner. This demands a new mode of leadership. The management of dilemma and paradox it is contended, the essence of leadership today. Paradoxical forces provide a dynamism which, although often experienced as potentially threatening, discomforting and negative can also be exciting, promising and positive.

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