What happened to leadership communication? A literature review on leaders’ communication of paradox

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Paradox theory delivers a framework for managerial action that is robust and resilient yet accepting of vulnerability as a precondition for change and a sensemaking resource for dealing with change and complexity for managers as well as other organizational actors (Lüscher 2018; Schad et al., 2016; Smith and Lewis, 2011). Yet, the sensemaking and decision-making potential of paradox theory for assisting managers is contingent upon collaborations with relevant others. That is, responding to paradox can only be realized through communication about paradox between managers and significant others, i.e., stakeholders with whom the managers need to collaborate in order to purposefully enact the response to the paradox. We expand on paradox theory by drawing attention to leadership communication as an overlooked dimension of managerial attempts to navigate paradox with relevant others in and outside their organizations. To this end, the paper reviews the literature on responses to paradox in organizational and management studies, as research shows, that the ways in which organizational actors respond to - including communicate of - paradox shape the experience, impact, and dealings of paradox (Jarzabkowski et al., 2013; Lewis, 2000; Smith and Lewis, 2011).


  • Leadership communication
  • Leadership paradox
  • Organizational paradox
  • Paradox communication
  • Communicating paradox
  • Ledelseskommunikation
  • Paradokskommunikation
  • Paradoks teori
  • Paradoksledelse
  • Paradox Practice Track: Research-Practice Panel

    Rikke Kristine Nielsen (Paneldeltager), Danielle Bjerre Lyndgaard (Paneldeltager), Garima Sharma (Moderator), Michael Pingel Hansen (Paneldeltager), Natalie Slawinski (Paneldeltager) & Angela Greco (Moderator)

    18 mar. 2022

    Aktivitet: Foredrag og mundtlige bidragForedrag og præsentationer i privat eller offentlig virksomhed