Abstract

A paradox is defined as “contradictory yet interrelated elements that exist simultaneously and persist over time” (Smith and Lewis, 2011, p. 382). As such, paradoxes can only be managed, not solved. Decision-makers understand and work within the boundaries of this assumption every day. Family firm leaders are faced with additional paradox-rooted dilemmas. For example, paradoxes manifest as tensions stemming from often conflicting inter-generational perspectives, related to, for example tradition versus change. These tensions have been found to both frustrate and fuel innovative behavior in family firms. The growing body of literature on organizational paradoxes reiterates these findings, suggesting potentially powerful relationships between paradoxes and innovation. The research field, however, lacks insights into how family firms manage paradoxes relating to aspects of the innovation process.

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