Cultural differences in paradoxical tensions in strategy episodes

Shameen Prashantham (First Author), Mariya Eranova (Participant Author)

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7 Citations (Web of Science)


In this conceptual paper, we ask: How does the larger cultural context influence the way that groups of managers deal with paradoxical tensions in strategy episodes? We focus on three sources of tension in the conduct and design of strategy episodes – inclusion, formality and coordination/communication. We argue that in each case, cultural influences affect the extent to which these facets of strategy episodes are dealt with using a paradox lens. Specifically, in Western cultural contexts, managers tend to have a lower proclivity for adopting a paradoxical frame resulting in a separation of tensions in strategy episodes; by contrast, managers in Eastern cultural contexts such as China more readily adopt a paradoxical frame, and embrace tensions in strategy episodes. We suggest that, over time, non-paradoxical thinking likely promotes inter-episode plurality and planned emergence, while paradoxical thinking tends to foster intra-episode plurality and emergent planning. We contribute to a deeper understanding of strategy episodes as culturally embedded practices.
Original languageEnglish
JournalLong Range Planning
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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  • ABDC-A
  • Scopus
  • SSCI


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