Managerial Dilemmas: Exploiting paradox for strategic leadership
July 2009, Wiley-Blackwell
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 that there 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.
"The assumption that organizations are rational entities is challenged every day in the work environment by a rich reality of asymmetries between conflicting forces, complexity, hidden intentions and paradoxes. Anyone wanting to understand the real forces that govern organizations should read this book. A must read for modern leaders who have the intellectual honesty to lead organisations with open eyes and not with the over simplifications and clichés of the past"--Giovanni Ghisetti, Director Business Transformation, Coca Cola Enterprises Europe
"Storey and Salaman’s description of the paradoxes which characterise leadership today is hauntingly accurate. Their intelligent optimism that those dilemmas can be met is as encouraging as it is challenging for those of us who have to do just that. Having read the insights in this book I now understand how their business advice was always so pertinent".--Andy Street, Managing Director of John Lewis
List of case organizations.
About the authors.
PART 1 INTRODUCTION.
1 Exploiting dilemmas and paradoxes through a new mode of leadership.
Meanings of dilemmas and paradox.
The exploitation of paradox.
Dilemma/paradox 1: strategy and business models.
Dilemma/paradox 2: organizational structuring.
Dilemma/paradox 3: performance and control.
Dilemma/paradox 4: innovation dilemmas.
Dilemma/paradox 5: managers’ knowledge.
Dilemma/paradox 6: organizational change.
The role of leadership.
Organization of the book.
2 The nature of dilemma and paradox.
Dilemma and paradox.
Experiencing dilemma and paradox.
The organizational level.
The subjectivity of dilemma and paradox.
Exploiting dilemmas and paradoxes.
PART 2 THE SIX DILEMMAS AND PARADOXES.
3 Dilemmas and paradoxes of strategy.
Strategy and capability.
Business and organizational models.
Strategy and organizational design.
Two case studies: EngCon and contract cleaning services.
Case 1: The engineering consultancy company.
Case 2: Commercial and industrial cleaning and support services contractors.
4 Dilemmas and paradoxes of organizational form and structuring.
From bureaucracy to market.
Joint ventures and alliances.
Supply chain management.
Networks and virtual organizations.
5 Dilemmas and paradoxes of performance management.
The meaning and implications of performance management.
The paradox of control.
The performance control process.
The social complexity of the process.
Types of control.
Quality and Just-in-Time manufacturing.
Incentive payments as a form of performance management.
Self controls and social controls.
Control and resistance.
The vicious circle of control.
Positive responses to controls.
Reconciling control and autonomy.
Performance and management systems.
The wider context.
6 Dilemmas and paradoxes of innovation.
Business strategy and the management of innovation.
Barriers and enablers.
Exploration versus exploitation.
The role of established cognitive structures and recipes.
Our findings about managers’ use of theory and the choice between two divergent models.
Managers’ interpretations of the nature and priority of innovation.
Different interpretations and their consequences.
The moral and affective dimensions.
The illegitimacy of innovation?
Analyses of the source of the problem.
Formal and informal systems.
Mindsets and values.
Approaches to innovation: a danger to be controlled or energy to be tapped?
The value of searching.
The role of leadership.
7 Dilemmas and paradoxes of managers’ knowledge.
Fads, fashions and prevailing assumptions.
Developing strategy: the role of executives’ knowledge and thinking.
Why are executives’ ideas powerful?
Tacit knowledge and explicit knowledge; consensual knowledge and differentiated knowledge.
Findings about executive managers’ strategic knowledge.
Type 1: common unexplored understandings.
Type 2: divergent, submerged/unexplored conflicts.
Type 3: negotiated action.
Type 4: manifest conflict.
8 Dilemmas and paradoxes of organizational change.
The nature and sources of change paradoxes.
The knowledge and role of managers.
The nature of organizations.
The objectives of organizational change projects.
The paradoxes of change processes.
Why change? The relationship between organizational capacity and organizational strategy.
Why change? Basic systems.
Why change? Core competences.
Why change? The adaptive organization.
Why change? Strategic capacity.
Key change problems and solutions.
Key change problems: organizational capacity to change.
Key change problems: symptoms and sources.
Key change problems: changing how we change.
Key change problems: changing the organization or helping it learn to change?
PART 3 CONCLUSIONS.
9 Implications for leaders of organizations.
Dilemmas and paradoxes of strategy and of business models.
Dilemmas and paradoxes of organizing.
Dilemmas and paradoxes of performance management.
Dilemmas of innovation.
The paradoxes of change.
Cross-cutting applications and a summary of lessons for leaders.
Graeme Salaman is Professor of Organisation Studies, Open University Business School. He has written many books and articles. He has worked as a consultant at senior levels in eight countries for clients such as Sun Microsystems, Willis, BAT, Allianz, Ernst & Young, the government of Ethiopia, Rolls Royce and Morgan Stanley. Recent projects include work in Ethiopia where he has worked on change issues in the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Ministry of Information. .
- Tackles the contemporary management agenda – issues which we know senior managers are concerned about with a clear focus on a four-part framework: Knowledge/Mission/Form/Capability
- Makes a new integrated analysis of hitherto separate multiple themes and initiatives
- Offers short course in key new management trends
- Informed by international research and consultancy experience
- Includes numerous mini-case examples
- Applies academic rigor to the latest practical organizational questions
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