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Managing impressions rather than emissions: Volkswagen and the false mastery of paradox
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5564-360x
UTS Business School .
Nova School of Business & Economics.
2019 (English)In: Organization Studies, ISSN 0170-8406, E-ISSN 1741-3044Article in journal (Refereed) Accepted
Abstract [en]

The challenge of dealing with paradoxes has become a central issue in management and organization studies. Present research literature is largely inclined to idealize paradoxical framing in thinking and theorizing. We critically explore the perils paradoxes present when generated by stretch goals whose ‘achievement’ is accomplished through impression management. Using the Volkswagen emissions scandal we show how paradoxical promises, embraced discursively but not substantively, created false transcendence rather than paradoxical mastery. We contribute to paradox theory by discussing how the illusion of paradox embrace can trigger dysfunctional behaviours. In practice, the paper cautions organizations and their members from being overconfident in their ability to embrace paradoxes successfully.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sage Publications, 2019.
Keywords [en]
Paradoxes, contradictions, Volkswagen emissions scandal, stretch goals, impression management
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Business Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-164275OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-164275DiVA, id: diva2:1362459
Available from: 2019-10-20 Created: 2019-10-20 Last updated: 2019-10-21

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
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Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
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  • Other locale
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Output format
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