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Crossing boundaries: connecting religion and paradox for leadership and organisation research

Author: Gümüşay, A.A.
Published in: Interdisciplinary Dialogues on Organizational Paradox: Learning from Belief and Science, 73a, 95-112
Year: 2021
Type: Academic articles
DOI: 10.1108/S0733-558X2021000073a007

This chapter engages with both religion and paradox in leadership and organization research by focusing on three sources of paradoxical tensions and how they are shaped by religion: worldly limits, diverse interpretations, and emerging relationships. First, regarding worldly limits, religion is predicated on an additional “very macro” level of reality, transcendence. This belief offers a distinct way of engaging with paradoxes as it extends the worldly realm’s boundaries. Second, contradictory interpretations of religions may rise, even among members of the same faith, leading to new cognitive paradoxes. Dynamizing boundaries between contradictory elements may allow organizations to maintain unity in a diversity of interpretations. Third, concerning emerging relationships, religions are global phenomena that are experienced side by side in multiple societal terrains. They cut across diverse social systems and give rise to novel relationships. This creates new tensions and paradoxical encounters, as religions traverse borders and boundaries and encounter existing social beliefs, structures, and practices. The expansion, dynamization, and shifting of boundaries then shapes persistent contradictions among interdependent elements. Our field should appreciate and embrace conflicting mysteries and paradoxes across boundaries. We may only need some faith.

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