PDW 02: Paradox Theory as a Way to Understand Complex Problems

Tobias Hahn
ESADE Business School, Barcelona, Spain
Jonathan Schad
University of London, United Kingdom
Garima Sharma
University of New Mexico, USA

Call for Applications

Dror Etzion, McGill University, Canada
Frank Figge, Kedge Business School, Marseille, France
Jonatan Pinkse, University of Manchester, United Kingdom


The interest in paradox theory has been growing significantly over the past years. In line with this year’s Colloquium topic, this Paper Development Workshop (PDW) aims at shedding new light on the questions of surprises in paradox research. Surprises often occur around complex problems. Organizations face a range of complex problems that arise in uncertain and/or dynamic environments. Typically, complex problems are systemically intertwined across multiple levels, evolve dynamically over time, and have long-term consequences. Oftentimes, addressing complex problems has repercussions on other issues.
This PDW – that is linked to the EGOS SWG 09 and to sub-theme 06/2018 – intends to explicitly engage scholars in discussions around innovative contributions as well as new theoretical and methodological approaches based on paradox theory that further our understanding of complex problems in and around organizations. The PDW welcomes papers adopting a paradox perspective on complex problems (for instance, biodiversity, climate change, data privacy, demographic change, economic crises, human rights, innovation, structural change, stakeholder management, sustainability, and water scarcity) and is open to conceptual and empirical work at different levels of analysis.
PDW 02 is a pre-Colloquium activity that aims to help scholars develop their papers. In addition to sub-theme 06, this workshop offers an arena for scholars sharing an interest in the field of paradox, competing demands, and plurality, to develop their ideas towards publishable research articles. Further, the PDW extends to other sub-themes dealing with complex problems; the focus will be on small group interaction.
This PDW is open to all scholars interested in paradox theory and complex problems. Papers will be selected depending on the fit with the call as well as with regard to their innovativeness and potential contribution. PhD students and early career scholars are particularly encouraged to submit.



This PDW will start with a brief introduction on the topic. Accepted papers will be presented and thoroughly discussed in round tables sessions. All participants are expected to have read the papers of their fellow session presenters and be ready to contribute to their discussion.



Please submit – via the EGOS website – by April 30, 2018 a single document of application (.doc, .docx or .pdf file) that includes the following information:

  • A short letter of application containing full details of name, address (postal address, phone and email), affiliation (date of PhD completion for early career scholars), a statement of why the applicant considers it valuable to attend this PDW as well as an indication of what journal(s) the paper is likely to be submitted to;

  • A draft/working paper with max. 10 double-spaced pages, incl. references, figures, or tables

By submitting an application/document, you agree to provide (= to upload via the EGOS website) a full paper version prior to this PDW.

Tobias Hahn is a Full Professor at ESADE Business School, Barcelona, Spain. He holds a PhD in Economic and Social Sciences and a Master Degree in Environmental Science from the University of Lüneburg, Germany. His main research areas are tensions and paradoxes in corporate sustainability and CSR, sustainability performance assessment, corporate sustainability strategies, and stakeholder behavior. His work has been published in journals such as ‘Academy of Management Review’, ‘Organization Studies’, ‘Ecological Economics’, ‘International Journal of Production Economics’, ‘Journal of Business Ethics’, ‘Business & Society’, ‘Organization & Environment’, and ‘Business Strategy and the Environment’.
Jonathan Schad is a post-doctoral researcher at Cass Business School (City, University of London) on a scholarship from the Swiss National Science Foundation. He received his PhD in management studies from the University of Geneva, Switzerland. Using a paradox lens, his research investigates competing demands in contexts such as stakeholder management. His work on paradox has been published in the ‘Academy of Management Annals’.
Garima Sharma is an Assistant Professor at the Anderson School of Management, University of New Mexico, USA. Her research focuses on the tensions that businesses experience when they juxtapose social and environmental with business goals. Garima is also interested in understanding the knowledge co-creation process between different communities, such as managers and researchers, a phenomenon critical for addressing sustainability issues and often fraught with what is known as the academic-practitioner paradox. Her research has been published in ‘Organization Studies’, ‘Journal of Business Ethics’, ‘Journal of Applied Behavioral Science’, and ‘Simulation & Gaming’.