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date: 17 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter makes the case that institutional and paradox theorists should consider problems stretching beyond managerial concerns and corporate performance to focus attention on the paradoxes that characterize the most deep-rooted and contentious social issues facing societies and economies, suggesting a switch from organizational to institutional paradoxes. To illustrate, two vignettes are described—one focused on the legacy of the University of Georgetown’s slave-trading past, the other on the identity challenges faced by working-class people attending Cambridge University. Drawing from these vignettes, three sets of theoretical insights are presented which are fundamental to institutional paradox: that institutional paradoxes may be rooted in a desire for legitimacy; that temporality is a dynamic at the core of institutional paradox; and that the metaphor of multiple interconnected fault lines better captures the complexity inherent in paradox at the institutional level than the metaphor of dualities.

Keywords: institutional paradox, race, social class, reconciliation, temporality

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