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date: 15 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

How does organizational change involve “working through paradox,” what is the role of rhetoric in that process, and what are its outcomes? We show that working through paradox during organizational change involves the integrating rhetoric of metaphor and the differentiating rhetoric of irony. Irony generates critique and provides space for considering the possibility of organizational change. Metaphor links disparate elements together and thus resolves the contradiction generated by irony. Through a model of critique and resolution, we show how cycling between metaphor and irony facilitates a greater awareness by employees of their own ambivalence toward organizational change, thus increasing possibilities for reflexive engagement with organizational change.

Keywords: paradox, organizational change, metaphor, irony, critique, resolution

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