| 15.06.2021

Doctoral thesis: Leaders and professionals should think more paradoxically

In today’s fast changing world, professionals in organisations are being challenged as never before to broaden their competence and to collaborate across traditional boundaries. Similarly, leaders are facing change, as traditional supervisory roles are shifting towards empowering teams and professionals to take responsibility.

New research suggests that organizational members should more effectively accept and engage in reflective practice, rethinking fixed self-conceptions and taken-for-granted ideas and priorities, as well as reinforcing paradoxical thinking and embracing multiple opposing interests simultaneously, which ultimately can deliver leading sustainable performance.

In his doctoral thesis entitled “The Art of Knowing: An Ethnography Inside a Financial Services Organization” Lauri Storbacka studies professional practice and the dynamics of working across different knowledge traditions.

”Knowledge is often seen as a firm’s most strategically significant resource and many organisations are concerned about how to manage their workforce’s knowledge. Knowledge is, however, not made or shared as an entity, but a result of an act of the knower”, Storbacka points out.

Storbacka’s research highlights the challenges related to knowledge and the close relationship between power and knowledge. In organizational life, in situations involving uncertainty and ambiguity, there are often competing conceptions, contradictions, and conflicting interests of what constitutes ‘legitimate’ knowledge.

“I found that we are easily ruled by our own desires and perceptions of our role, imprisoned by our old ways of thinking and doing, and a need to respond to what is expected of us. This kind of ‘professional specialisation’ complicates cooperation. and we might fail to recognise a bigger picture and how the expertise of others fits the context of our own work”, Storbacka says.

You can read the whole thesis here.

Lauri Storbacka will be defending his doctoral thesis at 12:00 noon on 17 June 2021.
The field of study is Management and Organisation.
Opponent: Professor Jane McKenzie, Henley Business School, University of Reading
Kustos: Professor Sören Kock

The doctoral defence will be held by video conference.
Access the video conference via Teams via this link.