Fr-SYM-2024-7 - Paradoxes And Leadership In Organizational Change: Challenges And Chances In The Sensemaking-Sensegiving Process

Antecedents of constructive/destructive leadership
Friday May 19   11:30 AM to 12:30 PM (1 hour)
Leadership and management
Outcomes of constructive/destructive leadership
Paradoxes and leadership in organizational change: Challenges and chances in the sensemaking-sensegiving process
J. L. Sparr 1,*
1University of Konstanz, Konstanz, Germany
Main Abstract Content: State of the Art
Paradoxical demands are particularly salient in times of change and challenge the sensemaking of organization members. This has been recognized by scholars focusing on the role of paradoxes for leaders’ sensemaking and decision making in organizational change (e.g., Lüscher & Lewis, 2008). However, the employee perspective has been neglected so far.
New Perspectives/Contributions
In this conceptual contribution, I suggest that a key task of leaders in organizational change processes is to help their followers to make sense of the change-related paradoxes. However, before leaders can engage in sensegiving they need to make sense of the paradoxes themselves. A better understanding of the relevance of paradoxes for the complex and fragile process of leader sensemaking, leader sensegiving and employee sensemaking might help us to understand why leader behaviors often are negatively perceived by their followers in organizational change and why employee resistance to change is so common. Therefore, based on key findings of the paradox and sensemaking literature I develop a model of challenges and chances in this process and respective consequences for employees’ leader- and change-related perceptions.
Research/Practical Implications
With the proposed conceptual model, I provide a new angle to research on change management and (negative) leadership and offer testable assumptions. Practitioners can use the included suggestions for supporting both leaders and employees in dealing with paradoxes to ensure successful change processes in organizations.

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