If you look back throughout history you will see that most of the innovators that created things, invented things that we still use today and see that most of them were paradoxical thinkers. They were probably both comfortable and contradictory with their decisions. In fact, they probably performed at their best when they approached things paradoxically. Paradoxical thinking allows them to perform at even higher levels and to expand your sense of values for your efforts. Paradoxical thinking has increased with more and more people getting a higher education.
More and more management teams are embodying paradoxical thinking in order to stay in business and ahead of their competitors.
Paradoxical Thinking is a different way of thinking; a way of thinking that is unique and often key for companies that will help make them successful. However, on the other hand there is Cause and Effect Thinking that most companies use in their business models. Cause and effect thinking can limit the opportunities that they have to think outside of the box.
In Paradoxical thinking they use the ability to reverse, manipulate, combine, and synthesize opposites (Ravi, p. 2). However, on the other hand, with cause and effect is the principle of causation. It is clear that when comparing these two concepts there is a distinct difference in the two forms of thinking.
As I previously stated, paradoxical thinking is a key way of thinking for business that well be instrumental for making them successful. Paradoxical thinking makes a company distinctive from others in this case we will use for example Amazon. Jeffery P. Bezos started Amazon in 1994 when he quit his well paying job Wall Street job to begin his own company. He was using Paradoxical thinking and seeing things outside of the box. In 1994 the use of internet says had increased 2,300 percent and he knew he had to get into it. He began with just selling books, due to the low cost and universal demand. Jeff Bezos has built amazon to what it is today using Paradoxical thinking. Now you can literally buy anything from Amazon. You can stream movies and television, buy and return hassle free, groceries, clothing (new with amazon wardrobe), where you find clothes, try it on, keep what you like and send back what you do not want to purchase; all from the comfort of your living room.
This company knew that they were not the only ones in the industry and needed to find a way to stay competitive. Now they are not only competitive, they have dominated this industry and bought out many smaller ones. Jeff Bezos and his team knew and had a well sense of what paradoxical thinking was and made it work for them. They knew that they needed to advance what they were doing with the times before they happened or they would not be able to stay in the game, they needed to improve what they were doing and they needed to constantly be using paradoxical thinking to help them change as well.
Throughout this process of researching paradoxical thinking I began to question why is it used the least when I mostly took positives from it? Paradoxical thinking comes from skills and high education. Not only does it go against the norms, especially in traditional management, but it also pushed limits of logic and reasoning. It can be seen as counter intuitive and brings change. There are many things that come along with change: fear, intolerance, mistakes, being judged etc.
With any companies, this is when paradoxical thinking must come in to action. There is always several different competitors a company will face that will try to do things better than them. It is vital to their company that they know what the others are up to so that they can stand out from them, do things better and more efficient than them in order for them to remain the best. Amazons way of paradoxical thinking has made them the leaders in the industry. This is what a paradoxical thinking is at its finest.
Throughout my reading I learned that higher education has lead to a higher paradoxical thinking. Education, regardless of what field it is in, requires a person to question things; why was something done that way? Was it necessary? Can it be done differently? All of this is done in a paradoxical way. Leaders and managers of companys use paradoxical thinking in their decision-making, and some may not even realize that they do.
Managers and leaders must take the time to listen to their staff and really hear what the problem is. Listen to listen and not necessarily respond. Regardless of what the staff is bringing as a concern, many times they want to feel heard, even if the outcome does not go their way. There are many ways of approaching staff and leading a team and one of them is using paradoxical thinking. A leader should how how to maintain a team however be open to listening to ideas. They must listen to ideas that are not their own and be open to using those ideas and not taking credit for them or that may be contradictory to how they would do it, if it is in the best interest of the company.
In conclusion I strongly feel that paradoxical thinking in companies is the way of the future. Quinn states that a Paradoxical thinker must be able to have the following collaborative and open to new ideas at the same time you are providing a vision that makes sense in the current environment (p. 337). Leaders must always have a open mind and positive attitude about what is in the future and what is laying ahead of them in order to survive their business. I believe the paradoxical thinking will soon be the new norm for thinking in management and will help companies thrive.