Expanding the paradox-pedagogy links

paradox as a threshold concept in management education

Eric Knight, Sotirios Paroutis

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter focuses on what it means to teach students to have an appreciation of paradox. Although scholars have long attended to the competing tensions facing leaders, a paradox lens suggests that tensions should be embraced rather than being a distraction that managers should minimize. A paradox lens has become increasingly important to studies on innovation, social entrepreneurship, and strategic management, yet the implications for pedagogy, and particularly management education, have been under-explored. This chapter examines the potential for conceptualizing paradox as a threshold concept in curriculum design and proposes how this approach can be achieved for students’ learning. Overall, we contribute to a richer understanding of paradoxical theory, and provider greater clarity regarding the ways educators can employ to advance the paradoxical capabilities of participants in management education courses.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford handbook of organizational paradox
EditorsWendy K. Smith, Marianne W. Lewis, Paula Jarzabkowski, Ann Langley
Place of PublicationOxford, UK
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9780191815966
ISBN (Print)9780198754428
Publication statusPublished - 6 Sep 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • paradox
  • teaching
  • MBA capstone
  • threshold concepts
  • competing tensions
  • capstone teaching

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    Knight, E., & Paroutis, S. (2017). Expanding the paradox-pedagogy links: paradox as a threshold concept in management education. In W. K. Smith, M. W. Lewis, P. Jarzabkowski, & A. Langley (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of organizational paradox Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780198754428.013.31