Paradox and organizing with visuals: a video ethnography of managing an airline during a global pandemic

Alicja Gajewska, Stefan Meisiek, Rico Merkert, Eric Knight

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference abstract


Increasing volatility and disruptions, which organizations have to respond to, can contribute to salience of paradoxical tensions, which can be addressed in proactive or defensive ways. Despite increasing interest in socio-materiality, little is known about its role in management of paradoxes, let alone in the context of a crisis. This paper adopts a video-ethnographic approach to study a materially managed paradox in an airline setting during the COVID-19 crisis. Specifically, a year-long set of meetings was analysed with a focus on a visual artefact used for management of airline operations. Our results suggest that the artefact contributes to synergistic transcendence of the control-flexibility paradox through notions of deflecting and embracing. The artefact enables a both/and dynamic, allowing for organizational control, while enabling flexible responses to the disruption. The paper discovers also differences in the dynamics of the paradox around the organizational visual artefact and its management.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication37th EGOS Colloquium 2021
Place of PublicationOnline
PublisherVrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)
Publication statusPublished - 2021
EventEGOS Colloquium (37th : 2021) - Online
Duration: 8 Jul 202110 Jul 2021


ConferenceEGOS Colloquium (37th : 2021)


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