טכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל
הטכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל - בית הספר ללימודי מוסמכים  
M.Sc Thesis
M.Sc StudentEisenberg Roni
SubjectUnpacking Paradoxical Frames: When and why Recognizing
and Embracing Contradictions Fuel Creativity?
DepartmentDepartment of Industrial Engineering and Management
Supervisor Professor Ella Miron-Spektor
Full Thesis textFull thesis text - English Version


Abstract

Today's organizations and their members are constantly faced with multiple tensions and contradicting demands. It has been suggested that in order to manage these tensions effectively, managers and employees should adopt paradoxical frames (PFs) - mental templates that encourage individuals to recognize and embrace contradictions. Despite initial observations on the positive effect of PFs on creativity, little is known about the boundary conditions and underlying dimensions that shape and explain this effect. The current research addresses this gap in the literature by examining personal characteristics that moderate the effect of PFs on creativity and determine who benefits from adopting PFs and why. In Study 1 (n=100), PFs increased the creativity of individuals with low acceptance of contradiction but not of those with high acceptance of contradiction. However, individuals closed mindedness did not moderate the effect of PFs on creativity.

In Studies 2 and 3 we further shed light on the effect of PFs on creativity by distinguishing between the different dimensions of PFs, and examining their relationship with creativity. Paradox research proposes that PFs increase recognition and embracement of contradictions. We examine the contribution of each dimension to creativity. Prior research revealed inconsistent findings regarding the effect of recognition of contradictions on creativity. We reconcile these mixed findings by showing that recognition of contradiction contributes to creativity, when people appreciate contradictions and cognitively embrace tensions. In Study 2 (n=250), we found that the individual propensity to recognize tensions and contradictions was positively correlated with creativity if individuals cognitively embrace tensions, but not when they do not cognitively embrace tensions. In Study 3 (n=58), manipulated recognition of tensions improved creativity only among individuals who tend to feel discomfort yet cognitively embrace tensions and contradictions.

Our research offers two main contributions. First, our work contributes to literature on paradoxical thinking which is mostly theoretical, by showing that individuals with low acceptance of contradictions are more likely to benefit from adopting a paradox lens than those with high acceptance of contradictions. Second, our research provides new insights on the contradiction - creativity link. We show that the recognition of contradictions contributes to creativity when individuals embrace the contradictions rather than being halted by them.