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Loughborough University, United Kingdom

Like a hot potato: Shifting paradox responsibility across organizational levels


Paradoxes are defined as contradictory yet interrelated elements that exist simultaneously and persist over time. To shed light on what it means to “persist over time” in an organizational context, this paper studies a paradox in an organization with a multi-level perspective and a process view. While research has established the occurrence of tensions such as conflicting economic, environmental, and social concerns, further empirical research is needed to address: “What tensions emerge from a strategic paradox and what happens to a paradox in a multi-level setting over time?” Conceptually, this paper is positioned within the paradox perspective, and takes a process view. The specific contribution is bridging previous findings from invidual and organizational paradox management to a time perspective. By conducting an organizational ethnography, I am able to achieve close proximity to the emerging phenomenon. Findings further develop the understanding of paradox across individual and organizational levels.


Katrin Heucher is a Ph.D. candidate at Loughborough University, UK. Katrin’s research explores paradoxical tensions that actors in a company setting face while striving to implement a sustainability strategy. To this end, Katrin conducted an extended organizational ethnography to observe behaviour and changes over time. In particular, one of her guiding research questions concerns when and how global goals, i.e. the UN sustainable development goals, are translated into corporate action.

Before coming to Loughborough University, Katrin worked in the chemical industry in the areas of international marketing and business strategy. Previously, she received a BA in Area Studies China and Business Administration from Cologne University in 2013 and an MSc International Management (for China) from SOAS, University of London in 2015. Throughout her studies, Katrin has gained significant insight into the FMCG and chemical industry and has shown passion for experiencing different cultures (working and studying in Germany, China, and UK).

Katrin Heucher

Katrin Heucher

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