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Developing a European Forum on Paradox and Pluralism

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - EUFORPP (Developing a European Forum on Paradox and Pluralism)

Reporting period: 2019-09-01 to 2020-11-30

Individuals, organizations and society constantly face tensions, built from contradictory yet interdependent interests of pluralistic stakeholders (e.g. Should we privilege the individual or the collective? Should we emphasize economic or social value? Should we invest in efficiency or innovation?). Traditional approaches to these tensions mainly address one side of problem. However, this impairs organizations and society ability to extract the benefit from plural perspectives thus creating more social cleavage (e.g. radical ideas). Organizational success and social development depend on pursuing oppositional demands simultaneously. Good management and social development rely on the ability to navigate these oppositional demands and to reconcile the diversity of worldviews
The European Forum on Paradox and Pluralism (hereafter EUFORPP) is a forum that leverages on the expertise of five European business schools - Nova School of Business and Economics (NOVA SBE; Portugal), CASS Business School (CASS; United Kingdom), Geneva School of Economics and Management (GSEM; Switzerland) LUISS Guido Carli (LUISS; Italy) and Rotterdam School of Management (RSM; The Netherlands) - and a wider network of international experts, to foster ground-breaking research with paradoxical and pluralistic perspectives to provide solutions to social tension, and to create social and organizational impact by opening the forum to policymakers, regulators, business ecosystems, and the society at large. NOVA SBE is the leading partner of the EUFORPP.
The goals of EUFORPP are threefold:
First, facilitate trans-national, cross-disciplinary research ties to foster top level ground-breaking research with paradoxical and pluralistic perspectives.
Second, use such research to reinforce the ties between European institutions and the international research community.
Third, create a social and organizational impact by opening the Forum to policymakers, regulators, business ecosystems, and the society at large.
During the first year of the action, EUFORPP performed the following main activities a) launched its web platform (that connects scholars and social stakeholders), b) organized its International Annual Meeting, c) participated in international conferences, and d) created knowledge in paradox and plurality to disseminate in society.
EUFORPP web platform is an important milestone of the action, because this is the first platform that connects researchers and practitioners to discuss paradoxes and its tensions.
The International Annual Meeting in Lisbon gathered scholars from around the world, and practitioners, to discuss the topic of “Family Firms” and its challenges (e.g. sustainability) from a paradoxical perspective. EUFORPP was able to attract both early stage and experienced researchers to the paradoxical field. These had the opportunity to have their researcher analyzed from a paradoxical perspective. Moreover, the participation of practitioners (e.g. CEOs) in our activities, was a step further the creation of a community of practice, with great potential to influence society at large.
The participation of EUFORPP researchers in other established international conferences, and the promotion of activities in these events, was essential to create awareness of EUFORPP, to expand our community of researchers, and to enhance our potential to develop high-quality research.
EUFORPP also started its journey to disseminate knowledge in society. We created a series of case studies that analyze several organizational events from a paradoxical perspective. These cases are freely available for educators to use in their classes. They have the potential to disseminate paradox and plurality knowledge, especially in the future generation of leaders (i.e. undergraduate and master’s students) and current organizational leaders (through their usage in Executive Education courses).
To sum up, as the main results achieved so far, we highlight the intention of PhD students to work with EUFORPP partners and include the paradox and plurality framework into their research. The participation in international conferences compelled researchers from around the world to join EUFORPP. Moreover, organizations have shown interest in participating in our future activities.
EUFORPP will continue to create and disseminate knowledge, and to nurture the link between researchers and society. We expect to resume the planned exchanges among partners next year, to continue organizing International Annual Meetings, to create our first Summer School, and to keep developing high quality joint-research. EUFORPP will continue creating and disseminating more knowledge (e.g. launch of the Massive Open Online course on Paradox for children). We are committed to mature our communities of practice, by organizing more events targeting organizations and policymakers from several areas of society.
We expect these efforts to translate in a society more capable to deal with opposing tensions, to promote pluralism and, ultimately to protect democracy from divisive forces that impede dialogue.