Creating Value in Organizations
New Horizons in Management series
Chapter 4: Tensions and Trade-offs: From Either/or to Both/and Thinking
4. Tensions and trade-oﬀs: from either/or to both/and thinking In the previous chapters we have made the point that the Competing Values Framework introduces leaders to a new way of thinking. It highlights the tensions, tradeoﬀs, and conﬂicts that occur in almost all organizations, and it provides a way to diagnose and approach these tensions. Leaders must consider the competing values embedded in each of the four quadrants and identify appropriate tradeoﬀs in their strategic priorities and resource allocation decisions. Value creation occurs by eﬀectively managing the tradeoﬀs highlighted by the four quadrants. Another implication of the Competing Values Framework, however, is its ability to help leaders move from either/or thinking to a both/and thinking. That is, the framework can help leaders focus on the integration of competing values. In this way, apparently conﬂicting and opposing priorities are combined in ways that lead to the creation of value. This chapter elaborates the idea of both/and thinking in which leaders are encouraged to consider apparent opposing tensions and contradictions simultaneously. Finding the integration among divergent perspectives is the strategy being emphasized. We look ﬁrst at the natural processes by which integration occurs in diﬀerentiated – or opposing – systems; then we discuss how the integration of opposites using both/and thinking can produce value in organizations. REACTIONS TO UNCERTAINTY AND CHANGE To illustrate the process of both/and thinking we will consider two science ﬁction movies about the same topic, the ﬁrst encounter between the human race...
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