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The walls within: working with defenses against otherness

Online Conference 5-11 July 2021

Navigating Paradoxical Tensions in the Context of Coopetition: Emotional Transcendence in a Dutch Public-Private Partnership

Published 10 April 2023


Transcendence has been recognized as the most effective response to paradox, yet it is perhaps also the most demanding. This article explores how organizational actors transcend paradoxical tensions that arise when simultaneously pursuing cooperation and competition. Drawing on a case study of a Dutch public–private partnership in which law enforcement agencies and financial firms collaborate to combat serious and organized crime, we examined the paradoxical tensions experienced by those involved in this coopetitive alliance and their efforts to transcend the conflicting emotions that arise from these tensions. Our study suggests that transcending such emotional ambivalence involves not only the enactment of different rhetorical and behavioural practices, but also various emotional practices, which we have termed emotional transcendence. These emotional practices vary in their focus (individual, group, organizational), and are used alternately and interchangeably with rhetoric and behaviour to transcend emotional ambivalence. By exploring the paradoxical emotions in a unique coopetitive setting, we contribute to the literature on emotions and paradox and open up interesting avenues for future research.

Full paper link attached.