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(Un)resolving digital technology paradoxes through the rhetoric of balance

Grigore, G., Molesworth, M., Miles, C. and Glozer, S. (2021) (Un)resolving digital technology paradoxes through the rhetoric of balance. Organization, 28 (1). pp. 186-207. ISSN 1350-5084

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1177/1350508420968196


The organizational benefits of digital technologies are increasingly contrasted with negative societal consequences. Such tensions are contradictory, persistent, and interrelated, suggesting paradoxes. Yet, we lack insight into how such apparent paradoxes are constructed and to what effect. This empirical paper draws upon interviews with thirty-nine responsibility managers to unpack how paradoxes are discursively (re)constructed and resolved as a rhetoric of ‘balance’ that ensures identification with organizational, familial and societal interests. We also reveal how such ‘false balance’ sustains and legitimizes organizational activity by displacing responsibilities onto distant ‘others’ through temporal (futurizing), spatial (externalizing) and level (magnifying / individualizing) rhetorical devices. In revealing the process of paradox construction as resolution as ‘balance’ in the context of digitalization and its unanticipated outcomes, we join conversations into new organizational responsibilities in the digital economy, with implications for theory and practice.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Henley Business School > Marketing and Reputation
ID Code:93781


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