Spurring Tensions at the Workplace and the Moderating Role of Psychological Resilience: A Paradox Theory Perspective

Rawia Ahmed, University of Texas at El Paso


Paradoxes are integral parts of our work lives. In this paper, I tested workplace triggers of four different categories of tensions: belonging, learning, organizing, and performing tensions, and I offered a theoretical framework on how these types of tensions affect employees’ wellbeing negatively by examining stress. Further, I presented psychological resilience as a contingency variable that reduces the experience of stress at the workplace. I also created the organizing tensions instrument. I validated the scale and tested the model with three different samples: Sample 1 (125 MBA students), sample 2 (time 1 520 Qualtrics Panel respondents), and sample 3 (time 2 136 Qualtrics Panel respondents). I found support for some triggers of tensions such that perception of organization to learning tensions, and plurality of stakeholders to performing tensions. Further, I found support for the mediating effect of learning tensions of the relationship between perception of change and job-related stress. I contributed theoretically to the paradox theory literature by creating the instrument of organizing tensions, by testing the theory at the individual level, and by unravelling triggers of tensions in organizations. Practically, I highlighted how tensions can affect employees’ wellbeing, and how organization size or complexity can trigger all types of tensions as revealed by the outcomes of alternative models.

Subject Area

Management|Psychobiology|Occupational psychology|Physiological psychology

Recommended Citation

Ahmed, Rawia, "Spurring Tensions at the Workplace and the Moderating Role of Psychological Resilience: A Paradox Theory Perspective" (2019). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI13883593.