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Gaia Grant

Gaia Grant

PhD Candidate

The University of Sydney
NSW 2006 Australia


Gaia Grant is a doctoral researcher in Work and Organisational Studies at the University of Sydney Business School. In her research Gaia is focusing on how executives make sense of paradoxical challenges in strategising, and she has a particular interest in factors that impact socially responsible and sustainable innovation. Gaia has over 25 years’ consulting experience in organisational learning and development, and she has worked with a wide range of organisations from international Fortune 500 companies through to NFPs. As a founder and director of Tirian Consultancy, Gaia has been responsible for growing and managing the company so that it now operates in a number of regions around the world. She has published a number of books including books on creative thinking and innovation culture in organisations, and she has also written and produced over 30 training programs and resources that are sold under license internationally. Gaia has presented her initial research findings at The European Group of Organisation Studies (EGOS) 33rd Colloquium and the 9th International Process Symposium (PROS).

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Thesis working title

How do individuals and groups work through paradoxical tensions in sustainable innovation?: A collective sensemaking perspective

Rapid change and complex contemporary environments have led to inherent ambiguities and related tensions in organisations. This can be particularly challenging where there are conflicting goals or needs, which can lead to the need to simultaneously deal with multiple paradoxical tensions. The push towards the need for innovative new ideas and products (eg through breakthrough innovation) can, for example, conflict with the need to manage and improve on current systems and practices (eg through incremental innovation). This is known as an exploration / exploitation innovation paradox. Simultaneously, the need for sustainability over the long term can conflict with the need to drive through profitability for stakeholders. There is a clear need for organisations to build their employees’ capabilities to enable them to deal with tensions such as these, particularly in the group context. This study will use a mixed methods approach to identify specific tensions relating to sustainable innovation paradoxes (exploration and exploitation) and explore how individuals and groups can work through these paradoxes (through the sensemaking process).

Supervisors: Eric Knight, Suresh Cuganesan


Conference Paper/s

Grant G, Knight ERW and Cuganesan S 2017 'Between community and corporate: How top management teams experience paradoxical demands in strategising', 33rd European Group for Organizational Studies (EGOS) Colloquium, Copenhagen, Denmark, 8th July 2017



Grant A and Grant G 2016 'The Innovation Race: How to change a culture to change the game', John Wiley and Sons Australia, Ltd, Milton, Australia, pp. 384


Book Section/s

Grant G 2015 'Can we meaningfully compare creativity across cultures?' in Big Questions in Creativity 2015: A Collection of First Works, Volume 3, ed. Culpepper M & Burnett C, ICSC Press, Buffalo, NY, United States



Grant A and Gaia G 2012 'Who Killed Creativity?: ...And How Do We Get It Back?', John Wiley & Sons, Inc/Wrightbooks, pp. 300