A Leadership Perspective: Navigating the Coopetition Paradox to foster Innovation in the Insurance Industry
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- Master Thesis 
Leadership plays an important role in a coopetitive innovation strategy. However, the coopetitive interfirm relationship is paradoxical as it involves competing and cooperating simultaneously, where leaders are expected navigate the paradoxical tensions to succeed. The current literature has examined this relationship but has not focused on the role of leadership. Particularly, to date, limited research has compared the functions performed by leaders at different levels in an organization. By examining how strategic versus operational leaders navigate paradoxical tensions in coopetitive relations, this thesis begins to bridge this gap. To explore this I use an explorative, case-based qualitative study in the insurance industry involving three companies pursuing a fraud detection project within the Finance Innovation Cluster. Using semistructured interviews, I examine operational and strategic leadership functions using grounded theory and thematic mapping strategies. The findings show that both strategic and operational leaders navigate paradoxical tensions and the emotional ambivalence arising from it, as experienced by the leaders, their subordinates, and in their coopetitive relationships. However, there is a difference in how leaders act to manage this. While strategic leaders tend to be aware of paradoxes by working to neutralize the emotional ambivalence of coopetition, operational leaders rely on enhancing the positive emotions present in emotional ambivalence. Further, strategic leaders are devoted to capturing value, using a transparadox mindset, whereas operational leaders attempt to create value using a paradox-blurring mindset. The findings contribute to the understanding of leadership roles, as well as how leaders at different levels navigate and balance paradoxical tensions in coopetitive interfirm relationships different ways to attempt to succeed in fostering innovation.