Wendy K. Smith and Marianne W. Lewis

Masters of navigating paradoxes.


Recipients of the Thinkers50 2023 Breakthrough Idea Award.


Both/And Thinking was featured on the Thinkers50 Best New Management Booklist in 2023.


Recipients of the 2021 Academy of Management Review Decade Award for ‘Toward a Theory of Paradox: A Dynamic Equilibrium Model of Organizing.’


Life is full of paradoxes, which are often a source of conflict. And since our brains love to make either-or choices, we tend to choose one competing demand over the other. In their book, Both/And Thinking, Wendy and Marianne demonstrate how to cope and thrive with multiple knotted tensions at the same time, and provide an actionable framework for transforming those tensions into opportunities for growth and innovation. Drawing on more than 20 years of pioneering research, they show how we can employ ‘both/and thinking’ to make more creative, flexible, and impactful decisions. Wendy’s research focuses on strategic paradoxes: how leaders and senior teams effectively respond to contradictory, yet interdependent demands. Marianne is a thought leader in organizational paradoxes and explores tensions surrounding leadership and innovation.


Wendy is the Dana J. Johnson Professor of Management and Faculty Director of the Women’s Leadership Initiative at the Lerner College of Business and Economics, University of Delaware. She earned her PhD in Organizational Behaviour at Harvard Business School. Wendy received the 2015 Lerner College Outstanding Scholar Award and the 2018 University of Delaware’s first Mid-Career Excellence in Scholarship Award. Marianne is Dean and Professor of Management at the Lindner College of Business, University of Cincinnati. She previously served as Dean of Cass Business School, University of London, and as a Fulbright Scholar. Marianne received the Paper of the Year Award (2000) and Decade Award (2021) from the Academy of Management Review.


Both/And Thinking: Embracing Creative Tensions to Solve Your Toughest Problems (HBR Press, 2022). Multiple articles in publications such as the Harvard Business Review, Fast Company and Newsweek, including ‘Hate friends’ or colleagues’ POVs? Here’s the secret to getting along’ (Newsweek, October 2022); ‘Hybrid work isn’t working: Here’s a better approach’ (Fast Company, August 2022); ‘Both/And Leadership’ (with Michael L. Tushman, Harvard Business Review, May 2016); The Ambidextrous CEO’ (with Michael L. Tushman and Andy Binns, Harvard Business Review, June 2011); ‘The Power of Paradox’ (TEDx-UD talk, July 2023).  


Media picks


“Both/And provides us with a novel and unspeakably powerful and instantly usable way to reframe almost any problem. The argument is flawless.”

Tom Peters

Subscribe to our newsletter to keep up to date with the latest and greatest ideas in business, management, and thought leadership.

*mandatory field

Thinkers50 will use the information you provide on this form to be in touch with you and to provide news, updates, and marketing. Please confirm that you agree to have us contact you by clicking below:

You can change your mind at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in the footer of any email you receive from us, or by contacting us at . We will treat your information with respect. For more information about our privacy practices please visit our website. By clicking below, you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms.

We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp's privacy practices here.

Privacy Policy Update

Thinkers50 Limited has updated its Privacy Policy on 28 March 2024 with several amendments and additions to the previous version, to fully incorporate to the text information required by current applicable date protection regulation. Processing of the personal data of Thinkers50’s customers, potential customers and other stakeholders has not been changed essentially, but the texts have been clarified and amended to give more detailed information of the processing activities.

Thinkers50 Awards Gala 2023

Join us in celebration of the best in business and management thinking.