Authority and Autonomy invites you on an ethnographic journey into the heart of creative knowledge work. Based on detailed and vivid examples, it analyzes the concept of work entertained by employees in these companies. It shows the existence of fairly contradictory ideals: classical bureaucratic and professional virtues, and ideals drawing on late modern values about selfrealization, authenticity and limitless exploration. The same set of contradictory values is carried into the hierarchical dynamics, as managers and employees make unpredictable shifts in their expectations towards one another. Without signaling or even reflecting on the shifts, managers and employees jump back and forth between norms about authority, ordergiving and hierarchy on the one hand, and autonomy, dialogue and selfdirection on the other. These unpredictable shifts give rise to volatile conflicts, but also to intense mutual fantasies and passion. The author argues that this paradoxical environment in knowledge organizations has become more or less inevitable due to the highvelocity, growthdriven market. Furthermore, she highlights both the risks and gains associated with paradoxical environments and how it is important that we look at both.