While most research on strategic human resource management is based on the fit paradigm, this paper reviews an alternative lens, that of duality/dilemma/paradox theory. A review of duality theory suggests that this perspective holds particular promise for organizational analysis. Two arguments are presented: (i) that tension is the dependent variable for the analysis of organizations in dynamic environments, and (ii) that strategic issues and organizational capabilities can be conceptualized in terms of states of tension. A methodology for tension analysis is developed and illustrated with an analysis of the tensions in a biotechnology company. The implications for the research and practice in the field of SHRM are discussed.