In highly-structured public bureaucracies, such as universities, the need for stable and ordered administration conflicts with attempts at innovation and creativity. This is a particular dilemma for universities, which exist to create and share knowledge. The case presented here concerns the tensions generated where a university’s administration ignored innovative IS research findings which could translate into innovations from which they could benefit. We employ Leximancer to objectively analyse textual documents related to the case and invoke Activity Theory to make deeper sense of the phenomenon of our investigation. Identifying several contractions behind the tensions uncovered in this case, we turn to the concept of dialectic as a tool for cooperatively resolving complex contradictions. The findings concern many cultural-historical factors that present barriers to the translation of IS research into innovative practice in university administration.