SWG 01: Organization and Time



, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark
, University of Colorado, Denver, USA
, Oxford Brookes University, United Kingdom
, emlyon Business School, France

Contemporary organizations operate increasingly according to a logic of speed and instantaneity, while at the same time increasing their temporal spans to either draw upon their histories or to cope with distant future challenges (Slawinski & Bansal, 2012; Schultz & Hernes, 2013). Within widely varying “temporal depths” (Bluedorn, 2002), different organizational actors carve out wide combinations of temporal structures (Adam, 1998; Ancona et al., 2001) and trajectories (Lawrence et al., 2001) that shape the organizations as well as their relationships (Reinecke & Ansari, 2016). Recent works in organization studies have begun the search for ways to analytically and empirically handle the temporal complexity that organizational actors face (Hussenot & Missonier, 2016). This Standing Working Group (SWG) 01 aims to extend this work through joint inquiry.

Time has been a preoccupation in organizational research since its inception, where a host of works have focused on the construction of time as linear and chronological. Others have construed time more as the background against which organizational processes take place. Informed by economics, sociology, and partly psychology, such views are prevalent in organization studies.

During the last decade or two, however, works have emerged that offer a supplementary take on time, suggesting more situated, event-based, on-going, multiple, and enacted conceptions of time (Orlikowski & Yates, 2002; Hernes, 2014). These works herald a view of time that opens multiple possibilities for studying the actual workings of time in organizational life. In particular, they invite combining perspectives across levels, going from the situated level of day-to-day actions to the level of society via that of organizations or institutions (Granqvist & Gustafsson, 2016; Rowell et al., 2016).
This SWG aims at encouraging scholars to pursue novel and exciting studies of the role of time, moving beyond the current reification of “clock time” to understand time as a social construct that affects all aspects of organizations and organizing. In particular, SWG 01 aims to explore and advance research on organization and time by:

  • Giving scholars the possibility to review their current work through various temporal lenses

  • Extending current theories on time and organization to enable richer explanations of the present, past, and future dynamics in organizations

  • Using temporal views to critique, expend, recast or replace theories of organizational phenomena, such as innovation, identity, change, communication, etc.

  • Exploring how temporal views may better inform current phenomena in business, industry and society, such as digital transformation, values-based businesses, and other grand challenges

  • Integrating discussions across variety of approaches to studying organizational temporalities, such as organizational history or temporary organizations in order to identify and build more comprehensive theoretical frameworks

  • Deepening our knowledge of methodological and analytical approaches to temporal research

  • Extending knowledge about time and organization(s) through the various networks of the scholars involved, notably through published research and other conferences



  • Adam, B. (1998): Timescapes of Modernity. London: Routledge.
  • Ancona, D.G., Okhuysen, G.A., & Perlow, L.A. (2001): “Taking time to integrate temporal research.” Academy of Management Review, 24 (4), 512–529.
  • Bluedorn, A.C. (2002): The Human Organization of Time: Temporal Realities and Experience. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
  • Granqvist, N., & Gustafsson, R. (2016): “Temporal institutional work.” Academy of Management Journal, 59 (3), 1009–1035.
  • Hernes, T. (2014): A Process Theory of Organization. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Hussenot, A., & Missonier, S. (2016): “Encompassing novelty and stability: an events-based approach.” Organization Studies, 37 (4), 523–546.
  • Kunisch, S., Bartunek, J.M., Mueller, J., & Huy, Q.N. (2017): „Time in strategic change research.” Academy of Management Annals, 11 (2),1005–1064.
  • Lawrence, T.B., Winn, M.I., & Jennings, P.D. (2001): “The temporal dynamics of institutionalization.” Academy of Management Review, 26 (4), 624–644.
  • Orlikowski, W.J., & Yates, J. (2002): “It’s about time: Temporal structuring in organizations.” Organization Science, 13 (6), 684–700.
  • Reinecke, J., & Ansari, S. (2015): “When times collide: temporal brokerage at the intersection of markets and developments.” Academy of Management Journal, 58, 618–648.
  • Rowell, C., Gustafsson, R., & Clemente, M. (2016): “How institutions matter ‘in time’: the temporal structures of practices and their effects on practice reproduction.” Research in the Sociology of Organizations, 48A, 305–332.
  • Schultz, M., & Hernes, T. (2013): “A temporal perspective on organizational identity.” Organization Science, 24 (1), 1–21.
  • Slawinski, N., & Bansal, P. (2012): “A matter of time: The temporal perspectives of organizational responses to climate change.” Organization Studies, 33 (11), 1537–1563.

About the Coordinators

Tor Hernes is Professor of Organization Theory and Director of the Centre for Organizational Time at the Department of Organization, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark. He has in recent years devoted increasing attention to the subject of organization and temporality, inspired largely by works on the philosophy of time. His book A Process Theory of Organization won the George R. Terry Book Award at the Academy of Management meeting in 2015.
David Chandler is Assistant Professor of Management at the University of Colorado Denver, USA. His research focuses on understanding how institutions, organizations, and their core practices emerge and evolve over long periods of time. In particular, he seeks to understand these processes from a diachronic perspective. Doing so reveals patterns and causal relationships that are missed if we study these same institutions, organizations, and practices over shorter periods.
Joanna Karmowska is a Senior Lecturer in Organization Studies and International Management at Oxford Brookes University, UK. Her research interests focus on organizational temporariness, creative organisations and SME internationalization. She is a recent recipient of the British Academy Rising Star Engagement Award 2016/17. She is associated with the Centre for Organizational Time at Copenhagen Business School (Denmark).
Mar Pérezts is an Associate Professor of Management and Social Sciences at emlyon Business School, France, where she is also a member of OCE Research Center. Originally from Mexico, she graduated from the Ecole Normale Supérieure d’Ulm in philosophy before earning her PhD in Business Ethics at ESCP Europe in Paris. She is particularly interested in processual and critical approaches on how meanings materialize over time, are stabilized and contested.