Call for Papers
The aim of the sub-theme is to explore how temporality and coordination is practiced, and shapes practice in extreme contexts. Issues of temporality are inherently associated with extreme context research since much of what refers to crises, disasters and accidents requires a timely response to mitigate harmful outcomes. Organizations operating in these contexts are sometimes even called fast-response organizations for they embody as a core organizing principle the recognition that errors can be calamitous and as a result are organized to ensure safety, resilience, and rapid decision making (Faraj & Xiao, 2006; Klein, 1999). Decision-making under time pressure involves a rapid switch between cognition and action, a notion that goes beyond traditional concepts of bounded rationality and which has just recently been understood as following a logic of tact (Kornberger et al., 2019). But whilst it has been studied how decision-makers incrementally engage in decisions in walking by sight, the temporal notion of tact and the role of time pressure in decision-making in crisis situations has so far been less well explored.
Likewise, studies of disasters and crisis management have shown that in response to disaster temporary organizations form and are formed to mitigate immediate crisis (Danner-Schröder & Müller-Seitz, forthcoming; Majchrzak et al., 2007). These temporary forms of collaboration that involve a large range of actors that quite often have not been collaborating before rely on the emergence of swift trust and the fragmentation to different perspectives of disaster coordination to individual organizations (Wolbers et al., 2018). Whilst these studies of temporal organizations in disaster response have explored important antecedents for successful coordination, the role of time in temporal coordination has largely been treated as an independent variable and has not been the topic of explicit attention and theorizing. Instead, social entrainment theory suggests that organizations entrain themselves to powerful external pacers that provide orientation for the timing of their internal activities (Ancona et al., 2001). In extreme contexts, however, such external pacers might be disrupted and pre-existing temporal structures of normalcy will not be applicable anymore, calling organizations to thrive for temporal autonomy and establish novel temporal structures rapidly. Research on time and temporality has convincingly argued that time is not an objective dimension, but instead through their everyday actions, actors produce and reproduce temporal structures which in turn shape the temporal rhythms of their practices (Orlikowski & Yates, 2002).
At the same time, crisis and catastrophes have their own temporality, presenting actors with sometimes competing temporal demands and urgencies; some crisis happen very abrupt and appear ‘out of the blue’ whereas other crisis are so called slow onset disasters that culminate slowly and expand over prolonged periods of time (Darkow, 2019; Oliver et al., 2017). In some cases, well-honed responses cannot be put in place due to equivocal and unshared information (Schakel et al., 2016). Likewise, short term crisis relief actions sometimes have devastating long term effects which calls actors to have the short- and long-term effects of their decisions and practices in mind. Hence, actors might form different past-present-future event structures after a crisis (Danner-Schröder, 2020) Through these discussions we want to inform recent debates in management and organization studies in relation to processes and practices in i.e. organizational routines and temporary organizations.
Hence, suggested topics of this sub-theme include, but are not limited to:
The emergence of temporary organizations in disaster response
Condensing and expanding time related to events
How emergent crises and events unfold over time
Forms of organizing to respond to crises
The role of critical events/moments in the development of crises
Constructions of time and urgencies in extreme contexts
The construction of boredom or prolonged periods of stress and tensions in operating in extreme contexts
How time pressure and unshared information distorts coordination and fast response
Emergence of temporal structures and temporal autonomy in extreme contexts
- Ancona, D.G., Goodman, P.S., Lawrence, B.S., & Tushman, M.L. (2001): “Time: A new research lens.” Academy of Management Review, 26 (4), 645–663.
- Danner-Schröder, A. (2020): “Focusing on and backgrounding events simultaneously: The past–present–future relationship of the Great East Japan Earthquake.” Journal of Management Inquiry, 29 (1), 92–110.
- Danner-Schröder, A., & Müller-Seitz, G. (forthcoming): “Temporal co-dependence between temporary and permanent organizing: Tackling grand challenges in the case of the refugee crisis in Germany.” Research in the Sociology of Organizations.
- Darkow, P.M. (2019): “Beyond “bouncing back”: Towards an integral, capability‐based understanding of organizational resilience.” Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management, 27 (2), 145–156.
- Faraj, S., & Xiao, Y. (2006): “Coordination in fast-response organizations.” Management Science, 5 2(8), 1155–1169.
- Klein, G. (1999): Sources of Power: How People Make Decisions. Cambridge: MIT Press.
- Kornberger, M., Leixnering, S., & Meyer, R.E. (2019): “The logic of tact: How decisions happen in situations of crisis.” Organization Studies, 40 (2), 239–266.
- Majchrzak, A., Jarvenpaa, S.L., & Hollingshead, A.B. (2007): “Coordinating expertise among emergent groups responding to disasters.” Organization Science, 18 (1), 147–161.
- Oliver, N., Calvard, T., & Potočnik, K. (2017): “Cognition, technology, and organizational limits: Lessons from the Air France 447 disaster.” Organization Science, 28 (4),729–743.
- Orlikowski, W.J., & Yates, J. (2002): “It’s about time: Temporal structuring in organizations.” Organization Science, 13 (6), 684–700.
- Schakel, J.-K., van Fenema, P.C., & Faraj, S. (2016): “Shots fired! Switching between practices in police work.” Organization Science, 27 (2), 391–410.
- Wolbers, J., Boersma, K., & Groenewegen, P. (2018): “Introducing a fragmentation perspective on coordination in crisis management.” Organization Studies, 39 (11), 1521–1546.