SWG 01: Organization & time: Organizing in the nexus between short and distant futures
Tima Bansal, Ivey Business School, Western University, Canada
Tor Hernes, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark
Karmowska, Oxford Brookes University, UK
Call for Papers
Contemporary organizations operate increasingly according to a logic of speed and instantaneity while also shortening their temporal horizons. These pressures are exogenous features of organizational environment, but they also involve an endogenous component arising from the recursive relationship between organizational action and the evolving context (Perlow at al., 2002). In everyday organizational practices, actors produce and reproduce a variety of temporal structures, which in return shape the temporal rhythm and form of these practices (Orlikowski & Yates, 2002; Karmowska et al., 2017). Recent works in organization studies have begun the search for ways to analytically and empirically handle the temporal complexity faced by organizational actors in these processes (Hussenot & Missonier, 2016).
Time forms an inseparable part of every human experience, where past and future are reflected in the present (Heidegger, 1962). In order to grasp the temporal nature of organizational phenomena it is necessary to consider how the organization’s existence is a reflection of both the past and the anticipation of the future (George & Jones, 2000; Hernes, 2014). While often falling prey to short-termism, organizations are increasingly challenged to address distant pasts and futures (Schultz and Hernes, 2013). In this sub-theme we aim to discuss the nexus between, on the one hand, the demands of speed and adaptions and, on the other hand, the challenges of addressing distant futures. We make the assumption that if most organizations become too short term, they will compromise employee welfare, organizational success, and societal well-being (Polman, 2014; Slawinski & Bansal, 2015).
This SWG is intended to provide the opportunity for organizational scholars to appreciate the temporal qualities of their research phenomena and to position their work within the broader studies on time and organizations. We are open to variety of approaches to studying organization and time as we strive to identify and build more comprehensive theoretical frameworks on the subject. Our goal is to build an inclusive conversation that appeals to many theories and methods within organizational theory and practice.
In keeping with the EGOS 2019 Colloquium theme, we are particularly interested in the temporal aspects that contribute to insights and understanding with a focus on a better future for societies and organizations. Studies across industries and markets are invited at micro- as well as macro-levels of analysis. We also invite diverse philosophical methods and concepts as well as methods of enquiry that permit the temporal nature of organizational processes and practices to be captured. Both conceptual and empirical contributions are welcome.
Papers may address, but are not limited to the following themes:
Ø How experience and inheritance of the past (plus anticipation of the future) affect the framing of the present in organizations and shape organizational change
Ø How organizational time perspectives influence organizational efforts to address societal grand challenges
Ø Organizational outcomes of temporal myopia or short-termism
Ø Relationship between growing inter-connectedness and acceleration in organizational life and their effect on long-term thinking
Ø Consequences of the growing disharmony between natural and organizationally-imposed temporal rhythms
Ø Dynamics between on-going temporal structures in organizations and distant futures
Ø Continuity, change and distant futures
Ø Connecting distant pasts and distant futures -- challenges and dilemmas
Ø Organizational power and politics in the nexus between short- and long-term thinking
Ø Organizational history – conflict and mediation mechanisms
Ø Learning and organizational forgetting over time
Ø Interpretations of time in organizational culture
Ø Philosophical concepts and methodological dilemmas in studying time in organizations.
George, J.M. & Jones, G.R. (2000) ‘The role of time in theory and theory building’. Journal of Management 26(4): 657-684.
Heidegger, M. (1962) ‘Being and time’. New York: Harper & Row.
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.
Karmowska, J., Child, J. & James, P. (2017) ‘A contingency analysis of precarious organizational temporariness’. British Journal of Management 28(2): 213-230.
Orlikowski, W.J. & Yates, J. (2002) ‘It’s about time: Temporal structuring in organizations’. Organization Science 13(6): 684-700.
Perlow, L.A., Okhuysen, G.A. & Repenning, N.P. (2002) ‘The speed trap: Exploring the relationship between decision making and remporal context’. Academy of Management Journal 45(5): 931-955.
Polman, P. (2014) ‘The remedies for capitalism’. Available at:
Schultz, M. & Hernes, T. (2013) ‘A temporal perspective on organizational identity’. Organization Science 24(1):1-21.
Slawinski, N. & Bansal, P. (2015) ‘Short on time: Intertemporal tensions in business sustainability’. Organization Science 26(2): 531-549.
Tima Bansal is the Canada Research Chair in Business Sustainability at the Ivey Business School, Western Business School, London, Canada. Her research focuses on the nexus of time, space and scale in organizations. She is a Deputy Editor at the Academy of Management Journal and has published on time in the Academy of Management Review, Organization Science, and Journal of Management.
Tor Hernes is Professor of Organization Theory at the Department of Organization, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark and Adjunct Professor at School of Business, University of South-Eastern Norway. He does research on various aspects of organizational temporality inspired partly 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 (AoM) annual meeting in 2015. Tor directs the Centre for Organizational Time at Copenhagen Business School.
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 organizations and SME internationalization. She has published in the British Journal of Management, Journal of World Business, Urban Studies, among others. She is associated with the Centre for Organizational Time at Copenhagen Business School.