Centre for Organization and Time (COT)
Forthcoming publication: Iben Stjerne and Silviya Svejenova publish together with Matthias Wenzel a paper in the RSO
Title: Commitment to Grand Challenges in Fluid Forms of Organizing: The Role of Narratives' Temporality
Abstract: Organization and management scholars are increasingly interested in understanding how “fluid” forms of organizing contribute to the tackling of grand challenges. These forms are fluid in that they bring together a dynamic range of actors with diverse purposes, expertise, and interests in a temporary and nonbinding way. Fluid forms of organizing enable flexible participation. Yet, they struggle to gain and sustain commitment. In this case study of the SDG2 Advocacy Hub, which supports the achievement of zero hunger by 2030, we explore how the temporality of narratives contributes to actors’ commitment to tackling grand challenges in fluid forms of organizing. In our analysis, we identify three types of narratives—universal, situated, and bridging—, and discern their different temporal horizons and temporal directions. In doing so, our study sheds light on the contributions by the temporality of narratives to fostering commitment to tackling grand challenges in fluid forms of organizing. It suggests the importance of considering “multitemporality,” i.e., the plurality of connected temporalities, rather than foregrounding either the present or the future.
Ph.D. defense: Jonathan Feddersen successfully defended his ph.d. thesis online
Jonathan Feddersen successfully defended his ph.d. thesis entitled " The Temporal Emergence of Social Relations: An Event-based Perspective of Organising ".
"The thesis examines the emergence of social relations in the flow of time. I report findings from an ethnographic study of BLOX, a landmark building and innovation hub in Copenhagen focused on sustainable urban development, complemented by interviews and archival data. The dissertation develops an event-based theoretical perspective and methodological approach to study the mutual interplay between social actors’ enactment of situated events ‘in time’, and the emergent pattern of events ‘over time’. From an event-based perspective, I conceptualise social actors and their relations as trajectories of remembered past, ongoing present, and projected future events. Through studies of collaborative innovation and material temporality, I show how the event-based approach advances an understanding of the temporal emergence of social relations."
Primary supervisor: Professor Tor Hernes, IOA
Secondary supervisor: Professor Silviya Svejenova Velikova, IOA
- Professor Christian de Cock (Chair), IOA
- Professor Jane Lê, WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management
- Professor Hans Berends, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam - School of Business and Economics
Marcus Lantz as visiting research assistant at COT
When is it time for emotions?
When humans try to persuade each other to make decisions and take action, time and emotion both play large roles. With a background in rhetorical studies, Marcus Lantz is currently a visiting research assistant at COT trying to better understand the role of time and temporality in organizational contexts of uncertainty and legitimate disagreement such as strategy-making, product innovation, change management and crisis handling , which the current Covid-19 pandemic has emphasized.
Marcus successfully defended his PhD dissertation titled “Timely Emotion: The Rhetorical Framing of Strategic Decision Making” (publicly available at the CBS Research Portal) in October and has been part of COT for the past months. The dissertation combines a pragmatist philosophy of science with an action-research empirical approach, and Marcus conducted two qualitatively informed field studies, totaling 22 months, as well as a final, mainly theoretical study of a key political speech.
The dissertation demonstrates how the ongoing negotiated organizing of emotion constitutes compelling reasons to act. In relation to time and temporality and the existing work taking place at COT, two aspects in the dissertation are particularly relevant; acting and arguing with prudence, and the temporality of emotion.
- Prudence: One study finds that the constitution of a compelling opportune moment, deciding when to act, requires both a fit with existing organizational interpretations and an active shaping of what the organization aspires to achieve.
- Temporality of emotion: Another study finds that experiences and choices from the past influence the emotions that decision makers feel in the present and inform the intertemporal mechanisms that allow them to take the leap of faith of decision making.
Event: Postdoc Miriam Feuls will speak at a webinar on July 29th
Postdoc Miriam Feuls will speak at a webinar from the King’s Business School Meaning and Purpose Network (bringing academics and practitioners together) on Why Purpose Matters in the Return from Lockdown.
You can register for the event here: https://www.kcl.ac.uk/events/meaning-purpose-network-why-purpose-matters-in-the-return-from-lockdown
Title: Making long-term-goals actionable
Abstract: The awareness of the need to act now in order to prevent a future climate disaster is growing and more and more organizations publicly announce ambitions for the very long-term, such as becoming carbon neutral in 2050. In her talk, Miriam Feuls presents preliminary results of a qualitative longitudinal study of sustainability and innovation processes in a Danish dairy corporation that illustrates the central role played by time horizons in developing an actionable sustainability and innovation agenda. She discusses how the time horizon of 2050 was integrated in the organization, which challenges occur, when having to address both the short-term and the long-term, and how they are dissolved. She presents three interconnected processes that the organization engages in to make the long-term actionable.
Paper Publication: Tor Hernes has co-authored a paper that appears in the Project Management Journal
Title: The Challenges of Implementing Temporal Shifts in Temporary Organizations: Implications of a Situated Temporal View
Abstract: We apply a situated temporal view to reveal the acute challenge actors face in making changes when their project moves toward its final deadline. A situated temporal view takes account not just of the dwindling time left to change the future but also the lingering past, the combination of which poses particular challenges to organizers. We discuss aspects of temporary organizing that make such temporal shifts challenging: the complex interplay between temporal structures and practices, multiple temporal orientations, and deferred timing of temporal shifts. We suggest ideas for further research to apply a situated temporal view to temporary organizing.
Paper Publication: Postdoc Vibeke Kristine Scheller has published a paper on Understanding, Seeing and Representing Time in Tempography
Title: Understanding, Seeing and Representing Time in Tempography
Abstract: I discuss in this article how ethnographers understand, see and represent time by presenting a research study of a newly established cardiac day unit. Previous discussions of time in relation to ethnography mainly revolved around choosing an appropriate tense for writing up the text, and few studies attempted to develop a framework for conducting time-oriented ethnography in organizations, i.e., tempography. I argue that doing tempography requires considerations in several phases of the research process: how we understand time through theory; how we see time in different qualitative methods; and how we represent time in writing. I present empirical findings that illustrate different ways that time emerges in the ethnographic research process, for example, in observational accounts, through depictions and narratives that support different temporal conceptualizations, patients' stories about their trajectories and as ethnographic accounts of professional work. I contend that ethnographers need to consider: 1. methodological temporal awareness as recognition of coexisting temporal modes in qualitative data; 2. temporal analytical practices as understanding time and temporality through different theoretical concepts; and 3. multi-temporal merging as a matter of representing diverse perspectives in ethnographic writing.
Book publication: Postdoc Miriam Feuls has published her doctoral thesis on Practice-based business model transformation
Title: Praktikenbasierte Geschäftsmodelltransformation. Zwischen Strategischer Frühaufklärung und Benchmarking
Abstract: The transformation of the business model is regarded as central challenge for a future-oriented management. It is often assumed that only a high degree of foresight is needed to anticipate profitable developments at an early stage, for example in the form of extensive customer data, trend research or technological future scenarios.
In this book, I contrast this thinking by drawing on the perspective of socio-cultural practices and I develop a method to inspire and enable an organization to transform its business model. The crucial question of business model transformation -- "What will we do differently on Monday? -- is strictly speaking nothing other than the question of how to change organizational practices and the attitudes associated with it.
The method, which is explained on the basis of a practical case, comprises three steps: First, an inventory of the practices characteristic of the current business model is made. Secondly, on the basis of practice theory, innovation-intensive socio-cultural domains with a pioneering character are identified and their deviant practices are carved out. And thirdly, a strategic benchmarking process is carried out, which systematically checks the transferability of these deviant practices into the existing business model. The concept thus follows the logic of the perspicacious future thinker William Gibson, who once said "The future is already there, it´s just not evenly distributed -- yet".
Majken Schultz and Tor Hernes had a debate column about Leadership in the time of Corona in the Danish newspaper "Børsen"
- A time perspective on leadership in these Corona times: What happens to leadership when time horizons collapse?
Link to the article in Danish: https://borsen.dk/nyheder/opinion/ledelsesudfordringer-i-coronakrisen
Majken Schultz and Tor Hernes publish together with Jonathan Feddersen a paper in Organization Studies
TITLE: Hernes, T., Feddersen, J. and Schultz, M. (2020). Material Temporality: How materiality ‘does’ time in food organizing. Organization Studies.
The organic and hence perishable nature of food makes it particularly useful for understanding how the temporal dimension of materiality influences organizing and innovation. We present, as our main theoretical contribution, the concept of ‘material temporality’ to account for the transformation of materials in time and their imagined states at different moments across time, which we label processual and epochal temporality, respectively. Our empirical study shows how two organizations in the beer and dairy industries searched for novel solutions in their past and future. We show how the organizations’ potential for more consequential innovation was greater when they engaged distant past or future epochal temporalities. However, distant epochal temporality may also become uncertain and contested through the lens of ongoing processual temporality. We discuss the implications of material temporality for industries other than food and for organizing in relation to the natural environment.
Tor Hernes and Majken Schultz publish a paper in the inaugural issue of Organization Theory
Tor Hernes and Majken Schultz published a paper in the inaugural issue of Organization Theory. In this paper they develop a model for how actors may address distant events through activity, which they argue is a neglected dimension in research areas such as routines, practices and materiality. They also argue that it is crucially important to better understand the dynamics by which distant events are addressed through situated activity because that is what enables actors to question and ultimately transform their on-going temporal structures.
Title: Hernes, T. and Schultz, M. (2020). Translating the distant into the present: How actors address distant past and future events through situated activity. Organization Theory.
Abstract: Situated views demonstrate how on-going activity is both framed by temporal structures and serves to reproduce those same structures. Yet, recent research on temporality shows that addressing distant events enables actors to reflect on and eventually transform the temporal structures that frame their ongoing activity. We develop a theoretical framework of how actors address distant events through of situated activity in organisations through three steps. First, we discuss the notion of situated temporality to describe how actors go beyond, and potentially transform, the temporal structures within which they operate as they address distant events through situated activity. Second, we introduce the concepts of singular and exemplary events to show how distant pasts and futures comprise different combinations of events. Third, we discuss how certain areas of organisation studies that advocate a situated view, notably practices, routines, and materiality, may benefit from a situated temporal view. At the paper’s conclusion we suggest the concept of ‘temporal translation’ to describe the process of how actors may combine different temporalities through situated activity.
PhD defense: Vibeke Kristine Scheller successfully defended her ph.d. thesis
Vibeke Kristine Scheller succesfully defended her ph.d. thesis entitled " The temporal organizing of same-day discharge: A tempography of a Cardiac Day Unit "
Abstract: Same-day discharge is a recent trend and a challenge for hospital managers both in Denmark and internationally. This dissertation investigates the intersection between time and organizing in a specific Cardiac Day Unit and shows how the tensions, that professionals and patients face, relate to different representations of time. The papers in the dissertation present how a multiplicity of temporal perspectives coexist in the cardiac Day Unit and affects day-to-day organizing, i.e. managing patient trajectories, conducting temporal work and utilizing temporal boundary objects.
Primary supervisor: Professor mso Anne Reff Pedersen, IOA
Secondary supervisor: Professor Tor Hernes, IOA
- Professor Silviya Svejenova Velikova (Chair), IOA.
- Professor Gerry McGivern, Warwick Business School
- Senior Researcher Dr Katja Maria Hydle, NORCE Norwegian Research Center
Majken Schultz published together with Oriol Iglesias and Nicholas Ind an article in Business Horizons
This article explores how an organization can use its history to define and deliver its corporate brand strategy. We specifically look at Adidas, which, having rejected its history at one stage, rediscovered and used the philosophy and ideas of its founder to provide direction for the future, legitimate strategic choices, and enrich the corporate brand. Through analysis of material evidence and interviews with senior and long-serving employees, we conceptualize the way Adidas developed a systematic approach to the use of history in its corporate brand strategy by creating the means to uncover, remember, curate, and then embed it. Combining the lessons of the Adidas case with evidence from other cases in which history was used to refocus and revitalize corporate brands, we deliver key recommendations for managers.
A Conversation with David Boje
Monday 26 September 2019 Centre for Organizational time invited to informal conversation with David Boje about his ideas related to time, narrative, storytelling and materiality.
David Boje is an influential thinker in the area of Organization Studies who is particularly well known for his work on story-telling as constitutive of organizations.
Silviya Svejenova published together with Barbara Slavich, M. Pilar Opazo and Gerardo Patriotta a paper in Organization Studies
This study examines innovators’ efforts to conceptualize and communicate their novel work through categorization. Specifically, we view category formation as a controversial process of meaning making, which we theorize through the concept of “politics of meaning” and operationalize through a social semiotics approach. By analyzing the labeling controversies underlying a new culinary style publicized as “molecular gastronomy”, we find that innovators’ efforts at categorization unfold along four consecutive stages: experimenting with a new style, communicating the new style, contesting the dominant label, and legitimating the category meaning. Our study suggests that a new category’s dominant label can substantially deviate from the innovators’ intended denotations, yet nonetheless bring that category forward by triggering public negotiations around its meaning, which lead to categorical deepening and legitimation. By putting forward a “politics of meaning” view on categorizing innovation, this work advances our understanding of the connection between labeling and category formation in the context of innovation.
Majken Schultz and Tor Hernes published a paper in Strategic Organizaiton
Although strategy and identity are recognized as exhibiting different temporalities, research has yet to show how their temporal differences influence their mutual interplay. Based on a longitudinal case study, we make three contributions to understanding how temporal differences influence the interplay between strategy and identity. First, we articulate their temporal differences as differences in temporal structures, defined as the ordering of their past and future time horizons and the temporal depth between those horizons. Second, we show how different combinations of temporal structures lead to different modes of interplay, which we label “punctuated,” “subsumed,” and “sustained.” Third, we show how sustained interplay happens when strategy includes multiple horizons and greater temporal depth, while identity has more defined horizons and a temporal depth spanning the distant past and future. In a sustained mode of interplay, strategy is meaningfully framed by identity, while strategy serves to enact identity. These findings, we argue, have major implications for how organizations can comply with short-term business cycles while addressing long-term concerns.
Miriam Feuls successfully defended her ph.d. thesis
Miriam Feuls successfully defended her thesis in order to obtain the academic degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Dr. phil) on Thursday, January 31 at the University of the Arts Berlin. Within her dissertation project “Praktikenbasierte strategische Frühaufklärung: Identifikation innovativer Bereiche zur Weiterentwicklung von Geschäftsmodellen” she developed a method that by taking a practice perspective sensitizes strategic foresight for the interplay between past experiences, present realities and future trajectories (inside and outside the organization) inspiring new opportunities for business modeling.
New Book Release: Tid til Velfærd? (English: 'Time for Welfare?')
'Tid til Velfærd?' (Edited by Mie Plotnikof and Nana Vaaben, including chapters by CBS researchers Anne Reff Pedersen and Vibeke Scheller) is a new book about time in the welfare professions - ie. how welfare work is organized in time and how it is organized through different structures of time. This book helps to put into words some of the many different temporal understandings and constructions that characterize the organization of welfare work. Each chapter presents a special analytical concept of time and shows how one thereby can spot specific facets of the welfare work's temporality.