Department of Organization

Studies in time - Panel discussion

IOA Seminar - Studies in Time: Panel members: Stine Grodal, Boston University; Majken Schultz, CBS, Dan Wadhwani, University of the Pacific and CBS; Christina Berg Johansen, CBS; Tor Hernes, CBS. Facilitator: Niels Thyge Thygesen, CBS

Tuesday, June 10, 2014 - 09:00 to 12:00

Dear colleague

It’s time for time!

This is an invitation to an informal seminar in which we discuss alternative views on the role of time, organizing and organizations. Brief presentations of works/papers in which the panel members are currently engaged will be followed by a plenary discussion in which we wish to explore broader implications. The panel presentations will present empirical material while concentrating on issues of time and the understanding of time that frame the studies, as well as how the understanding of time shapes the findings.

To register for the event, please contact no later than June 6th. Please mention the name of the event in your subject line.


9.00 – 9.10              Comments on the role of time in organization studies by Tor Hernes

9.10 – 10.15            Presentations by panel members           

10.15 – 11.00          Break

11.00 – 11.50          Plenary discussion

11.50 – 12.00          Summing up by Niels Thyge Thygesen

List of presentations

Nanotechnology Communities' Perception of Time: Temporality during Field Emergence

Stine Grodal, Boston University and Nina Granqvist, Stockholm School of Economics

Organizational fields evolve over time. Existing studies have explored the temporal dimension of field emergence as a linear progression. Yet, studies within other domains of organizational theory have shown that temporality involves an ongoing interaction between perceptions of the past, present, and future. Drawing on an in-depth investigation of the nanotechnology field we show that to understand how time is constructed during field emergence we need to consider the temporal orientation of the communities, which become involved with the field over time. We identify two phases in the temporal orientation of the nanotechnology field and explicate the mechanisms associated with the communities’ construction of time during each of these phases. 


Historicizing and the Role of Artifacts

Majken Schultz, Copenhagen Business School and Mary Jo Hatch

This paper suggests the concept of historicizing as a basis for theorizing how actors make use of their past, while preparing themselves for the future. Based on an empirical study of Carlsberg Group we traced how actors on two different occasions stumbled upon an artifact from a distant past, which became woven into, first the company’s first microbrew, and, ten years after, the identity statement for the new and larger Carlsberg. In these processes of historicizing the old artifact was reinterpreted and turned into novel material as a way of responding to the changes taking place in the brewing industry. The paper suggests how historicizing enabled actors to construct continuity by drawing on past material in the midst of large-scale transformation, where the threading of material across time provided substance and direction for change. Finally the study suggests how material artifacts may serve as temporal boundary objects connecting generations in organizations across time.


The Uses of History in New Market Emergence: Origins of the Personal Finance Industry in the United States

Dan Wadhwani, University of the Pacific and CBS

In recent years, both business historians and management researchers have grown increasingly interested in examining the uses of history by organizational actors in the origins and evolution of firms, industries and markets. Such an approach implicitly or explicitly distinguishes chronological time from historical time, i.e. the narratives of lived and collective experience through which actors make sense of actions, causes, and effects in time. This paper examines the uses of history in industry emergence from two temporal perspectives, retrospectively and prospectively. Focusing on the development of formal financial institutions for the general public in the early nineteenth-century US, it uses a dual reading of the event to highlight how actors examine and make meaning of industry formation differently before and after the event. The paper uses the study to examine how historical accounts are performative in the constitution of industries.


Capabilities and Resources in Temporal Interplay: The case of Ulstein

Tor Hernes, CBS and Kätlin Pulk, Estonian Business School and CBS

Extant literature has not considered the temporal interplay between organizational capabilities and resources through actors’ subjective construction of time, and therefore does not address the crucial question of mobilization of capabilities and resources in the flow of time. We explore organizational resources, operational and dynamic capabilities through their different temporal characteristics, whereby resources are seen as semi-stable, operational capabilities as recurring, while dynamic capabilities are seen as stochastic. Our main argument is that their stochastic nature makes their exercise dependent on more predictable bases of operations. Therefore actors rely in their exercise of dynamic capabilities on what we refer to as predictably occurring operational capabilities and readily available resources. Using qualitative data from a ship building company we demonstrate how the exercise of dynamic capabilities connected to operational capabilities and resources in new product development processes through what we call temporal interplay.


The limits of strategy: a pragmatist view of corporate sustainability agency

Christina Berg Johansen, CBS

As global sustainability problems are mounting, the incapacity of corporations (and organizations in general) to address them comprehensively and with due diligence is increasingly exposed. Present corporate strategy rests strongly on short-term objectives and prevailing models of rational behaviour and performance, which conflicts with the uncertainty and complexity inherent in long-term sustainability solutions. Building on American pragmatism, in particular Hans Joas’ alternatives to means-ends rationality, I investigate how corporate managers relate to and strategize towards longer-term futures and discuss the limits of “strategy” as agency. The project is based on qualitative data across a range of organizations that relate to sustainability pressures in their strategic work.


The page was last edited by: Department of Organization // 05/27/2014