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EXPRESS: Investigating how the Clock‒Event Time Dialectic Shapes the Doing of Time in Organizational Change
Organization Studies  (IF6.306),  Pub Date : 2021-03-15, DOI: 10.1177/01708406211006252
Suresh Cuganesan

Enacting both clock and event time – ambitemporality – in organizational change is beneficial but contradictory. Prior research establishes that actors valuing the co-existence of both time conceptions enables ambitemporality in change. However, this is likely to be problematic in many organizations because clock time is hegemonic. Clock time not only exerts systemic influences, but its proponents also work to exclude event time perspectives from affecting change. So how does event time influence change in these contexts? I explore, in an ethnography of an organizational change, how the clock‒event time dialectic shapes the doing of time in change. The study’s primary contribution is in showing that event time proponents gain power to influence change through two types of political action: uncertainty switching and plasticizing temporal boundaries. A secondary contribution demonstrates the specific features of conflict that enable ambitemporality to emerge despite power asymmetries existing between the contradictory time conceptions.