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Organizational Time: A Dialectical View

M. Cunha
Published 2003 · Sociology

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We present twelve propositions constituting a contribution to a contingency view of time in organizations and synthesize apparently opposite perspectives of time. To articulate them, we relate the planning, action and improvisation strategic orientations to the dependent, independent and interdependent perspectives of the environment. Then, we relate these strategic orientations related to approaches to the problems of scheduling, synchronization and time allocation. Action strategies rely on event time to handle scheduling, use entrainment to synchronize with their environment and view time as linear. Planning strategies use even time to handle scheduling, impose their internal pacing upon the environment and view time as cyclic. Improvisation strategies use even-event time to handle scheduling, synchronize via internal-external pacing and hold a spiral view of time. Our argument strengthens the case for a more deliberate approach to time in organizations and favors a dialectical view of organizational phenomena.
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