Moving Ahead: How Time Is Compressed and Stretched in Strategy Work

Niels Thyge Thygesen*

*Corresponding author af dette arbejde

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    Purpose: To contribute the process perspective on strategy the systems theoretical concept of time binding and show how time, when unfolded and linked, is compressed or stretched, thereby demonstrating the motion of temporal spaces within organizations.

    Design/methodology/approach: Case approach and with emphasis on communicative events.

    Findings: The finding of three different time bindings in strategy work showing not only how time is unfolded and multiplied but also how these bindings were unexpectedly found to be experienced simultaneously, thus turning a seemingly linear strategy based on goal achievement into a complex of interrelated motions driven by performativity, potentiality and reiteration.

    Research limitations/implications: The research implications are significant to the process perspective on strategy as time should not only be understood and investigated as different unfoldings and time-links within organizations, but also on the motion of these temporal spaces, which is to say, how they move the organization ahead.

    Practical implications: From a practical perspective, when taking both the existing and future research on strategy into account, one notices that most management literature and the mainstream courses held at business schools tend to draw on one-dimensional casualities and chronological timelines in order to combine accurate forecasts with predicted end-results. Such attempts reflect one unfolding, one binding, one temporal space and one way of moving, but if managers want to improve knowledge on deliberate change, temporal awareness should be part of their strategic change repertoire alongside the ability to match different motions to the skills and capacity of an organization.

    Social implications: The concept of time binding is a way to extend the ways by which we seek to comprehend the temporal nature of social relations and structures within organizations and in particular those practices that are considered strategic. In particular, it offers ways of understanding how strategy is a temporal exercise that provides organizations with different temporal spaces within single events and hence different motions – all of which simultaneously move the organization differently ahead in time.

    Originality/value: By providing the system theoretical concept of time binding it brings new and original value into the process and practice field of strategy research. The empirical findings demonstrate how unusual and not yet seen unfoldings and bindings between before and after appears and how such bindings take the form of temporal spaces that simultaneously and differently moves the organizations ahead in time.
    TidsskriftJournal of Organizational Change Management
    Udgave nummer6
    Sider (fra-til)916-935
    Antal sider20
    StatusUdgivet - 2022

    Bibliografisk note

    Published online: 27 September 2022.


    • Strategy
    • Time
    • Process
    • Temporality
    • Motion
    • Practice turn
    • Systems theory