Acting in Time: Temporal Work Enacting Tensions at the Interface between Temporary and Permanent Organizations

Joana Geraldi, Iben Stjerne, Josef Oehmen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review


Temporary and permanent organisations have contrasting yet co-dependent perspectives regarding time; temporary organisations are made to ‘die’, yet most of them exist to enable permanent organisations to ‘survive’. The authors studied the temporal tensions of strategic initiatives – that is, temporary organisations that aim to implement strategic change in permanent organisations. Our empirical data identified three temporal tensions emerging when senior managers timed their strategic initiatives: ambition versus realism when enacting the time horizon, patience versus urgency when enacting the pace, and clock time versus event time when enacting the temporal perspective. By evoking the literature on paradox and temporal work, the authors extend the view of temporality at the temporary and permanent interface and indicate how temporal work played an important role in creating, reinforcing, or transforming temporal tensions. The authors conclude by providing implications for theory and practice.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTensions and Paradoxes in Temporary Organizing
EditorsTimo Braun, Joseph Lampel
Number of pages23
Place of PublicationBingley
PublisherEmerald Group Publishing
Publication date2020
ISBN (Print)9781839093494
ISBN (Electronic)9781839093487, 9781839093500
Publication statusPublished - 2020
SeriesResearch in the Sociology of Organizations


  • Temporality
  • Temporal work
  • Strategy execution
  • Paradox
  • Temporary organisation
  • Temporary/permanent tensions

Cite this