From Temporal Myopia to Temporal Foresight: Temporal Work and Corporate Sustainability at a Big Automotive Manufacturing Firm

Blagoy Blagoev, Lea von Guttenberg, Dennis Schoeneborn

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review


This paper provides novel insights into one of the main puzzles of contemporary society, that is, why corporate sustainability still remains such a difficult strategic goal to reach for many established organizations. Moving beyond prior studies on the intertemporal tensions between the short term and long term, we focus on the temporal work that is required for corporations
to address these tensions and extend temporal orientations in highly institutionalized and complex temporal orders. We empirically investigate different practices of temporal work by studying a strategic sustainability initiative at a big German automotive manufacturer. Drawing
on rich interview, documentary and press data, we discover and theorize the interplay of four intersecting forms of temporal work: explicit vs. implicit and aspirational vs. translational types of temporal work. Importantly, we find that explicit-translational temporal work—the primary focus of much prior research—in itself was not sufficient for deep-level strategic change. Only when it was coupled with more implicit and aspirational forms of temporal work, such change was made more likely. We deepen current research on organizational temporality by theorizing the interplay between the four modes of temporal work and their relation to changing established temporal structures. Our theorizing sheds new light on how actors and organizations can build new trajectories of change by engaging in temporal work and how such trajectories
can support the transition toward corporate sustainability.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2020
Number of pages46
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Event36th EGOS Colloquium 2020: Organizing for a Sustainable Future: Responsibility, Renewal & Resistance - Virtual Conference, Hamburg, Germany
Duration: 2 Jul 20204 Jul 2020
Conference number: 36


Conference36th EGOS Colloquium 2020
LocationVirtual Conference
Internet address


  • Temporal work
  • Temporal structuring
  • Organizational time
  • sustainability
  • Non-market stratgy

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