Studying Organization from the Perspective of the Ontology of Temporality: Introducing the Events-based Approach

Anthony Hussenot, Tor Hernes, Isabelle Bouty

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


This chapter suggests an events-based approach that can be used to understand organization as a temporal phenomenon. To date, the ontology of time sees the present, the past, and the future as different and discrete temporal epochs and thus prevents us from understanding activities as a creative process in which the past, the present, and the future are constantly redefined to give meaning and sense to actors. Conversely, an ontology of temporality enables us to grasp the situated nature of organizational phenomena. We argue that an events-based approach provides a better understanding of how past, present, and future events are constantly co-defined and configured, thereby enabling actors to gain a sense of continuity, i.e. a sense about their history, the present moment, and an expected future. Following a discussion of the nature of an events-based approach, we discuss the contributions and implications of such an approach by showing how it redefines the very subject of organization and brings insights to the study of contemporary organizational phenomena.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTime, Temporality, and History in Process Organization Studies
EditorsJuliane Reinecke, Roy Suddaby, Ann Langley, Haridimos Tsoukas
Number of pages19
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Publication date2021
ISBN (Print)9780198870715
ISBN (Electronic)9780192643711
Publication statusPublished - 2021
SeriesPerspectives on Process Organization Studies


  • Temporality
  • Time
  • Events-based approach
  • Process philosophy
  • Organization

Cite this