The Temporal Emergence of Social Relations: An Event-based Perspective of Organising

Research output: Book/ReportPh.D. thesis

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Abstract

Through an event-based perspective of organising, this cumulative dissertation advances understanding of the temporal emergence of social relations.
The dissertation comprises three studies. Study 1 advances an understanding of material temporality. Examining material and organisational temporalities as distinct trajectories of events, I conducted a qualitative, event-based process study of a landmark building dedicated to sustainable urban development. The findings reveal how the building emerged over time as a result of the intersections and interplay between the building’s material trajectory and multiple organisational trajectories in time. The study augments understandings of material temporality by demonstrating the interplay between organisational and material temporalities in contexts involving durable (rather than perishable) materials; and by revealing the dynamics between material temporality and the temporalities of multiple organisations, rather than a single organisation.
f organisations as a trajectory of events, I report the findings of a longitudinal ethnographic field study, showing how actors connected back and forth between their respective pasts and futures in order to pursue a shared future. I develop a model from the analysis that explains the interplay of five different modes of connecting the past, present, and future, describing the becoming of a shared trajectory as a process of ‘temporal abduction’. The findings contribute to an understanding of the temporality of collaborative innovation processes and interorganisational relations.
Study 3 introduces temporal process analysis (TPA), a method that modifies established, event-based templates for qualitative process studies to account for the temporal embeddedness of actors. The study responds to calls for methodologies that attend to how the embeddedness of actors ‘in time’ and the pattern of events ‘over time’ mutually affect each other. TPA formalises the temporal embeddedness of actors by attending to the connections made by actors involved in present events to past and future events. Through an illustrative case study, I show how TPA opens new avenues for theorising the temporality of organisational processes. I indicate possible applications of TPA in different fields of organisational research.
Cumulatively, the three studies make a theoretical contribution to process organisation studies by developing an event-based analytical framework that enables researchers to investigate how the flow of time affects organising. The empirical papers show how this analytical approach extends an understanding of the temporal emergence of relations in studies of material temporality and collaborative innovation. The primary methodological contribution of this dissertation is the development of temporal process analysis (TPA). Application of TPA in two empirical studies reveals the method’s potential for investigating how the flow of time affects organisational processes.
Finally, findings from this dissertation have three main implications for practice by revealing how a collaborative building and collaborative innovation sessions may first, encourage actors to engage more extensively with the long-term future, and second, facilitate interactions between heterogeneous societal actors that lead to the emergence of new relations aimed at addressing societal challenges. Third, collaborative activities need to relate to other shared past and future events to unfold their effects.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationFrederiksberg
PublisherCopenhagen Business School [Phd]
Number of pages236
ISBN (Print)9788793956742
ISBN (Electronic)9788793956759
Publication statusPublished - 2020
SeriesPhD Series
Number32.2020
ISSN0906-6934

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