Time and Temporality of Change Processes: Applying an Event-based View to Integrate Episodic and Continuous Change

Tor Hernes, Anthony Hussenot, Kätlin Pulk

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


Theories of organizational change tend to consider episodic and continuous change to be ontologically incompatible. We discuss how their assumed incompatibility stems from different conceptions of time. The main contribution of this chapter is to demonstrate how, by taking an event-based view, the two types of change may be integrated with one another. Continuous change takes place in the present as events in the making, whereas episodic change is marked by events in the past or as projected upon the future. This endogenous view of time as events “from within” enables the ontological gap between episodic and continuous change to be bridged. It enables us to understand how actors evoke previous episodic changes or project future episodic changes while pursuing continuous change in the on-going present. Also, in this view, continuous and episodic change become seen as two intertwined dimensions of interplay along what we call an immanent temporal trajectory.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Organizational Change and Innovation
EditorsMarshall Scott Poole, Andrew H. Van de Ven
Number of pages20
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Publication date2021
ISBN (Print)9780198845973
ISBN (Electronic)9780198845973
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Episodic change
  • Continuous change
  • Event-based view
  • Immanent temporal trajectory
  • Organizational continuity

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