Organizational time in historical perspective

John Hassard, Stephanie Decker, Michael Rowlinson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter examines how time and temporality have been analyzed in social and organizational theory. Specifically, it discusses forms of analysis developed prior to the purported synthesizing of conceptual dualities under the “postmodern turn” (Nowotny, 1994; Orlikowski and Yates, 2002). The chapter reviews some of the main concepts and theories of time developed historically by sociologists and anthropologists, and describes how-when applied in organizational research-they have yielded rich and diverse insights into workplace behavior. By drawing upon some of the major foundational figures in the sociology of time-such as Emile Durkheim, Mircea Eliade, Georges Gurvitch, Karl Marx, Pitirim Sorokin-we note not only differences between their positions, but also how such differences, when contrasted systematically, offer a broad basis for appreciating time as reflecting a cyclical as well as linear, heterogeneous as well as homogeneous, and processual as well as structural phenomenon in theoretical and empirical investigation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTime, Temporality, and History in Process Organization Studies
EditorsJuliane Reinecke, Roy Suddaby, Ann Langley , Haridimos Tsoukas
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9780191913341
ISBN (Print)9780198870715
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jan 2021

Publication series

NamePerspectives on Process Organization Studies
PublisherOxford University Press

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright: © Oxford University Press 2020.


  • Ethnography
  • Interpretive sociology
  • Linear time
  • Social cycle theory
  • Time metaphor


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