Time in organizational studies: Towards a new research direction

Heejin Lee, Jonathan Liebenau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Citations (Scopus)


While there is much 'time-related research', there is little 'research on time'. This is striking since time is a key point in understanding organizations, their actions, culture, efficacy, etc. Most studies of time in management and organizational theory take time for granted. While there are numerous studies that address temporal issues, they are widely dispersed and unsystematic. This paper provides a classification of temporal studies of organizations and management. The scheme is built around two criteria: concepts of time and the role of time in research design. In the former, there are two contrasting concepts of time: clock time and social time. In the latter, time plays the roles of independent or dependent variables. By intersecting the two criteria, four notions of temporality ('deciding', 'working', 'varying' and 'changing' times) are introduced to account for a variety of studies of time. The resulting classification not only reveals the current situation of studies about time, but it also indicates a direction which further research effort should take. We conclude by showing that temporally sensitive approaches will benefit research on organizations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1035-1058
Number of pages24
JournalOrganization Studies
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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