Time and Organizational Improvisation

FEUNL Working Paper No. 410

36 Pages Posted: 9 Feb 2006

See all articles by Mary M. Crossan

Mary M. Crossan

University of Western Ontario - General Management Area Group

João Vieira da Cunha

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management

Miguel Pina e Cunha

Nova School of Business and Economics

Dusya Vera

University of Western Ontario

Date Written: 2002

Abstract

This paper argues that the apparent contradiction in current conceptualizations of time in organizations (e.g., Chronos vs. Kairos) is only apparent, and that a synthesis between these opposing poles is both possible and desirable. We propose improvisation (where time to plan converges with time to act) as a vehicle for articulating a dialectical view of time-based organizational phenomena, while focusing on the three major time-related problems organizations have to solve: scheduling, synchronization, and allocation. The paper discusses how improvisation helps to synthesize even time and event time in scheduling processes, internal pacing and external pacing in synchronization processes, and linear and cyclical time in allocation processes. Methodological and practical obstacles to synthesis are also discussed.

Keywords: KEYWORDS: Improvisation, Planning, Time

Suggested Citation

Crossan, Mary M. and Vieira da Cunha, João and Cunha, Miguel Pina e and Vera, Dusya, Time and Organizational Improvisation (2002). FEUNL Working Paper No. 410, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=881839 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.881839

Mary M. Crossan (Contact Author)

University of Western Ontario - General Management Area Group ( email )

London, Ontario
Canada

João Vieira da Cunha

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management ( email )

100 Main Street
E62-416
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States
617-253-2659 (Phone)

Miguel Pina e Cunha

Nova School of Business and Economics ( email )

Campus de Carcavelos
Rua da Holanda, 1
Carcavelos, 2775-405
Portugal

Dusya Vera

University of Western Ontario ( email )

1151 Richmond Street North
London, Ontario N6A 3K7
Canada

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