Temporality in Organization Studies: Implications for Strategic Project Management
Christopher Biesenthal*, 1, 4, Shankar Sankaran1, 4, Tyrone Pitsis2, Stewart Clegg1, 2, 3
1 Centre for Management and Organisation Studies, University of Technology Sydney, Australia
2 Newcastle University Business School, Newcastle, UK
3 Nova School of Economics and Business, Lisboa, Portugal
4 School of the Built Environment, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia
Project managers require temporal skills and the ability to improvise when linear assumptions confront the
complexities of managing projects within a context of strategic calculation. While the management and organization
(MOS) literature emphasizes the importance of temporal skills for managing uncertainty, ambiguity and complexity, a
dearth of project management literature contributes to this discussion. By reviewing literature on time in MOS and linking
it to the field of project management we seek to make an initial bridge of this gap and argue that in order to improvise
project managers need temporal skills. Project management practitioners and researchers work with assumptions of what
constitutes normal time and linearity in projects, despite the variety of situations and events faced in projects.
Practitioners, students and researchers in project management need to develop more sophisticated temporal skills to deal
with a variety of projects, situations and events strategically.
Keywords: Improvisation, literature review, projects, strategy-as-practice, temporality, time.
open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/), which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.
* Address correspondence to this author at the Centre for Management and
Organisation Studies, University of Technology Sydney, Australia;
Tel: +61 2 9514 8950 ; E-mail: Christopher.Biesenthal@uts.edu.au