Dr. Elden Wiebe, Managers’ Use of Time to Frame Organizational Change
Time is a fundamental context within which we do our work, coordinate activities, and achieve results. The way we typically think about time—the clock—is only one way of many ways of thinking about time. If we don’t understand or utilize time or temporality in ways other than with the clock template, there is a serious risk of harm for organizations, for people in organizations, for customers, and for society as a whole.
There are a variety of understandings in regards to changing how organizations view time, many came from the managers’ use of time—especially their use of the past, present, and future.
First, managers tend to think about the link between the past, present, and future either as having continuity (continuous flow from one to the other), or as being discontinuous (there are breaks between the past, present, and future).
Then, managers tend to have a particular focus on either the past, the present, or the future.
Together, these two orientations create a particular time-based understanding of the organizational change that is happening around them, which in turn leads to particular actions that conform to their understanding
The most effective temporal orientation is to view the past, present, and future as a continuity, and to have a focus on the present. These types of managers are creative and pragmatic, and have a sense of control over the changes taking place.