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Temporality in business networks: The role of narratives and management technologies

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date2012
JournalIndustrial Marketing Management
Journal number2
Volume41
Number of pages0
Pages312-318
Early online date25/01/12
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

This paper addresses the nature of temporality in business networks. Approaches to temporality generally employ a dualistic approach: time can be understood as social and natural, tensed and untensed, subjective and objective, kairos or chronos, agency and structure. We examine these two approaches and suggest that the problem for situated actors is how to cope with and negotiate with these dualities. This is particularly salient in cases of innovation, when actors attempt to bring about their particular versions of the future facing acute problems of uncertainty. The innovation literature highlights the role of narrative in helping actors to negotiate uncertainty and construct spaces for action in a world of continuous flow. The emphasis on narrative tends to obscure the role of management technologies in anchoring narratives into existing routines and procedures as well as relate these technologies to the untensed world of chronos. Management technologies help stabilise entities and relationship amongst entities in what otherwise is a chaotic world of events and flux.