The experience of time in the inter-organizing inquiry: A present thickened by dialog and situations
Following in the footsteps of scholars view of organizations as organizing processes, this research focuses on the temporal dimension of organizing, more specifically, the temporal dimension of (re)organizing inter-firm cooperation. As such, in this article we suggest that by viewing organizing processes as inquiries in the pragmatist sense, one can shed light on the experience of how time unfolds within the contextual conditions of developing interaction. We stress two key characteristics of organizing inquiries: (1) they are situated, and this situation is the source of unexpected events, surprises and novelty and (2) they are dialogical, and the unpredictable dynamics of dialog also punctuate their temporal course. This framework is used in the participant observation of a strategic project in the French retail industry, whose aim was to redesign supplier–retailer relationships using a category management approach. The empirical data gathered demonstrates how the organizing process develops as a situated and dialogical inquiry, and how the past, the future and the “elsewhere” of a situation are rolled together into the ongoing experience of the present moment. Our conclusion summarizes the contributions of this study and suggests avenues for future research into organizing processes. âº We analyze the temporal dimension of organizing processes viewed as inquiries in the pragmatist sense. âº We stress the importance of situations, the processual nature of inter-organizing inquiries and their dialogical dimension. âº We present a case study in the retail industry, achieved through a 14-month-long ethnography. âº We show how the past and the future of a situation are rolled together into the ongoing experience of the present moment. âº We show how time is experienced and the present of the inter-organizing process is thickened and punctuated by events.