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Subjective Time in Organizations: Conceptual Clarification, Integration, and Implications for Future Research


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Despite the rapid growth of organizational research on subjective time, the extant literature is fragmented due to a lack of conceptual clarification and integration of temporal constructs. To address this fragmentation, we synthesize temporal research from both Organizational Behavior (OB) and adjacent disciplines (i.e., Strategy, Entrepreneurship, and Organizational Theory), and introduce a framework that allocates temporal constructs according to their basic conceptual nature (trait‐state) and level of analysis (individual‐collective). We employed the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC) text analysis to determine the traitstate property of the constructs and a coding method to determine their level of analysis. This framework categorizes four generic types of subjective time: individual temporal disposition, individual temporal state, collective temporal state, and collective temporal disposition. We clarify the conceptualizations of the temporal constructs belonging to each of the four archetypes of subjective time and review their key findings in the organizational literature. Based on this integrative framework, we identify critical knowledge gaps in the current state of research and chart a future agenda with specific suggestions.
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Subjective time in organizations: Conceptual clarification,
integration, and implications for future research
Shi Tang |Andreas W. Richter |Sucheta Nadkarni
Cambridge Judge Business School, University
of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom
Shi Tang, Cambridge Judge Business School,
University of Cambridge, The Old Schools,
Trinity Ln, Cambridge CB2 1TN, United
Shortly after completing her work on this
manuscript, Sucheta sadly passed away. We
would like to dedicate this paper to the
inspiration, enthusiasm, and dedication that
Sucheta has given to us, and to the research on
temporal phenomena in organizations more
Despite the rapid growth of organizational research on subjective time, the extant lit-
erature is fragmented due to a lack of conceptual clarification and integration of tem-
poral constructs. To address this fragmentation, we synthesize temporal research
from both organizational behavior and adjacent disciplines (i.e., strategy, entrepre-
neurship, and organizational theory) and introduce a framework that allocates tempo-
ral constructs according to their basic conceptual nature (traitstate) and level of
analysis (individualcollective). We employed the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count
text analysis to determine the traitstate property of the constructs and a coding
method to determine their level of analysis. This framework categorizes four generic
types of subjective time: individual temporal disposition,individual temporal state,
collective temporal state, and collective temporal disposition. We clarify the conceptual-
izations of the temporal constructs belonging to each of the four archetypes of sub-
jective time and review their key findings in the organizational literature. Based on
this integrative framework, we identify critical knowledge gaps in the current state
of research and chart a future agenda with specific suggestions.
multilevel research, subjective time, temporal constructs, traitstate distinction
Time plays a central role in organizational life (Bluedorn & Denhardt,
1988; Shipp & Cole, 2015). But it does not merely exist objectively
as clock time. It is also experienced by organizational actors
in subjec-
tive ways, as indicated by expressions such as time flies!or we are
pressed for time!Objective time (i.e., clock time) is linear (progressing
in a unidirectional way), homogeneous (the passage of each unit is the
same), and uniform (identical across individuals and situations); in
contrast, subjective time manifests in richer forms that are nonlinear,
heterogeneous, and multiform (Ancona et al., 2001; Shipp & Cole,
2015; Shipp & Fried, 2014).
Organizational actors' subjective experience of time varies accord-
ing to their innate traits, ingrained beliefs, and influences of external
situations or events (Bluedorn, 2002; McGrath & Kelly, 1986; Shipp
& Fried, 2014). Recent decades have seen a proliferation of organiza-
tional behavior (OB) research examining a variety of temporal con-
structs that capture how time is subjectively valued, understood,
used, or perceived in organizational contexts (Kooij, Kanfer, Betts, &
Rudolph, 2018; Shipp & Cole, 2015; Shipp, Edwards, & Lambert,
2009). Despite this notable growth in research on subjective time,
the literature remains somewhat fragmented and would benefit from
conceptual clarification and integration on at least two fronts.
First, conceptual ambiguity caused by jinglejanglefallacies (Block,
1995) pervades in the conceptualizations of many temporal constructs.
Jingle fallacy occurs when the same label is used to describe different
phenomena. Take future orientation as an exampleDas and Teng
Following Ancona, Okhuysen, and Perlow (2001), we use the term organizational actorto
refer to the organizational unit across multiple levels of analysisfrom individuals, to teams,
to organizations.
Received: 14 November 2017 Revised: 17 September 2019 Accepted: 15 October 2019
DOI: 10.1002/job.2421
J Organ Behav. 2019;125. © 2019 John Wiley & Sons, 1
(1998) used this term to denote the length of time horizon underlying
one's consideration of the future, whereas Balliet and Ferris (2013) used
the same term to capture one's attentional focus on the future time
frame. Moreover, in the same study, Balliet and Ferris (2013, p. 300)
conceptualized future orientation as both individual differences in
future orientation(measured on a Likert scale) and futureoriented
states(induced in experiments). However, these two phenomena are
grounded in fundamentally distinct theoretical perspectivesthe for-
mer characterizes a dispositional tendency (i.e., trait), whereas the latter
features a malleable, situationelicited state. These jingle fallacies can
lead to severe confusions about a construct's content equivalence, con-
ceptual property (trait vs. state), theoretical basis (dispositional vs. situ-
ational), and appropriate operationalization (psychometrics vs.
experimental manipulation) (Chen, Gully, Whiteman, & Kilcullen, 2000).
On the other hand, jangle fallacy occurs when different labels are
attached to substantively identical phenomena (Block, 1995). For
instance, the concept labels of future orientation (Das & Teng, 1998)
and (future) temporal depth (Bluedorn, 2002) similarly represent the
time horizon of an individual's consideration into the future. Yet, these
two distinct labels have triggered divergent research trajectories
the former was mostly adopted by strategy and entrepreneurship
research on managerial decisionmaking (e.g., Martin, Wiseman, &
GomezMejia, 2016); the latter was more frequently used by OB
researchers to study employee outcomes (e.g., Bluedorn & Martin,
2008). Such jangle fallacies have hindered knowledge integration
across temporal research.
Second, existing studies are fragmented with respect to levels of
analysis. OB research has placed a skewed emphasis on individual
level studies (Shipp & Cole, 2015). However, scholars contend that
subjective time is an omnipresent phenomenon occurring across mul-
tiple organizational levels, and increasing research has examined tem-
poral constructs at collective levels, especially in adjacent disciplines
(George & Jones, 2000; Mosakowski & Earley, 2000). For example,
polychronicitythe proclivity toward the degree of simultaneity in
performing multiple work tasks (Slocombe & Bluedorn, 1999)has
been studied at the team level both in OB (team polychronicity diver-
sity; Mohammed & Nadkarni, 2014) and in strategy (top management
team (TMT) polychronicity; Souitaris & Maestro, 2010).
Furthermore, many studies examining collective temporal con-
structs did not explain the process of emergence from the individual
level to the higher level. Although both team polychronicity diversity
and TMT polychronicity reflect teamlevel phenomena, they may theo-
retically emerge through different processes (dispersion vs. referent
shift consensus) from individual members' polychronicity and thus
require distinct operationalization approaches (Chan, 1998). Subjec-
tive time involves omnipresent phenomena occurring at multiple orga-
nizational levels, yet scattered temporal research at different levels
and the conceptual imprecision regarding the level and origin of (col-
lective) temporal constructs have severely limited our understanding
of subjective time as a multilevel phenomenon.
To address the fragmented state of research on subjective time,
our review offers an integrative framework that categorizes temporal
constructs based on two generic dimensions: (1) traitversus statelike
property and (2) individual versus collective level of analysis. This, in
combination, yields four archetypes of subjective time: individual tem-
poral disposition, individual temporal state, collective temporal state,
and collective temporal disposition. We clarify the conceptualizations
of temporal constructs belonging to each archetype and review their
key findings in the organizational research.
Our review aims to contribute to the literature in three related
ways. First, we provide greater conceptual clarity, as well as facilitate
the integration of diverse and scattered studies on temporal
constructs. Second, the comparatively broad scope of this review
(incorporating studies at the individual and collective levels, from
OB as well as related disciplines) offers a more encompassing view
of organizational research on subjective time and thereby extends
and complements previously published reviews that have focused
exclusively on individuallevel temporal construct(s) (e.g., Kooij et al.,
2018; Shipp & Cole, 2015). Through the inclusion of both
individualand collectivelevel studies, our ultimate goal is to encour-
age OB researchers to apply a rich, complex, and meatymultilevel
lens (Klein & Kozlowski, 2000) that bridges micro and macro under-
standings of subjective time. Third, we identify critical issues in the
extant literature and provide specific suggestions for future research
to address associated challenges. Overall, we seek to synthesize the
existing research in a systematic and informative manner, which high-
lights major knowledge gaps and charts rich and clear pathways to
move the field forward.
2.1 |Scope of the review
We focused our review on subjective time in organizational contexts.
According to McGrath and Rotchford (1983, p. 61), subjective time
has two defining characteristics: (1) It features the subjective nature
of time that is in the eye of the beholderin contrast to objective
time, which is invariant to subjective interpretations; (2) it is consid-
ered a focal construct rather than a medium through which changes
Because Bluedorn and Denhardt (1988)'s initial review of different
conceptions of time (e.g., objective and subjective) in the field of man-
agement, there has been a burgeoning interest in this topic among
organizational researchers (Shipp & Cole, 2015). Thus, we focused
on scholarly work published after 1988. Our review differs from
recent reviews and metaanalyses (e.g., Kooij et al., 2018; Rudolph,
Kooij, Rauvola, & Zacher, 2018) with respect to our primary goal of
providing conceptual clarification and integration of various temporal
constructs across studies. The broader scope of this review allows us
to complement previously published reviews that predominantly
focused on traitlike, individuallevel phenomena of subjective time
As studies on trajectories consider time as objective and the medium through which changes
occur, we did not include them in this review. We refer readers to other reviews on trajecto-
ries including Shipp and Cole (2015) for withinindividual changes and Bush, LePine, and
Newton (2018) for teams in transitions.
(Shipp et al., 2009; Shipp & Cole, 2015; Shipp & Fried, 2014). Specif-
ically, we also review studies on statelike as well as collectivelevel
phenomena. In addition to studies published in the OB field, we incor-
porate studies from adjacent disciplines such as strategy, entrepre-
neurship, and organizational theory. These studies have signified the
importance of subjective time at collective levels in organizational
contexts (e.g., TMTs; Souitaris & Maestro, 2010) and pointed to
collectivelevel temporal constructs with relevance to OB (e.g., tempo-
ral aspects of organizational culture; Blount & Janicik, 2001). We
believe that these studies could provide important insights for OB
research regarding the prevalence and dynamics of subjective time
as multilevel organizational phenomena.
We conducted a systematic literature search following suggested
procedures for multilevel, multidisciplinary reviews (Aguinis & Glavas,
2012). First, we included 14 toptier journals in the organizational sci-
ences (Academy of Management Journal,Academy of Management
Review,Administrative Science Quarterly,Entrepreneurship Theory and
Practice,Journal of Applied Psychology,Journal of Business Venturing,
Journal of Management,Journal of Management Studies,Journal of Orga-
nizational Behavior,Management Science,Organizational Behavior and
Human Decision Processes,Organization Science,Personnel Psychology,
and Strategic Management Journal), as well as the specialist journal
Time & Society. We accessed target journals via electronic databases
(EBSCO, ProQuest, Google Scholar, and Web of Science) and per-
formed searches using the terms time,”“temporal,and temporality,
in combinations with subjective,”“experience,”“perception,”“orienta-
the phrase time management.Peerreviewed articles containing
one or more of these terms in titles, abstracts, or keywords were
included. Second, we identified additional sources by comparing our
results with those included in prior reviews on subjective time and also
by searching for the works of authors who have at least two articles in
our sample. Third, we included key book chapters. And finally, we
manually screened the reference lists of individual papers to ensure
we did not miss out on relevant studies. We then narrowed the
resulting pool of studies by applying the two defining criteria of sub-
jective timetime as subjective to organizational actors' interpreta-
tions or experiences and as a focal construct rather than a medium
through which changes occur (McGrath & Rotchford, 1983). Our liter-
ature search yielded 108 articles.
2.2 |An integrative framework
To provide conceptual clarification and enable the integration of tem-
poral constructs, we focused on the conceptualizations of focal tem-
poral constructs in the reviewed studies. We categorized these
constructs based on their trait/statelike conceptual properties, as
well as their individual versus collective levels of analysis.
Psychologists have long regarded the traitstate distinction as
fundamental in describing human differences. This is because these
two complementary schemas are part of the extensive theory of psy-
chological causality”—traits are stable, enduring, and internally caused,
whereas states are malleable, fleeting, and externally induced (Chap-
lin, John, & Goldberg, 1988, p. 541). Following this tradition, research
on traitlike temporal constructs is rooted in dispositional perspec-
tives that focus on how innate and stable subjective time affects
organizational behaviors and performance (e.g., Chen & Nadkarni,
2017; Hecht & Allen, 2005). By contrast, research on statelike con-
structs is often based on situational perspectives that emphasize the
situational determinants of subjective time as it is fleeting and mallea-
ble (e.g., Ebert & Prelec, 2007; Perlow, 1999). This traitstate prop-
erty of temporal constructs dictates the choice of appropriate
theoretical perspectives suitable to study subjective time phenomena.
Therefore, we regard it as a basic conceptual dimension for categoriz-
ing temporal constructs.
Accordingly, we intended to identify the trait/statelike property
of each temporal construct. However, while reviewing the literature,
we noted that the traitstate property of temporal constructs has
not always been explicitly defined. More importantly, the traitstate
distinction may not be strictly categorical, but rather vary on a con-
tinuum (Tasselli, Kilduff, & Landis, 2018). For instance, researchers
broadly referred to future time perspective (FTP) as one's consider-
ation of the future, including the subdimensions of a traitlike
predominant (cognitive) orientationand a statelike emotional
valence of future events(Kooij et al., 2018, p. 3). Because FTP
contains both traitand statelike components, it tends to be more
flexible than one's characteristic attention of temporal focus
(Shipp et al., 2009) but more stable than a temporary experience
of time pressure (Ross & Wieland, 1996). Psychologists have long
argued that the (categorical traitstate) distinction is an arbitrary
one(Allen & Potkay, 1981, p. 916), and organizational scholars have
increasingly advocated for a continuous view on such a distinction
(Tasselli et al., 2018). To alleviate the conceptual imprecision
and better integrate temporal constructs on the traitstate dimen-
sion, we conducted a systematic content analysis to determine the
degree of the traitstate property of each construct (see Section
2.3 below).
Furthermore, we sought to provide greater conceptual clarification
and integration of temporal research at different levels of analysis to
facilitate the development of theorydriven, multilevel research in
the future. To define, justify, and explain the level of each focal con-
struct that constitutes the theoretical system is an essential element
in multilevel research (Klein & Kozlowski, 2000). We thus identified
the level (individual vs. collective) of each temporal construct. The
level of a construct is its level of manifestation in a given theoretical
modelthe known or predicted level of the phenomenon in question
(Klein & Kozlowski, 2000). At the individual level, temporal constructs
capture individual phenomena related to subjective time at work.
However, temporal constructs may also describe subjective temporal
phenomena at higher levels, for instance, whether groups and organi-
zations share some temporal perceptions(Ancona et al., 2001, p.
518). These collective experiences may also differ across groups and
organizations (George & Jones, 2000). It is therefore important to con-
sider temporal constructs at collective levels of analysis, such as dyads,
teams, departments, or organizations.
In combination, these two fundamental dimensions(1) trait/
statelike conceptual property and (2) individualcollective level of
analysiscategorize four generic types of subjective time: individual
temporal disposition, individual temporal state, collective temporal
state, and collective temporal disposition (Figure 1). We classified tem-
poral constructs across studies into these four archetypes based on
the following approaches.
2.3 |Methodology
We identified 29 temporal constructs from our sample. We extracted
the conceptualizations of each construct across studies and compiled
them to create one text file for each construct. Next, we conducted
content analyses to identify the construct's (1) trait/statelike prop-
erty and (2) individual versus collective level of analysis.
In order to code each construct's trait/statelike property, we
employed the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC) text analysis
program (Pennebaker, Boyd, Jordan, & Blackburn, 2015). LIWC analyzes
text by calculating the percentage of words belonging to a certain cate-
gory (e.g., trait) to the total words of a text file (Pennebaker et al., 2015).
This required us to create a dictionary of traitlike and statelike
properties based on an established threestage procedure (see Appen-
dix A). The final dictionary contained a set of 42 words (e.g., trait,
characteristic,and stable) for trait and a set of 38 words for state
(e.g., state,”“malleable,and fleeting). We applied this dictionary to
analyze the text file of each construct, which generated the percentages
of its traitlike and statelike properties, respectively. We then derived
an index to reflect the degree of traitstate property: the difference
between the traitlike and statelike percentages divided by the sum
of the traitlike and statelike percentages (i.e., 1 = pure trait; 1 = pure
state; 0 = equally trait and state like). This resulted in 16 traitlike con-
structs (0 < indices < 1) and 13 statelike constructs (1 < indices < 0).
With respect to levels of analysis, two raters (not authors of this
manuscript) independently coded each temporal construct according
to its individual versus collective level (1 = individual, 2 = collective;
initial ICC = .90). Coding inconsistencies were resolved by the raters,
which resulted in 15 individuallevel constructs and 14 collectivelevel
temporal constructs.
Taken together, these analyses allowed us to allocate each temporal
construct to one of the four generic types of subjective time. As shown
in Figure 1, these constructs are located along the horizontal line based
on their traitstate index values. In the meantime, they are located
above and beyond the vertical line based on their individual versus
FIGURE 1 An integrative framework for temporal constructs in organizational research. We used a dashed line to denote the traitstate
distinction of subjective time to acknowledge that it is not categorical but could vary along a continuum. The solid vertical line indicates the
categorical distinction between the individual and collective level of analysis. The temporal constructs are allocated along the horizontal line based
on their traitstate index values, and allocated along the vertical line based on the number of studies examining this construct at the individual or
collective level. The first number in the bracket following each temporal construct represents its traitstate index and the second number
represents the number of studies that have examined this construct
TABLE 1 Summary of organizational research on subjective time
Individual temporal dispositions
Constructs Representative definition Original concept Study Key findings
Consideration of future
consequences (CFC)
The extent to which
individuals base their
decisions on the immediate
versus future consequences
of their actions
Consideration of future
Strathman, Gleicher,
Boninger, & Edwards,
Development of the construct of CFC and the measure of the CFC scale
Concern with future
Joireman, Kamdar, Daniels, &
Duell, 2006
In employees with high CFC, a shortterm time horizon led to a decline in
their organizational citizenship behaviors
Concern for the future
Balliet & Ferris, 2013 In employees with higher CFC, ostracism was more negatively related to
prosocial behavior
Consideration for future
Zhang, Wang, & Pearce,
CFC was positively related to transformational leadership and in turn
leadership effectiveness, and this mediated relationship was more
positive in a more stable work environment
Individual polychronicity The extent to which
individuals prefer to be
involved with two or more
tasks or activities
Polychronicity Slocombe & Bluedorn, 1999 The congruence between individual and workunit polychronicity positively
predicted employee organizational commitment, work performance, and
perceived organizational justice
Polychronicity Bluedorn, 2002
Polychronicity was negatively related to the stress of dentists
Polychronicity Conte & Jacobs, 2003 Train operators' polychronicity was positively related to their absence,
lateness, and negatively related to their job performance
Polychronicity Conte & Gintoft, 2005 Sales employees' polychronicity positively predicted their job performance
including customer service, sales performance, and overall performance
Polychronicity Hecht & Allen, 2005 The fit between individual polychronicity and polychronic work
opportunities increased employee job satisfaction, selfefficacy, and
decreased psychological strain
Polychronicity Bluedorn, 2007
Individual polychronicity was positively related orientation to change and
tolerance for ambiguity.
Polychronicity Lindquist & Kaufman
Scarborough, 2007
Development and validation of an updated measure of individual
polychronicity (PolychronicMonochronic Tendency Scale [PMTS])
Polychronicity Agypt & Rubin, 2012 Polychronicity positively predicted employee job satisfaction when the job
was characterized by multitasking and multiskill requirements, irregular
deadlines, and schedule unpredictability
Pacing style
Early pacing
Deadline pacing
Steady pacing
Individuals' preferred pattern
of distributing their efforts
over time in working toward
Pacing style Gevers, Claessens, Van
Eerde, & Rutte, 2009
Development of a graphic measure of individual pacing style
Pacing style Gevers, Mohammed, &
Baytalskaya, 2015
Development and validation of a scale measure of Pacing Action Categories
of Effort Distribution (PACED)
Pacing style Chen & Nadkarni, 2017 CEOs' deadlineaction pacing style negatively predicted their temporal
leadership behaviors; CEOs' early action and steady action positively
predicted temporal leadership
TABLE 1 (Continued)
Individual temporal dispositions
Constructs Representative definition Original concept Study Key findings
Synchrony preference Individuals' willingness to
adapt their pace and rhythm
within social interactions to
create synchrony with
Synchrony preference Leroy, Shipp, Blount, & Licht,
Development of the construct of synchrony preference and measure of
Synchrony Preference Scale (SPS); synchrony preference increased
employees' flexible pacing behaviors, interpersonal facilitation,
contribution to team synchrony, and job dedication; synchrony
preference increased employees' contribution to team performance,
when task interdependence was high
Temporal depth
Past depth
Future depth
The temporal distances into
the past and future that
individuals typically
consider when
contemplating events that
have happened, may have
happened, or may happen
Future orientation Das & Teng, 1998
Individuals' nearand distantfuture orientation, in tandem with risk
averting and seeking propensity, yielded four types of risk behaviors that
characterized different types of entrepreneurs and nonentrepreneurs
Future orientation Das & Teng, 2001
Top managers' nearand distantfuture orientations would predict different
strategic risk behaviors, depending on their risk propensity (averting or
seeking) and decision context (gain or loss)
Temporal myopia Miller, 2002 Managers' temporal myopia predicted the errors occurring in their
investment decisions on technology
Temporal depth Bluedorn, 2002
Development of the construct of temporal depth and a scale measure of
temporal depth index (TDI)
Temporal depth Bluedorn & Martin, 2008 Past and future temporal depths were positively correlated; Entrepreneurs'
future temporal depth was negatively related to life stress.
Shorttermism Marginson & McAulay, 2008 Managers' individual experience of role ambiguity and their work group
members' shorttermism were positively related to their shorttermism
Temporal distance Cojuharenco, Patient, &
Bashshur, 2011
Employees' future distance was positively related to their concerns about
interactional injustice
Temporal orientation Martin et al., 2016 Firm slack and CEOs' current wealth positively predicted CEOs' longterm
orientation; CEOs' prospective wealth negatively predicted their long
term orientation
Temporal depth Nadkarni, Chen, & Chen,
Executives' past and future temporal depths were differently related to the
organizations' competitive aggressiveness depending on the industry
Temporal orientation Lin, Shi, Prescott, & Yang,
Top managers' longterm orientation positively predicted strategic decision
making comprehensiveness, decisionmaking speed, and decisionmaking
Temporal focus
Past focus
Present focus
Future focus
The extent to which
individuals characteristically
devote their attention to
perceptions of the past,
present, and future
Time perspective Waller, Conte, Gibson, &
Carpenter, 2001
Individuals' future and present time perspectives, combined with time
urgency, yielded four temporal prototypes that would predict their
deadline perceptions and subsequent timeoriented behaviors
Future focus Buehler & Griffin, 2003 Individuals' future focus led to an optimistic prediction bias about task
completion time
Future orientation Fried & Slowik, 2004
Individuals' future time orientation would influence their preferences for
challenging goals and prioritization of workand nonworkrelated goals
Temporal focus Foo, Uy, & Baron, 2009 Entrepreneurs' state positive affect positively predicted their state future
temporal focus, which increased their subsequent effort on venture tasks
beyond what was immediately required
TABLE 1 (Continued)
Individual temporal dispositions
Constructs Representative definition Original concept Study Key findings
Temporal focus Shipp et al., 2009 Conceptualization of temporal focus construct and development of
Temporal Focus Scale (TFS) measure
Temporal focus Shipp & Jansen, 2011
Employee temporal focus would influence their perceptions of person
environment fit
Temporal orientation Cojuharenco et al., 2011 Employee future focus positively predicted concerns about distributive
justice, and present focus positively predicted concerns about
interactional injustice
Future orientation Balliet & Ferris, 2013 For employees with higher future orientation, ostracism was more
negatively related to prosocial behavior
Temporal focus Nadkarni & Chen, 2014 CEOs' past, present, and future foci were differently related to their
organizations' rate of new product introduction (NPI) depending on the
environmental dynamism
Time perspective Saraiva & Iglesias, 2016 Present focus and future focus were positively related to individuals'
competitive behavior, but only when the individuals were under time
Time perspective Przepiorka, 2016 Entrepreneurs had higher future time perspective than nonentrepreneurs;
entrepreneurs' future time perspective was positively correlated with
entrepreneurial success
Time bifurcation The ability of individuals to
view present and future
events with entirely
different mindsets
Time bifurcation Miller & Sardais, 2015
Entrepreneurs' ability to bifurcate time made them capable of embracing
paradoxical requirements for new venture development, including being
both optimistic and realistic and being both flexible and persistent
Time urgency Individuals constant concern
with the passage of time
and the general feeling of
being chronically hurried
Time urgency Landy, Rastegary, Thayer, &
Colvin, 1991
Development of the time urgency construct and its measure (Behaviorally
Anchored Rating Scales [BARS])
Time urgency Conte, Landy, & Mathieu,
Established the convergent and discriminant validity of time urgency
Time urgency Conte, Mathieu, & Landy,
Established the nomological and predictive validity of time urgency
Time urgency Waller et al., 2001
Individuals' time urgency, combined with time perspective, yielded four
temporal prototypes that would predict their deadline perceptions and
subsequent timeoriented behaviors
Individual general hurriedness Jansen & KristofBrown,
The fit between individual and workgroup hurriedness positively predicted
employee job satisfaction and helping behavior
Chronic time pressure Szollos, 2009 Conceptualizations of chronic time pressure
Time urgency Chen & Nadkarni, 2017 CEO time urgency positively predicted temporal leadership behaviors and in
turn firm corporate entrepreneurship
TABLE 1 (Continued)
Individual temporal dispositions
Constructs Representative definition Original concept Study Key findings
Individual temporal states
Constructs Representative definition Original concept Study Key findings
Future time perspective
The general concern of an
individual for and
consideration of one's
Future time perspective Bal, Jansen, van der Velde,
de Lange, & Rousseau,
FTP positively predicted employees' developmental psychological contract
fulfillment; when employees had high FTP, their economic and
socioemotional psychological contract fulfillment related more positively
to employee obligations
Future time perspective Kooij & Van De Voorde,
Losses in subjective general health negatively predicted openended FTP
but positively predicted limited FTP; openended FTP increased growth
motives, and limited FTP increased generativity motives; past open
ended FTP positively predicted future openended FTP via increased
subjective general health
Future time perspective Baltes, Wynne, Sirabian,
Krenn, & de Lange, 2014
Older workers' FTP positively predicted their promotion focus, which in
turn positively predicted the use of selection, optimization, and
compensation coping behaviors at work
Future time perspective Korff, Biemann, & Voelpel,
Organization's human resource management systems and motivation
enhancing practices were positively related to employees' FTP; employee
FTP positively predicted job satisfaction and affective organizational
Future time perspective Rudolph et al., 2018
Individual sociodemographic factors, personality, affective traits, and
agentic traits predicted FTP; FTP predicted individuals' achievement
related outcomes, wellbeing, health behavior, riskrelated behavior, and
retirement planningrelated outcomes
Occupational FTP (OFTP) Individuals' perceptions of
their future in the
employment context
Occupational future time
Weikamp & Göritz, 2015 Individuals' OFTP decreased over time, and the decrease was faster among
younger people than among older people
Occupational future time
Rudolph et al., 2018
Individual characteristics (age, job tenure, organizational tenure, education,
and physical health), and job complexity and autonomy predicted OFTP;
OFTP predicted employee job attitudes, motivations, performance, and
Perceived control of time
Individuals' sense of mastery
over how they allocate their
Perceived control of time Macan, 1994 Time management training and the preference for organization positively
predicted employees' PCT; employee PCT predicted higher job
satisfaction and fewer jobinduced tensions
Perceived control of time Claessens, Van Eerde, Rutte,
& Roe, 2004
Planning behavior and job autonomy increased, and workload decreased
employees' PCT; PCT reduced employees' work strain and increased job
satisfaction and performance
Perceived temporal flexibility Evans, Kunda, & Barley,
Contractor workers perceived themselves to be free from organizations'
normative and coercive control over time, but the perceived temporal
flexibility rarely led them to schedule time in a more flexible way
TABLE 1 (Continued)
Individual temporal dispositions
Constructs Representative definition Original concept Study Key findings
Time pressure
The extent to which
individuals feel that they
need to work at a pace
faster than usual or have
insufficient time to finish
their tasks at work
Timebased pressure Kinicki & Vecchio, 1994 Managers' experienced time pressure positively correlated with the average
leadermember exchange quality with their subordinates but negatively
correlated with the variance in the leadermember exchange quality with
their subordinates
Time pressure Ross & Wieland, 1996 Time pressure inhibited managers' perception of common ground in
negotiations and in turn affected their choice of mediating strategies
(pressing, compensating, integrating, and inaction) in the negotiation
Time famine Perlow, 1999
Constant interruptions from workgroup members led to employees'
experience of time famine, which inhibited the individual employee's
Time pressure De Dreu, 2003 High time pressure led individuals to process information in a less
systematic way and rely more on cognitive heuristics when making
judgments in negotiations
Experience of time scarcity KaufmanScarborough &
Lindquist, 2003
Individuals' experience of time scarcity predicted inefficient mental actions,
processes, and planning
Perceived time pressure Kobbeltvedt, Brun, & Laberg,
Time pressure experienced by cadets led them to make less favorable
rescueoperation plans, in terms of lower security, probability of success,
and quality
Time pressure Wu, Parker, & de Jong, 2014 T ime pressure was positively related to employees' innovation behavior;
when time pressure was high, employees' need for cognition was less
positively related to innovation behavior
Perceived time pressure Beck & Schmidt, 2013 Individuals' perceived time pressure positively predicted state mastery goal
orientation and negatively predicted state performanceavoid goal
orientation and state performanceprove goal orientation
Time pressure Saqib & Chan, 2015 Time pressure led individuals to be risk seeking over gains and risk averse
over losses
Time pressure Saraiva & Iglesias, 2016 Individuals' feeling of time pressure was positively related to their
competitive behavior
Time pressure Prem, Ohly, Kubicek, &
Korunka, 2017
Time pressure experienced by employees in the morning positively
predicted the daylevel challenge appraisal of the work situation and in
turn their learning at the end of the workday
Time pressure Stiglbauer, 2017 When job autonomy was high, time pressure increased work engagement
(WE) in employees with an external locus of control (LOC) but decreased
WE in employees with an internal LOC
Creative time pressure The extent to which
individuals feel they have
insufficient time to develop
creative ideas at work
Creative time pressure Baer & Oldham, 2006 Employees' experienced creative time pressure had an invertedUshaped
relation with their creativity, when employees received a high level of
support for creativity at work
Creative time pressure Sijbom, Anseel,
Crommelinck, De
Beuckelaer, & De
Stobbeleir, 2018
When creative time pressure was low, the relationship between feedback
source variety and employee creative performance increased
exponentially, such that employees exhibited greater creative
performance at higher levels of feedback source variety
TABLE 1 (Continued)
Individual temporal dispositions
Constructs Representative definition Original concept Study Key findings
Anticipated time pressure The time pressure individuals
anticipate on a future task
Anticipated time pressure Leroy & Glomb, 2018 When interrupted while performing a task, individuals' anticipated time
pressure upon resuming the interrupted task increased attention residue
(thoughts about the previous task while performing the new task) and in
turn decreased performance on the interrupting task
Time structure and
purpose (TSP)
The perception of one's use of
time to be structured and
Time structure and purpose Mudrack, 1999 Established the nomological validity of time structure and purpose
Temporal frame Individuals' construal of the
future regarding the
direction of its advent
Temporal frame Crilly, 2017 CEOs' egomoving frame (i.e., the person moves toward the future),
compared with a timemoving frame (future moves toward the person),
was associated with a stronger focus on the shortterm investment
Time sensitivity Individuals' attentional focus
on certain aspects of time
Time sensitivity Ebert & Prelec, 2007 Various experimental manipulations (e.g., a visual cue for time intervals to
future time) increased individuals' time sensitivity; time pressure
manipulation decreased time sensitivity; time sensitivity reduced the
discounting of reward in the near future and increased the discounting of
reward in the far future
Timelessness Individuals' experience of
transcending time
Timelessness Mainemelis, 2001
Various personal (e.g., intrinsic motivation), task (e.g., immediate feedback),
and work environment (e.g., autonomy) factors would predict the
experience of timelessness at work; timelessness would increase
employee creativity at work
Collective temporal states
Constructs Representative definition Original concept Study Key findings
(Collective) time pressure Team members' perception of
the scarcity of time
available to complete tasks
Perceived time pressure Maruping, Venkatesh,
Thatcher, & Patel, 2015
Teams' perceived time pressure had an invertedU relationship, with an
overall negative trend, with team transition, action, and interpersonal
process, and this relationship was attenuated by strong team temporal
Shared temporal
cognition (STC)
Team members' shared
understanding of the time
related aspects of executing
collective tasks
Shared cognition on time Gevers, Rutte, & van Eerde,
Group communication processes (e.g., goal setting) would predict team
shared cognitions on time; team shared cognition on time would be
associated with the team's coordinated action
Shared temporal cognition Gevers, Rutte, & van Eerde,
The similarity in individual pacing styles and the exchange of temporal
reminder increased teams' shared temporal cognitions; shared temporal
cognition inhibited deadline meeting when the team had an averaged
deadline pacing style but promoted deadline meeting when the team had
an averaged earlyaction pacing style
TABLE 1 (Continued)
Individual temporal dispositions
Constructs Representative definition Original concept Study Key findings
Temporal consensus Gevers & Peeters, 2009 Members' dissimilarity in conscientiousness negatively predicted the team's
temporal consensus; team temporal consensus positively predicted
member satisfaction partially via coordinated action
Shared temporal cognition Mohammed & Nadkarni,
Team shared temporal cognition positively predicted team performance;
when shared temporal cognition was low, team polychronicity diversity
negatively predicted team performance
Temporal consensus Gevers, Rispens, & Li, 2016 Team members' pacing style diversity negatively predicted the team's
temporal consensus; temporal consensus positively predicted team
Temporal coordination The team processes of
adjusting temporal aspects
of workflows such as to
schedule deadlines,
coordinate paces of effort,
and specify time allocation
Temporal coordination McGrath, 1991
Workgroups would encounter three general temporal problems (temporal
ambiguity; conflicting temporal interests and requirements; and scarcity
of temporal resources) that require their temporal coordination
Temporal coordination MontoyaWeiss, Massey, &
Song, 2001
Temporal coordination weakened the negative effect of avoidance conflict
management behavior but strengthened the negative effect of
compromise conflict management behavior on the performance of global
virtual teams
Temporal reflexivity The extent to which
organizational actors
question, articulate, and
rethink the temporal
assumptions anchoring the
organizational practices
Temporal reflexivity Orlikowski & Yates, 2002
Temporal reflexivity facilitated organizational actors producing and
reproducing various temporal structures to guide, orient, and coordinate
their ongoing activities, which in turn shaped the temporal rhythm and
form of their daily practices
Temporal reflexivity Reinecke & Ansari, 2015
Temporal reflexivity helped to reconstruct the organization's model to
bridge the competing temporal structures of marketbased model (i.e.,
linear, clockoriented time) and developmentbased model (i.e., nonlinear,
processoriented model)
Temporal shifts The changes in a collective's
experiences of time such as
the sense of time pressure
Temporal shifts Staudenmayer, Tyre, &
Perlow, 2002
Unusual organizational events triggered temporal shifts; temporal shifts
facilitated organizational change by creating a trigger of change,
providing resources needed for change, acting as a coordinating
mechanism, and serving as a credible symbol of the need to change
Time consciousness The extent to which group
members pay attention to
time such as the total time
limit of and the time left for
the group task
Awareness of time and
Gersick, 1988
The midpoint of project calendars increased teams' awareness of time and
deadlines, which changed the team's taskpacing behavior toward
Attention to time Gersick, 1989 The midpoint of allotted time for creative projects increased teams'
attention to time, which in turn changed the team's pacing patterns
Time mentions Lim & Murnighan, 1994 During a dyadlevel negotiation task, negotiators' explicit mentions of time
were more frequent in the second half than in the first half of negotiation
Attention to time Waller, ZellmerBruhn, &
Giambatista, 2002
Groups steadily increased attention to time as the task deadlines
approached; changes in deadlines increased groups' attention to time
TABLE 1 (Continued)
Individual temporal dispositions
Constructs Representative definition Original concept Study Key findings
Time awareness Chang, Bordia, & Duck, 2003 Time awareness of project groups increased in both a linear and a nonlinear
pattern (i.e., a significant increase after the midpoint of allotted task
deadline) as the deadline approached
Time consciousness Labianca, Moon, & Watt,
Atypical starting times increased task groups' time consciousness compared
with prototypical starting times
Collective temporal dispositions
Constructs Representative definition Original concept Study Key findings
Team polychronicity The extent to which group
members collectively prefer
to be engaged in multiple
tasks simultaneously
Team polychronicity Kaplan, 2008
Various individual factors (e.g., individual polychronicity and time urgency
of team members) and organizational formalization would influence team
polychronicity; team polychronicity would affect team effectiveness
depending on task and contextual factors (e.g., time constraints)
(Top management) team
Souitaris & Maestro, 2010 Top management team (TMT) polychronicity increased strategic decision
speed and in turn the organization's financial performance; TMT
polychronicity decreased strategic decision comprehensiveness and in
turn the organization's financial performance; overall, TMT polychronicity
positively predicted the organization's financial performance
Team temporal diversity
The variation in team
members' timebased
individual characteristics
Temporal diversity Mohammed & Harrison,
Team diversity of temporal differences would interact with team task types
and task complexity to predict team performance
Chronotype diversity The diversity in members'
biological dispositions
toward the optimal timing
of daily periods of activity
and rest
Chronotype diversity Volk, Pearsall, Christian, &
Becker, 2017
Chronotype diversity would inhibit team coordination, information
processing, and backing up behaviors, but these effects would become
positive when teams have high chronotype recognition; chronotype
diversity would increase relationship conflict and reduce team cohesion
via the formation of chronotype subgroups
Pacing style diversity The diversity in members'
pacing styles
Pacing style diversity Mohammed & Nadkarni,
Pacing style diversity was more positively related to team performance
when team temporal leadership was stronger
Pacing style diversity Gevers et al., 2016 Pacing style diversity increased team collaboration when both team action
planning and temporal familiarity were high, but it decreased
collaboration when either action planning or temporal familiarity was low
Polychronicity diversity The diversity in members'
Polychronicity diversity Mohammed & Nadkarni,
Polychronicity diversity negatively predicted team performance, when team
shared temporal cognition (STC) was low or when temporal transactive
memory system (TMS) was high
Temporal focus diversity The diversity in members'
temporal focus
Heterogeneity of time
West & Meyer, 1998 Heterogeneity of future time orientations in TMTs was positively related to
changes in the strategic intensity of new ventures
Time perspective
Gibson, Waller, Carpenter, &
Conte, 2007
Team national cultural diversity would increase, whereas firm global
integration and environmental volatility would decrease, time perspective
diversity in multinational organization (MNO) teams; time perspective
diversity would increase their innovativeness of knowledge creation but
decreased the speed of knowledge creation and transfer
TABLE 1 (Continued)
Individual temporal dispositions
Constructs Representative definition Original concept Study Key findings
Time perspective diversity Mohammed & Nadkarni,
Future time perspective diversity was not related to team performance, nor
did it interact with team temporal leadership to predict team
Time urgency diversity The diversity in members' time
Time urgency diversity Mohammed & Angell, 2004 T ime urgency diversity was less positively related to team relationship
conflict when team processes including leadership, coordination, and
communication were more frequent
Time urgency diversity Mohammed & Nadkarni,
Time urgency diversity was more positively related to team performance
when team temporal leadership was stronger
Team temporal focus The aggregated temporal
focus of team members
(TMT) future time orientation West & Meyer, 1998 Greater average future time orientations in TMT members positively
predicted changes in the strategic direction of the organization
Team time urgency The aggregated time urgency
of members within a team
Aggregate group hurriedness Jansen & KristofBrown,
When individual and workgroup hurriedness were congruent, employees'
psychological strain increased with increasing hurriedness; employees
were less strained in groups when the aggregate group hurriedness was
lower than the individual hurriedness
Temporal schemata Teams' shared cognitive
frameworks that give form
and meaning to experience
about time and deadline
Temporal schemata Labianca et al., 2005 Task starting time aligning with team temporal schemata decreased the
team's errors in calculating the remaining time relative to deadline and
promoted the team's time consciousness, earlier transition from planning
phase to action phase, and team performance
Temporal transactive
memory systems (TMS)
The set of unique knowledge
domains held by specific
members combined with a
shared understanding of
who knows what and when
that knowledge is needed
Temporal transactive memory
Mohammed & Nadkarni,
Temporal TMS amplified the negative effects of team polychronicity
diversity on team performance, in a way that when temporal TMS was
high, polychronicity diversity was negatively related to team performance
Temporal familiarity Gevers et al., 2016 When teams' temporal familiarity and action planning were high, team
pacing style diversity was positively related to team collaboration
(Organizational) temporal
An organization's ability to
attend to multiple
conceptions of time and
effectively sequence, pace,
and combine planned
change processes
Temporal capability Huy, 2001
An organization's temporal capability would facilitate the enactment of
planned largescale organizational change that involves a significant
alteration of many organizational elements, such as formal structures,
work systems, beliefs, and social relationship
Organizational temporal
An organization's cultural
norms, beliefs, and values
regarding how time is to be
perceived and understood
within the organization
Sociotemporal norms Blount & Janicik, 2001
Temporal norms embedded in an organization's culture would influence the
organizational actors' perceptions and construal of the organization's
temporal structure such as schedules, rhythms, and routines
Shared beliefs about
Granqvist & Gustafsson,
Organizational actors' temporal institutional work (i.e., how they construct,
navigate, and capitalize on timing norms in their attempts to change
institutions) created shared beliefs of temporality
TABLE 1 (Continued)
Individual temporal dispositions
Constructs Representative definition Original concept Study Key findings
Emphasis on quality over
The degree to which the
organizational culture
emphasizing the importance
of quality (over) speed of
Time orientation emphasizing
quality over speed
Moyle, 1995 An organization's temporal culture emphasizing quality over speed was
positively related to the employees' wellbeing and job satisfaction
Organization's emphasis on
Perlow, Okhuysen, &
Repenning, 2002
The organization's emphasis on speed created a speed trapwhere
organizational actors believed they had to make ever faster decisions to
Polychronicity The degree to which the
organizational culture
prefers polychronicity
Organizational culture of
polychronic values
Bluedorn, Kalliath, Strube, &
Martin, 1999
The development of the measure of polychronicity as a dimension of
organizational culture (Inventory of Polychronic Values; IPV)
Temporal depth The degree to which the
organizational culture
focuses on short and long
temporal horizon
Shortterm versus longterm
Das & Teng, 2000
The conflict between organizations' shortterm and longterm orientations
would be negatively associated with the stability of the organization's
strategic alliances
Organizational culture of long
versus shortterm
Zahra, Hayton, & Salvato,
An organizational culture toward a longterm orientation positively
predicted the firm's entrepreneurship, whereas a shortterm orientation
negatively predicted entrepreneurship, and these relationships were
stronger in family firms than in nonfamily firms
Longterm orientation Lumpkin & Brigham, 2011
The conceptualization and construct development of longterm orientation
in family firms
Temporal orientation Souder & Bromiley, 2012 Firm performance above managerial aspirations and executives' longterm
orientation increased the time horizon of the organization's temporal
Temporal orientation Wang & Bansal, 2012 Organizations' longterm orientation positively predicted its financial
performance; in organizations with a longterm orientation, corporate
social responsibility (CSR) activities increased firm financial performance,
whereas in organizations with a shortterm orientation, CSR activities
decreased financial performance
Temporal myopia Vuori & Huy, 2016
An organization's top managers' externally focused fear and middle
managers' internally focused fear led to the organization's temporal
Longterm orientation Flammer & Bansal, 2017 The adoption of executives' longterm incentives increased the
organizations' longterm orientation; organizational longterm orientation
positively predicted firm value, operating performance, and investment in
longterm strategies
collective level categorical distinction. We then allocated the individual
level and collectivelevel constructs, respectively, along the vertical line
based on the number of studies examining each construct, which
approximately reflects the frequency of research on this phenomenon
at the individual versus collective levels. Table 1 summarized the tempo-
ral constructs and the key findings in each study.
In this section, we introduce the four archetypes of subjective time
(individual temporal disposition, individual temporal state, collective
temporal state, and collective temporal disposition). We review and
illustrate the conceptualizations of the specific temporal constructs
belonging to each of these four archetypes, based on how frequently
the constructs have been studied and how much they reflect similar
temporal phenomena.
3.1 |Individual temporal disposition
The temporal constructs in quadrant I (Figure 1) represent varied
forms of individuallevel, traitlike subjective time in organizations,
which capture relatively consistent and enduring ways of thinking
about or using time. These constructs are relatively stable across
time and situations. Scholars have used the term temporal personal-
ityto describe such forms of subjective time, which are like finger-
prints,unique to each individual (Ancona et al., 2001; Chen &
Nadkarni, 2017). Thus, we generally refer to this type of subjective
time as individual temporal disposition. It denotes the characteristic
ways in which individuals subjectively use, understand, value, or
think about time.
Temporal focus and temporal depth reflect relatively stable cognitive
dispositions (i.e., how individuals think about time) in relation to the
past, present, and future, but they capture orthogonal temporal fea-
turesthe former emphasizes the direction of a temporal frame,
whereas the latter highlights its length (Shipp et al., 2009). Although
either construct has been studied frequently, the aforementioned
jinglejangle fallacies are prevalent in this research. As shown in
Table 1, the same label of (future) temporal orientationwas used
to describe both temporal focus (e.g., Cojuharenco et al., 2011; Fried
& Slowik, 2004) and temporal depth (e.g., Das & Teng, 1998, 2001;
Lin et al., 2018)the jingle fallacy. In the meantime, different labels
such as time perspective(e.g., Przepiorka, 2016; Waller et al.,
2001) were used to describe temporal focus;temporal distance
(Cojuharenco et al., 2011), shorttermism(Marginson & McAulay,
2008), and temporal myopia(Miller, 2002) were employed to refer
to temporal depththe jangle fallacy. To alleviate those jinglejangle
fallacies, we adopted Shipp et al. (2009) and Bluedorn (2002)'s con-
ceptualizations to clarify the definitions of these two constructs (see
Table 1). Specifically, temporal focus represents the extent to which
individuals characteristically devote attention to the past, present,
and future, and these three temporal foci are independent dimensions
TABLE 1 (Continued)
Individual temporal dispositions
Constructs Representative definition Original concept Study Key findings
Temporal focus The degree to which the
organizational culture
focuses on the past,
present, and future
(Organizational) time
Moyle, 1995 The organizational culture emphasizing a strong future orientation was
positively associated with the employees' wellbeing and job satisfaction
Organizational time
OforiDankwa & Julian,
Different organizational time orientations would be differently related to
the organization's internal processes as well as the response to and
enactment of its environment
Organizational culture of time
Fried & Slowik, 2004
Employees in a strong futuristic organizational culture would be more
inclined to be involved in nonchallenge tasks as transitory learning
experiences for future challenging tasks
theoretical papers;
book chapters;
qualitative study;
review or metaanalysis
rather than a single dimension lying along a continuum (Shipp et al.,
2009). Temporal depth refers to the distance into the past and the
future from the present that people consider when contemplating
events (Bluedorn, 2002). Individuals' past and future temporal depths
were shown to be positively correlated (Bluedorn, 2002; Bluedorn &
Martin, 2008).
As Figure 1 presents, time urgency and individual polychronicity
reflect relatively strong individual dispositions concerning the use of
time. Time urgency captures how fast individuals generally experience
the passage of time, and those with high time urgency tend to feel and
behave chronically hurried across situations (Conte et al., 1995; Landy
et al., 1991). Individual polychronicity denotes individuals' proclivity
toward the degree of simultaneity in conducting multiple work tasks
(Slocombe & Bluedorn, 1999). Our review shows that researchers
have used relatively consistent construct labels and conceptualizations
to examine time urgency and individual polychronicity (e.g., Agypt &
Rubin, 2012; Hecht & Allen, 2005; Waller et al., 2001).
Similarly, existing research has been largely consistent in studying
the temporal constructs of consideration of future consequences (CFC)
and pacing style yet regarded them as less traitlike than time urgency
and individual polychronicity (Figure 1). CFC represents the extent to
which individuals think about the future consequences of their current
behavior (Strathman et al., 1994). Although CFC involves a future
focus, it emphasizes the intrapersonal strugglebetween the present
and future and thus one's tendency to resolve this dilemma in favor of
one of the other (Joireman et al., 2006; Strathman et al., 1994). Pacing
style describes a person's preferred pattern of allocating efforts in
working toward deadlineswhether the most time is spent at the
beginning (early pacing), at the end (deadline pacing), or whether time
is spent evenly (steady pacing) (Gevers et al., 2009). Scholars have
considered pacing style as less than a stable part of a person's person-
alitybut more stable than transitory states(Gevers et al., 2006;
Gevers et al., 2015, p. 503).
More recently, researchers have developed new constructs to
capture other aspects of individual temporal disposition. Leroy et al.
(2015, p. 761) used synchrony preference to describe the willingness to
adapt one's pace and rhythm to synchronize with others and defined
it as a stable individual difference.Time bifurcation denotes the indi-
vidual ability to consider present and future events with entirely
different mindsets (Miller & Sardais, 2015). Similar to the nature of cog-
nitive ability, time bifurcation tends to capture a relatively traitlike
characteristic of individuals (Chen et al., 2000; Miller & Sardais, 2015).
In sum, as shown in Table 1, OB research has made significant
progress in developing and validating a variety of individual temporal
dispositional constructs, with emerging research continuing to explore
new dispositions.
3.2 |Individual temporal state
In contrast to temporal dispositions that represent relatively stable
and enduring individual characteristics, some other forms of subjective
time are more fleeting and malleable to situational influences (Ancona
et al., 2001). We refer to such statelike, individuallevel temporal con-
structs in quadrant II (Figure 1) as individual temporal states.In gen-
eral, individual temporal states reflect how individuals temporarily
perceive and acquire their senses about time through situated experi-
ences (Blount & Leroy, 2007). Grounded in a situational perspective,
studies have largely shown how organizational environments act as
situational determinants to shape individual temporal states
(Table 1).
Our review suggested that time pressure is one of the most widely
studied individual temporal states (Figure 1). Although there are other
labels including perceived time pressure(Beck & Schmidt, 2013),
time famine(Perlow, 1999), and experience of time scarcity
(KaufmanScarborough & Lindquist, 2003), the phenomenon of time
pressure generally refers to the extent to which individuals feel they
have insufficient time to finish work (Kinicki & Vecchio, 1994;
Stiglbauer, 2017; Wu et al., 2014). Notably, the subjective, perceptual
nature of time pressure makes it distinct from time constraintas an
externally imposed, objective limit of time, which often serves as an
antecedent of employees' time pressure at work (Ross & Wieland,
1996; Saqib & Chan, 2015). Moreover, researchers have examined
time pressure concerning the specific task of creativitycreative time
pressure (e.g., Baer & Oldham, 2006). Recently, Leroy and Glomb
(2018) proposed anticipated time pressure to describe one's perceived
time pressure anticipated for a future task. Our review indicated that
time pressure is a highly statelike construct, with research showing
that it is often shaped by situational factors such as interruptions at
work and susceptible to experimental manipulations (e.g., De Dreu,
2003; Perlow, 1999).
Another frequently studied individual temporal state is FTP,
defined as a general concern for and corresponding consideration of
one's future,which can be conceptualized both as a trait and as a
state(Kooij et al., 2018, p. 3). Specifically, some scholars have consid-
ered it a flexible, cognitivemotivationalstate (Bal et al., 2010; Korff
et al., 2017). Yet, other research referred to FTP as an individual differ-
ence and showed that the construct has a certain degree of stability
over time (Kooij et al., 2018; Weikamp & Göritz, 2015). In a recent
metaanalysis, Kooij et al. (2018) integrated prior conceptualizations
of FTP and decoupled its dimensionalities into different traitlike and
statelike subdimensions. As a specific aspect of FTP, the occupational
FTP focuses on employees' consideration of the future in the employ-
ment context (Rudolph et al., 2018).
Furthermore, there is a notable paucity of research examining
employees' perceived control of time (PCT), the sense of mastery over
how one allocates one's time (Macan, 1994), and time structure and
purpose (TSP), the degree to which individuals perceive their use of
time to be structured and purposive (Mudrack, 1999). These two con-
structs are commonly related to how employees perceive their use of
time in the workplace. Research has shown that they are shaped by
organizational procedures and task characteristics such as job auton-
omy, therefore reflecting malleable states that are subject to environ-
mental influences (Claessens et al., 2004; Evans et al., 2004).
Finally, emerging research has investigated several other forms of
statelike subjective time. Time sensitivity captures individuals'
temporary attention to certain aspects of time, such as duration, time
intervals, and timing (Ebert & Prelec, 2007). The authors conceptual-
ized time sensitivity as a cognitive state enabled by sufficient motiva-
tion, time, and cognitive resourcesand demonstrated that individuals'
time sensitivity is susceptible to attention manipulations (Ebert &
Prelec, 2007, p. 1424). In contrast to the attention to time, timeless-
ness was proposed to describe the experience of transcending time
and defined as a motivated statecapturing the momentary loss of
sense of time because of employees' total involvement in the task at
hand (Mainemelis, 2001). Last, temporal frame represents one's con-
strual of the future in relation to the direction of its adventwhether
the person is moving toward the future (egomoving frame) or the
future is moving toward the person (timemoving frame) (Crilly,
2017). Based on a cognitivelinguistic lens, Crilly (2017) argued that
temporal frame reflects how individuals make sense of time regarding
how time is perceived spatially, which is distinct from the stable indi-
vidual characteristics of temporal focus.
Overall, studies on individual temporal state have heavily centered
on the constructs of time pressure and FTP (Table 1). Yet, researchers
have uncovered other meaningful individual temporal state phenom-
ena at work (e.g., perceived control of time, time sensitivity, and time-
lessness), which call for more scholarly attention in the future.
3.3 |Collective temporal state
The temporal constructs located in quadrant III of Figure 1 represent
the statelike subjective time of a collective unit. We refer to these
constructs as collective temporal state.Similar to individual temporal
states, they are flexible over time and malleable to situational influ-
ences (George & Jones, 2000). Collective temporal states involve
shared perceptions as well as interactive processes of a higher level
unit with regard to the subjective experiences of time (Ancona et al.,
2001; McGrath, 1991).
The constructs of time consciousness,shared temporal cognition
(STC), (collective) time pressure, and temporal shifts generally capture
shared temporal perceptions. Time consciousness denotes the extent
to which group members collectively pay attention to time, such as
the total time limit and the remaining time of group tasks (Labianca
et al., 2005). Although scholars have used other labels including atten-
tion to time(Gersick, 1989; Waller et al., 2002) and time awareness
(Chang et al., 2003), we adopted Labianca et al. (2005)'s clearly defined
construct of time consciousnessto describe this phenomenon.
Research has generally shown that groups differ in the attention they
pay to time as they progress through the timeline of group tasks or pro-
jects, and thus time consciousness largely represents a flexible and mal-
leable state (Chang et al., 2003; Gersick, 1988; Lim & Murnighan, 1994).
STC captures team members' shared understanding of the tempo-
ral aspects of executing team tasks (Gevers et al., 2006; Mohammed
& Nadkarni, 2014), which has been attached with other labels, such
as temporal consensus(e.g., Gevers & Peeters, 2009) and shared
cognition on time(Gevers et al., 2004). As shown in Figure 1, STC
reflects a relatively statelike collective temporal state, with research
demonstrating that it is shaped by the diversities of members' pacing
style and the personality trait of conscientiousness (Gevers et al.,
2009; Gevers et al., 2016).
Comparatively, (collective) time pressure and temporal shifts have
drawn much less scholarly attention. Only a recent study has evi-
denced that teams collectively experience (collective) time pressure at
workmembers' shared perception of the scarcity of time available
to complete team tasks (Maruping et al., 2015). Using an inductive
approach, Staudenmayer et al. (2002, p. 583) focused on the changing
experiences of collective temporal perceptions triggered by unusual
organizational events such as production shutdown; accordingly, the
authors proposed the construct of temporal shifts to emphasize
changes in a collective's experience of time,including the percep-
tions of time pressure, time horizons, sense of competing time
demands, and sense of control over time.
Furthermore, our review suggests thatalthough conceptualized as
less statelike than shared temporal perceptionsthe interactive
processes of a collective in relation to subjective time experiences
and perceptions also reflect collective temporal states (Figure 1). The
constructs of temporal coordination and temporal reflexivity capture such
interactive processes. At the team level, temporal coordination describes
how members collectively adjust the temporal aspects of workflows by
scheduling deadlines, coordinating paces, and specifying time alloca-
tions in team tasks (McGrath, 1991; MontoyaWeiss et al., 2001). At
the organizational level, temporal reflexivity captures the collective pro-
cess of organizational actors questioning, articulating, and rethinking
the temporal assumptions anchoring organizational practices (Reinecke
& Ansari, 2015). Research indicates that temporal reflexivity can be
triggered by conflicts between an organization's marketand process
based models or shaped by the organization's daily ongoing practices
(Orlikowski & Yates, 2002; Reinecke & Ansari, 2015).
Overall, despite the growth of research on collective temporal
states, some constructs have only been considered by theoretical or
qualitative works (e.g., temporal shifts and temporal reflexivity). Future
OB studies may offer more quantitative evidence to promote the
validity and generalizability of these temporal constructs.
3.4 |Collective temporal disposition
We use collective temporal dispositionto describe the traitlike,
collectivelevel temporal constructs located in quadrant IV (Figure 1).
Collective temporal dispositions represent a collective unit's subjective
beliefs, values, or capabilities about time, which are relatively stable
and immune to situational changes, thus representing specific tempo-
ral characteristics of the collective unit. They reflect both the compo-
sitions of the unit members' individual temporal dispositions and the
unique, enduring temporal characteristics of the collective unit as a
whole (Mohammed & Harrison, 2013; Schriber & Gutek, 1987).
At the team level, the most widely studied construct of collective
temporal disposition is team temporal diversitythe variance in team
members' individual temporal dispositions including time urgency
(e.g., Mohammed & Angell, 2004), polychronicity (Mohammed &
Nadkarni, 2014), pacing style (e.g., Gevers et al., 2016), temporal focus
(Mohammed & Nadkarni, 2011), and chronotype (i.e., biological predis-
positions toward the optimal timing of daily periods of activity and
rest; Volk et al., 2017). Because these forms of team temporal diver-
sity generally denote persistent differences in how members think
about and value time(Mohammed & Harrison, 2013, p. 244), they
reflect a team's stable temporal characteristics.
Some other studies have focused on the shared or average tempo-
ral dispositions of teams. Based on a cultural perspective, Souitaris and
Maestro (2010) conceptualized TMT polychronicitymembers' mutual
preference for engaging in multiple tasks simultaneouslyas a
cultural dimensionthat is specific and persistent to the TMT. Other
researchers have used the mean level of team members' time urgency
(Jansen & KristofBrown, 2005) and temporal focus (West & Meyer,
1998) to capture overall team time urgency and team temporal focus.
Because time urgency and temporal focus reflect individual temporal
dispositions (Conte et al., 1995; Shipp et al., 2009), the team averages
of time urgency and temporal focus tend to indicate relatively traitlike
features of the team. However, the traitstate property of these two
constructs has not been clearly articulated by prior research.
A small number of studies has examined other temporal constructs
reflecting collective temporal dispositions. Temporal transactive mem-
ory systemthe set of unique knowledge held by members combined
with a shared understanding of who knows what and when the knowl-
edge is neededsubsumes three facets: knowledge specialization
within the team, ability of members to efficiently work together, and
trust in each other's knowledge (Mohammed & Nadkarni, 2014).
Whereas the first two facets reflect relatively stable team features,
the third facet (trust) seems to be more state like. As a whole, temporal
transactive memory system tends to be trait like but not as stable as
those directly composed by individual temporal dispositions (e.g., tem-
poral diversity; Figure 1). The other promising but poorly studied con-
struct is the temporal schemata of teams, referring to a team's
generalized cognitive framework that gives form and meaning to
members' experiences of time (Labianca et al., 2005). Scholars have
argued that schemata have a tendency to endure,and when a team
comes into existence, it establishes a temporal schema that differenti-
ates its members' understanding and experience of time from that of
others (Balogun & Johnson, 2004, p. 525; Labianca et al., 2005). Thus,
temporal schemata capture a traitlike characteristic of the team.
At the organizational level, organizational temporal culturean
organization's values and norms regarding how time is perceived and
understood within the organization (also labeled as sociotemporal
norms,Blount & Janicik, 2001; shared beliefs about temporality,
Granqvist & Gustafsson, 2016)has been widely studied, especially
in areas of strategy and organizational theory (Table 1). Specifically,
scholars have examined different facets of organizational temporal
culture including emphasis on quality over speed (e.g., Moyle, 1995),
polychronicity (Bluedorn et al., 1999), temporal depth (e.g., Zahra
et al., 2004), and temporal focus (e.g., Fried & Slowik, 2004). Because
organizational culture is considered an organizational traitthat
reflects the deeply rooted beliefs and values specific to the organiza-
tion (Denison, 1996), organizational temporal culture represents a
collective temporal disposition (Figure 1). Finally, Huy (2001) proposed
the construct of temporal capability to describe an organization's abil-
ity to attend to multiple conceptions of time (e.g., sequencing, timing,
and pacing). Similar to the cognitive and behavioral abilities of individ-
uals (Chen et al., 2000), temporal capability, to some degree, captures
the collective temporal disposition of organizations (Figure 1).
In sum, organizational scholars across different areas (OB, strategy,
entrepreneurship, and organizational theory) have studied collective
temporal dispositions, but OB research has mostly focused on team
temporal diversity. Future OB research may borrow insights from those
adjacent areas to better and more completely understand other aspects
of temporal phenomena related to collective temporal dispositions.
Building on the above four sections (Sections 3.13.4), our litera-
ture review together suggests that although the past three decades
have seen substantial growth of research on subjective time, knowl-
edge gaps remain and offer opportunities for future development. In
the next section, we delineate those gaps and suggest future research
avenues to advance our understanding of subjective time.
We identified three critical gaps in the current literature. First, we con-
sidered the conceptual imprecision of temporal constructs as the pri-
mary issue inhibiting future research. Accordingly, we suggested how
our integrative framework could help overcome this issue and facili-
tate future study both on examining existing constructs and discover-
ing new temporal constructs. Second, we noted that extant research
has largely focused on a single temporal construct in each individual
study. Because different forms of subjective time often exist simulta-
neously and operate conjunctively, we urge future research to exam-
ine multiple temporal constructs in tandem. Finally, as subjective
time functions across organizational levels whereas prior studies
mostly focused on a single level of analysis, we encourage future
research to investigate subjective time as a multilevel phenomenon.
In the following sections, we illustrate each knowledge gap and the
associated challenges. We also build on our integrative framework to
offer specific suggestions to address those challenges, thereby
charting a clear and rich future research agenda.
4.1 |Conceptual imprecision as the primary hurdle
Our review noted that conceptual imprecision of temporal constructs
concerning the traitstate property and level of analysis is prevalent in
the literature. Because conceptual precision serves as a cornerstone
for theory building and empirical investigations (Chaplin et al., 1988;
Klein & Kozlowski, 2000), we place this issue front and center. The
imprecision regarding the traitstate property of temporal constructs
has led researchers to conceptualize the same construct in inconsis-
tent ways, which can further result in misspecifications of its anteced-
ents and consequences. For example, although temporal focus has
been mainly conceptualized as a traitlike construct (e.g., Nadkarni &
Chen, 2014; Shipp et al., 2009; Shipp & Jansen, 2011), some
researchers considered it as statelike attention (Foo et al., 2009).
Accordingly, Foo et al. (2009) found that the (statelike) temporal
focus was determined by individuals' state positive affect. However,
based on a dispositional perspective, (traitlike) temporal focus is
unlikely to be affected by a state. This theoretical confound also
resulted in problematic operationalization. So did Foo et al. (2009)
measure statelike temporal focus with the temporal focus scale, a
scale that was originally designed based on a traitlike conceptualiza-
tion of temporal focus (Shipp et al., 2009).
Although the individual versus collective level of temporal con-
structs has mostly been well clarified, we often encounter conceptual
imprecision regarding the emergence of many collectivelevel con-
structs (see Mohammed and Nadkarni (2014) for an exceptional exam-
ple). Such conceptual clarification is also crucial for operationalizing
the collectivelevel construct because it dictates the choices of mea-
surement at the lower level and data aggregation to the higher level
(Chan, 1998). For example, constructs of collective temporal state
(quadrant III) and disposition (quadrant IV) could emerge through dif-
ferent processes from the individual level. STC of teams is assumed
to originate in individual temporal perceptions and converge among
team members (Mohammed & Nadkarni, 2014). Because it emerges
as a shared, consensual state of the team, it needs to be measured
using the referent of our teamand then aggregated to the team level
based on sufficient withingroup agreement (Gevers et al., 2006). In
contrast, the collective temporal disposition of team temporal diversity
is based on team compositions (Mohammed & Harrison, 2013).
Because members' inputs to the team composition can be distinctly
different, depending on individual characteristics, team temporal
diversity is not presumed to coalesce among members (Klein &
Kozlowski, 2000). Thus, it is measured as the teamlevel distribution
of individual dispositions, with no need for statistical justification for
higher level aggregation (Mohammed & Nadkarni, 2011).
In what follows, we explain how our integrative framework could
help future research overcome the conceptual imprecision and thus
facilitate examinations on existing temporal constructs as well as the
exploration of new constructs.
4.1.1 |Examining existing temporal constructs
Albeit generic, our integrative framework presents a promising first step
to promote the conceptual precision of temporal constructs in the
extant literature. Due to the ambiguity and inconsistency in their con-
ceptualizations, a major challenge confronting future research to exam-
ine those constructs would be clarifying their traitstate properties. In
this regard, our review could inform future research on how the trait
state nature of a given temporal construct has been mainly conceptual-
ized, and we encourage future studies to adopt an aligned conceptuali-
zation of the construct suggested by our framework (Figure 1).
Moreover, future research may confuse the focal level of analysis
when investigating temporal phenomena that have been theorized at
different organizational levels (e.g., individual polychronicity, Slocombe
& Bluedorn, 1999; team polychronicity, Kaplan, 2008; organizational
temporal culture of polychronicity, Bluedorn et al., 1999). Our frame-
work could offer guidance for choosing and clarifying the appropriate
level of analysis for the constructs under examination.
4.1.2 |Discovering new temporal constructs
Our framework also presents fruitful opportunities for future research
to discover new temporal constructs. We noted that research on indi-
vidual temporal states (quadrant II) has heavily centered on time pres-
sure and FTP. Similarly, although scholars have increasingly examined
collectivelevel phenomena of subjective time (quadrants III and IV),
our knowledge about constructs in these quadrants is still nascent.
Nevertheless, our review suggests that there likely are many unex-
plored, theoretically distinct forms of subjective time that manifest
across the four archetypes. For instance, the feeling that time is scarce
and passes fast could be reflected in an individual temporal disposition
(time urgency, Conte et al., 1995), individual temporal state (time pres-
sure, Kinicki & Vecchio, 1994), collective temporal state (collective time
pressure, Maruping et al., 2015), and collective temporal disposition
(organizational temporal culture of emphasis on speed, Moyle, 1995).
We therefore encourage future OB research to explore new forms
of subjective time, especially those capturing statelike and/or
collectivelevel phenomena. In this regard, our framework could pro-
vide a roadmap to help uncover such temporal constructsby map-
ping the existing temporal constructs onto another quadrant in
Figure 1. We suggest at least two specific pathways. First, future
research may discover new constructs by shifting toward the state
dimension (i.e., between quadrants I and II, or between III and IV)
and consider the statelike manifestations of existing traitlike con-
structs (e.g., a statelike form of individual polychronicity) or, vice versa,
by exploring traitlike phenotypes of statelike constructs (e.g., individ-
uals' traitlike tendency of time sensitivity). Second, novel temporal
constructs could also be identified by moving existing constructs to
a different level of analysis (i.e., between quadrants I and IV, or II
and III). For instance, future research may examine an individual's tem-
poral disposition similar to the collectivelevel temporal schemata, and
likewise, researchers could explore the collective equivalent of individ-
ual FTP. In addition, our framework offers potential for discovering
new constructs by mapping existing ones onto different quadrants in
other ways (e.g., from quadrant I to III, Figure 1).
Overall, regardless of examining existing or novel temporal con-
structs, we encourage future research to provide precise conceptuali-
zations, at least in terms of the fundamental traitstate property and
level of analysis of temporal constructs. Addressing conceptual impre-
cision also serves as a precondition to tackle the challenges discussed
in the following, which are related to considerations of multiple con-
structs in tandem and the development of multilevel research.
4.2 |Paucity of research linking multiple temporal
Although the field has made substantial progress in developing diverse
temporal constructs, our knowledge about their interplay remains
limited. Because different forms of subjective time are likely to coexist
and function conjunctively to affect organizational outcomes, examin-
ing one construct at a time could be essentially insufficient. Yet, the
variety of temporal constructs may also create challenges for
researchers to select the most relevant ones to investigate simulta-
neously. Questions facing such future research could center on which
constructs to choose and how to examine their interplay.
Our integrative framework suggests two broad approaches. The
first approach is to consider multiple temporal dispositions within
quadrant I or IV in concert. An individual simultaneously possesses
multiple temporal dispositions (Shipp et al., 2009), and co
consideration of them may uniquely predict employee behaviors and
outcomes. Similarly, a collective unit can have multiple temporal char-
acteristics (Mohammed & Nadkarni, 2011), and different combinations
of its collective temporal dispositions may lead to distinct organiza-
tional outcomes. Thus, we encourage future research to examine the
interplay of diverse and coexisting temporal dispositions of the same
organizational actor, in order to gain more complete and nuanced
understandings of the effects of those temporal dispositions.
Specifically, at the individual level, future studies may examine how
the combination of different temporal dispositions gives rise to an
employee's temporal profile,which might better predict their time
related behaviors (see Waller et al., 2001, for a notable theoretical
example of the coconsideration of time urgency and future temporal
focus). At the team level, future research could build on team faultline
theories (Lau & Murnighan, 1998) to examine how the simultaneous
existence and alignment of multiple temporal diversity attributes
may create faultlines within the team, which could exert impact on
team outcomes above and beyond that of a single diversity attribute.
At the organizational level, future research may investigate how differ-
ent aspects of organizational temporal culture jointly shape organiza-
tional outcomes. For example, the organizational culture of long
temporal depth may facilitate the ideageneration phase of creativity,
whereas the temporal culture of emphasis on speed may promote idea
implementation (OforiDankwa & Julian, 2001; Rosing, Frese, &
Bausch, 2011). Considering the interplay of these two aspects may
help to better understand the processes of organizational creativity
and innovation.
The second approach is to focus on a process perspective by
linking temporal dispositions and states (i.e., the constructs in quad-
rants I and II or those in quadrants III and IV). Particularly, the distal
traitproximal stateperformance outcomeparadigm contends that,
because statelike experiences are more proximal to specific tasks or
situations than traitlike characteristics, they likely serve as mecha-
nisms that transmit the effect of traits on performance outcomes
(Chen et al., 2000). Building on this paradigm, future research could
examine how temporal dispositions (quadrant I or IV) trigger related
temporal states (quadrant II or III), which in turn affects organizational
behavior and performance. For example, the effects of time urgency
on employee outcomes may be mediated by the employee's perceived
time pressure as the proximal state.
Indeed, our review noted that much of prior research only tested
direct relationships between temporal dispositions and organizational
outcomes but overlooked the mediating processes. Specifically,
research on individual temporal dispositions has mainly shown their
effects on employee behaviors and performance without examining
the cognitive, affective, or motivational mechanisms that convey these
effects. Moreover, as temporal diversity is often a doubleedged
swordfor teams, a lack of investigation of its potentially opposing
mechanisms may lead to null findings on team performance (Moham-
med & Nadkarni, 2011). Overall, a black box remainswe know very
little about why subjective time affects behaviors and outcomes. As
such uncertainty prevails, we might misattribute the actual mecha-
nisms underlying the observed effects of subjective time (Chen &
Nadkarni, 2017). The processbased approach suggested by our
framework could provide future research with one potential direction
to address this black box issue.
4.3 |Scarcity of multilevel research
We observed that organizational research on subjective time has
mostly focused on a single level of analysis. Yet, as the increasing com-
plexity of organizational tasks and structures has necessitated
employees to work in teams, teams to collaborate on joint projects,
and differentiated departments to coordinate activities, the field calls
for more theorydriven, multilevel research to better understand
how subjective time exists and functions across organizational levels.
However, to apply a multilevel lens, future research may encounter
crucial questions such as how do individuallevel temporal constructs
manifest at higher levels of analysis; do the temporal constructs gen-
eralize across levels of analysis; and how does higher level subjective
time influence lower level phenomena?
Using our framework as a basis, we suggest two general steps for
developing multilevel studies by considering temporal constructs
across the individual level (quadrant I or II) and collective level
(quadrant III or IV). In the first step, researchers might provide theo-
retical justifications for higher level temporal constructs. We argued
previously that conceptual clarification of collectivelevel temporal
constructs serves as a basis for crafting multilevel research.
Researchers therefore need to delineate models that explicate forms
of bottomup construct emergence from the individual to the collec-
tive level. Indeed, multilevel researchers have long emphasized that
when studying higher level constructs, researchers should explain, in
considerable detail, the theoretical processes presumed to yield the
emergence of these constructs at the higher level of analysis (Klein
& Kozlowski, 2000).
In a second step, researchers could develop and test crosslevel
or homologous theories (Chen, Bliese, & Mathieu, 2005) that specify
how these multilevel temporal constructs affect outcomes across
levels of analysis. Our framework (Figure 1) implies two ways to
examine potential topdown, crosslevel effects. First, collectivelevel
temporal states and dispositions (quadrants III and IV) may act as sit-
uational determinants to exert direct effects on individual temporal
states (quadrant II). For example, the team's collective time pressure
and the organizational temporal culture of emphasis on speed may
increase individual members' time pressure at work. Second,
collectivelevel subjective time (quadrants III and IV) may act as con-
textual boundary conditions to moderate the effects of individual
temporal dispositions (quadrant I) on employee outcomes. For
instance, the effect of time urgency on employee job performance
could be strengthened or weakened (rather than determined) by
the team collective time pressure or the organizational culture of
emphasis on speed.
Scholarly attention to subjective time in the OB field has been
growingbut in a fragmented and unsystematic way. We reviewed
research on temporal constructs in OB and related disciplines and
assigned these constructs to four archetypes of subjective time,
according to their statetrait property and level of analysis. In doing
so, our integrative framework lends fundamental conceptual
clarification and integration to a variety of temporal constructs.
We believe it provides a basis to guide the development of future
studies to investigate subjective time as a multiform, multilevel
Shi Tang
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Shi Tang is currently a PhD candidate at Judge Business School,
University of Cambridge. Her research interests include executive
temporal orientation, gender in senior leadership, top management
team compositions and strategic decisionmaking processes.
Andreas W. Richter is an associate professor at the Judge Busi-
ness School, University of Cambridge. He holds a PhD from Aston
University. His research interests focus on creativity and innova-
tion in teams, and team processes and dynamics.
Sucheta Nadkarni is the Sinyi Chaired Professor of Chinese Man-
agement in the Judge Business School, University of Cambridge.
She received her PhD in strategic management at the University
of Kansas. Her research interests include executive personality
and temporal orientation, strategic cognition, and competitive
How to cite this article: Tang S, Richter AW, Nadkarni S. Sub-
jective time in organizations: Conceptual clarification, integra-
tion, and implications for future research. J Organ Behav.
We developed a dictionary to extract the traitand statelike properties of each temporal construct identified in our literature review. Following
the established practices of dictionary generation for LIWC (Pennebaker et al., 2015), we created and validated the dictionary through three steps.
In the first step, we generated a list of words associated with the traitlike and statelike dimensions of psychological constructs. The gener-
ation of the two groups of words (trait like and state like) was based on their theoretical definitions and explanations in the psychological and OB
literature (Allen & Potkay, 1981; Chaplin et al., 1988; Robbins & Judge, 2014; Tasselli et al., 2018; Waller, Okhuysen, & Saghafian, 2016). We fur-
ther expanded the word list by including their additional synonyms using Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus (Princeton Language Institute & Kipfer,
2005). The preliminary dictionary contained 66 words for traitlike property and 71 words for statelike property.
In the second step, we verified the content validity of the initial set of words. Following recommended procedures for establishing content valid-
ity (Nunnally & Bernstein, 1994), we identified five subject matter experts (psychological and organizational scholars who hold expert knowledge
about the conceptualization of traitlike and statelike properties). These scholars were presented the list of words (organized alphabetically) and
asked to categorize each word to one of the categories: traitlike,”“statelike,and unclear.We removed the word categorized as unclearand
retained those in traitlikeand statelikecategories that reached 100% consensus among the raters.
In the final step, we conducted followup discussions with the raters on the relevance of each word to the theoretical definitions of traitlike
and statelike constructs. We further excluded words with low relevance based on the discussions. As listed below, the final dictionary consisted
of 42 words for traitlike property and 38 words for statelike property:
Trait like State like
Ability Identity Propensity Adjust Feeling Reactive
Attribute Inclination Regular Alter Fleeting Responsive
Belief Independent Resistant Arising Flexible Sense
Capability Inherent Routine Awareness Fluctuate Situational
Characteristic Innate Stable Brief Impression State
Chronic Inner Static Change Irregular Stimulus
Competence Longlasting Sustain Circumstance Malleable Temporary
Consistent Norm System Contextual Manipulate Transient
Constant Pattern Tendency Dependent Modify Transitory
Disposition Permanent Trait Dynamic Mood Unstable
Durable Persistent Unchanging Emergent Occasionally
Endure Personality Unique Emotion Occurrent
Feature Predisposition General Environmental Perception
Fixed Preference Predominant Ephemeral Process
*The dictionary also captured alternative tenses of the words used.
... The foregoing distinction between time types and time facets adheres to an "objective" conceptualization of time as opposed to "subjective" time (Crossan et al., 2005). The former refers to the actual passage of time while the latter concerns how individuals experience time (for reviews, see Shipp &Jansen, 2021 andTang, Richter, &Nadkarni, 2020). Subjective time concerns how individuals and groups experience and "create or culturally construct different types of time that become shared meanings about the continuum [in which events occur]" (Ancona et al., 2001, p. 515). ...
... The foregoing distinction between time types and time facets adheres to an "objective" conceptualization of time as opposed to "subjective" time (Crossan et al., 2005). The former refers to the actual passage of time while the latter concerns how individuals experience time (for reviews, see Shipp &Jansen, 2021 andTang, Richter, &Nadkarni, 2020). Subjective time concerns how individuals and groups experience and "create or culturally construct different types of time that become shared meanings about the continuum [in which events occur]" (Ancona et al., 2001, p. 515). ...
... A three-year time window might be considered short-term by a partner from of a country characterized by a long-term oriented culture (e.g., China) while a counterparty from a country characterized by short-term oriented culture (e.g., USA) might actually consider the same period to be long-term. Unlike research on organizations that has examined subjective time also using in-depth qualitative analysis (for reviews, see Elsahn & Earl, 2022;Tang et al., 2020), research in ISAs has paid less attention to subjective time and seldom collected primary data about managers' actual perceptions of time. The limited attention to subjective time in empirical research on ISAs has offered us further impetus to examine how time-mainly objective time-has been linked to differences in national culture in research about ISAs. ...
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The myopia metaphor has a long and fruitful history of application in management literature. Initially proposed to explain business failure associated with managerial cognition shortcomings, managerial myopia spawned across management and strategy literature, and significantly influenced behavioural streams of research. Despite, or possibly due to this fragmented multiple use, the myopia construct has not so far seen a formal definition, nor a useful measurement scale. Using data from two focus group interviews, followed by validation on three samples of managers (N=21; 122; 658), we develop a measurement scale for strategic myopia. We establish the dimensionality of the construct, involving competitive, cooperative, temporal, and learning myopia, and validate a parsimonious scale of 16 items. Our scale may be useful both for further theory testing and for self-evaluation of managers, as well as evaluation of management teams’ myopia profiles, thus supporting related decisions on how to shape team diversity.
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... On the other hand, in a Sense Time framing, real time is relative and depends on the subject (cf. Shipp et al., 2009;Tang et al., 2020) and context rather than the clock. Some have associated sense time with acting at a slower pace and being more mindful. ...
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... 20 Strong team reflection can make sufficient preparations for dealing with complex and changeable time arrangements, 24 and help to understand the specific team situation of temporal leadership in time coordination. 6,25 Therefore, if the influence of contextual factors on the outcome of temporal leadership is emphasized, it is necessary to consider the contextual factor of team reflection. ...
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Background: In recent years, temporal leadership has gradually attracted academic attention. Purpose: This paper discussed the impact of temporal leadership on team innovation performance. Methodology: Through the sample analysis of 385 team members in 98 teams. The measurements of temporal leadership, team innovation performance, transactive memory system, and team reflection were used to measure the relationships between temporal leadership, transactive memory systems and team innovation performance. Findings/results: It is found that temporal leadership has a positive impact on team innovation performance, which is transmitted through the credibility dimension and coordination dimension of transactive memory systems. Positive team reflection regulates the relationship between temporal leadership and transactive memory systems. Value: This paper reveals the specific impact mechanism of temporal leadership on team innovation performance and provides a new perspective on how to improve team innovation performance in limited time resources.
... Therefore, it seems to be possible to improve our "sensing of time" or "time sensitivity." Tang et al. (2020) have clustered Table 3.2 in chapter 3) described as being "malleable, fleeting, and externally induced" (Tang et al. 2020: 212). But it is also possible that some individuals in general have a greater synchrony preference, which is viewed as individual-level temporal disposition or trait-like and "stable, enduring, and internally caused" (Tang et al. 2020: 212). ...
This chapter focuses on clock time and its role in organizing social life and organizational life. Clock time, rooted in Newtonian physics, stands for temporal realism. From a temporal realist perspective, time is viewed as real, objective, and measurable, while temporality concerns such objective features of time as tempo, speed, duration, frequency, acceleration, timing, etc. In this chapter, I give a short overview of the emergence of global standardized clock time and its merits as a tool for organizing. I will continue with some of the less positive aspects of the relationship between clock time and the views of reality. I will discuss the importance of clock time in organizations emphasizing its role in coordinating, synchronizing, and entraining activities with different temporal cycles. I discuss some of the potential negative aspects of an unbalanced emphasis on clock time, such as speed, time compression or intensification, and chrono-centrism. Finally, I underline some limitations of clock time that may arise if applied in social life. Keywords: clock time, standardized time, temporal realism, chronological/chronometric time, entrainment, time pressure
When COVID‐19 hit, a surprising, intractable, global, existential, and lingering (SIGEL) crisis was unleashed, creating challenges unknown to humankind. To avoid failure, firms’ realignment to fit this SIGEL crisis became necessary. Yet, not all firms realigned. Why? Because of these firms’ decision makers’ temporal mindsets or their interpretative lenses about time. Contrary to the assumption that fast crisis response is essential, we argue and find that decision makers’ time urgency (i.e., innate self‐imposed pressure to act quickly) hinders their firms’ effective alignment. While past focus (i.e., innate tendency to attend to the past) had no effect on effective firm alignment, present focus (i.e., innate tendency to attend to the present) and future focus (i.e., innate tendency to attend to the future) had a positive effect. Interestingly, data show that the co‐existence of 1) high future, low present, and low past and 2) high future, high present, and high past foci in decision makers’ minds drive the most effective firm alignment, but 3) low future, low present, and low past foci drive the least. Using US and UK panel data, we show, conceptually and empirically, the importance of temporal mindsets to firm alignment with SIGEL crises.
Temporal tensions abound for those involved in temporary interorganizational collaborations (IOCs). Participating members must navigate working within their home organization and the temporary IOC simultaneously. These tensions undermine efforts toward two important outcomes in temporary organizing contexts: temporal synchronization and ambitemporality. To be effective, leaders need a keen awareness of the temporal tensions present and an ability to manage these tensions through the enactment of additional temporal tensions. We identify temporal adaptive capacity (TAC) as a crucial competency needed by leaders to effectively manage the multi-level temporal tensions present when participating in temporary IOCs. Finally, we offer practical implications and a research agenda through the introduction of propositions related to TAC.
We investigate the relationship between outside board members (OBMs) and short‐ versus long‐term strategic orientation of new ventures in the startup phase. Owing to their smallness and newness, a short‐term orientation may be more desirable. Using a dataset of 170 Belgian new ventures in the startup phase, we find a positive association between the proportion of OBMs and a short‐ rather than long‐term strategic orientation, attributed by our interviewees to concern for firm survival. This association is stronger in new ventures operating in highly competitive environments, and where the founding team performed few pre‐startup activities. Greater focus on the short‐term may be beneficial in the long run, as a positive association is found between a high relative short‐term orientation and ventures’ growth. New ventures in the startup phase should primarily focus on short‐term issues: get a better understanding of who are the customers and try to validate the business model. This article reveals that the board of directors plays a pivotal role in influencing the extent to which startups have a short‐term strategic orientation. Specifically, it explains how outside board members (OBMs) provides advice, monitor the startup’s progress, and guide entrepreneurs on key short‐term priorities. This strategic role of OBMs is more pronounced in new ventures where the entrepreneurial team is less prepared at founding and in firms operating in highly competitive environments. Importantly, our paper provides evidence that a short‐term orientation in the startup phase doesn’t jeopardize future venture growth in the scale‐up phase.
Our study provides a systematic theoretical review of 304 qualitative-based articles published in seven international business journals from 2010 to 2020. We constructed a typology that provides alternative ways of studying time and is constituted by two dimensions: ontological conceptions of time (objective vs subjective) and theorising style of research (variance vs process). Our analysis and findings illustrate that time is mostly treated as objective and linear, and they highlight some concerning trends: lack of conceptual clarity; lack of diversity within and between paradigms; and lack of methodological clarity. We propose three pathways for advancing future research on time.
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The ability to foresee, anticipate, and plan for future desired outcomes is crucial for well-being, motivation, and behavior. However, theories in organizational psychology do not incorporate time-related constructs such as Future Time Perspective (FTP), and research on FTP remains disjointed and scattered, with different domains focusing on different aspects of the construct, using different measures, and assessing different antecedents and consequences. In this review and meta-analysis, we aim to clarify the FTP construct, advance its theoretical development, and demonstrate its importance by (a) integrating theory and empirical findings across different domains of research to identify major outcomes and antecedents of FTP, and (b) empirically examining whether and how these variables are moderated by FTP measures and dimensions. Results of a meta-analysis of k = 212 studies reveal significant relationships between FTP and major classes of consequences (i.e., those related to achievement, well-being, health behavior, risk behavior, and retirement planning), and between antecedents and FTP, as well as moderating effects of different FTP measures and dimensions. Highlighting the importance of FTP for organizational psychology theories, our findings demonstrate that FTP predicts these outcomes over and above the big five personality traits and mediates the associations between these personality traits and outcomes.
Time orientation matters. While a temporal perspective is widely recognized as an important lens in strategic management research, few studies have explored how top managers’ temporal orientation affects strategic decision-making processes. We propose that top managers’ subjective perception of time, specifically, their long-term orientation, positively affects the comprehensiveness, speed, and creativity of strategic decision-making processes and that industry context moderates these relationships. Drawing on the organization-environment fit perspective and associated compatibility and temporal fit mechanisms, we found considerable support for our hypotheses in the semiconductor and pharmaceutical industries in China. Our findings reinforce the perspective that temporal referent points act as anchors for strategic decision-making processes.
This paper explores the attention regulation challenges brought by interruptions. In contrast to much of the research on interruptions that looks at the effects on the interrupted task, this paper examines the difficulty of focusing attention and performing well on interrupting tasks. Integrating research on attention residue, time pressure, and implementation intention, we predict that when people anticipate resuming their interrupted work under time pressure, they will find it difficult to switch their attention to the interrupting task, leading to attention residue and low performance. A ready-to-resume intervention, in which one briefly reflects on and plans one’s return to the interrupted task, mitigates this effect such that attention residue is reduced and performance on the interrupting task does not suffer. Data collected across four studies support these hypotheses. The e-companion is available at .
This article focuses on an emergent debate in organizational behavior concerning personality stability and change. We introduce foundational psychological research concerning whether individual personality, in terms of traits, needs, and personal constructs, is fixed or changeable. Based on this background, we review recent research evidence on the antecedents and outcomes associated with personality change. We build on this review of personality change to introduce new directions for personality research in organizational behavior. Specifically, we discuss how a view of personality as changeable contributes to key topics for organizational behavior research and how this new approach can help broaden and deepen the scope of personality theory and measurement. The study of personality change offers a range of new ideas and research opportunities for the study of organizational behavior.