Being and time determine each other reciprocally, but in such a manner that neither can the former — Being — be addressed as something temporal nor can the latter — time — be addressed as a being
— M. Heidegger
Time is now currency: it is not passed but spent
— E.P. Thompson
Houses live and die: there is a time for building
And a time for living and for generation
And a time for the wind to break the loosened pane
— T.S. Eliot, Poet. The Four Quartets
Any discussion of time must first indicate what kind of time is involved
— E. D. Ermarth
In our turbulent time and societies, foreseeing and forecasting outcomes and making long-term decisions seem more and more difficult. Within organizations, societies and at all levels of study — Time matters. Following the quote by M. Heidegger, time may be about the course of actions in which the passage of time shapes the very being of things. E. P. Thompson asked himself if time is rather spent, counted or passed. T. S. Eliot devoted four quartets to writing about time and referred to a time related to events. What is time and what time is it? Is time a dimension on which the modification of a system can come to pass? Is time a measure in which events can be ordered from the past through the present into the future? Does time represent the intervals between two distinctive qualities of being?
From a managerial perspective, time has never been such a critical element in an organization. Everything people do involves time: going to the workplace, meeting deadlines, reporting to managers, developing stress. Temporal decisions within industries and for companies’ performance were first formalized in 1926 by H. Ford when he introduced the five-day-40-hour workweek for the Ford Motor Company’s factory workers. “It is high time to rid ourselves of the notion that leisure for workmen is either ‘lost time’ or a class privilege”. H. Ford implemented F. W. Taylor’s principles of scientific management, known as the first organized thoughts depicting the role of management consulting. Those principles drew on the results of his ‘time studies’ combined with F. B. Gilbreth’s work on ‘motion studies’. Time studies focused on performance through the notion of efficiency, establishing techniques for improving task allocation and standardization to optimize individual work in time (Taylor 1914). Time, the dynamics of time, and the temporal fit (temporality at work), are thus the essence of management.
‘Achieved on time’, ‘by the time’, ‘at the same time’, ‘over time’, ‘in no time’, ‘at the right time’, are all the sentences that guide our actions on a day-to-day basis. Those temporal qualifiers show how time is of great significance when balancing the pros and cons of any situation incorporating Timing Issues (TI). Timing issues within organizations may refer to, for instance, temporal conflicts between scientists and managers or between managers and venture capitalists. For instance, the pacing style represents how individuals tend to allocate their tasks relatively to a deadline.
This example reveals the significance of deepening our knowledge of time as a key component of organizations. Consequently, the interest in temporal issues has rapidly increased over time within organization studies. From a macro point of view, companies in their fields face constant pressures to survive and outperform. They address market and non-market challenges such that they must manage resource scarcity and prospective opportunities. Stakeholders are pressuring for exploitation (short-term) where Top Management Teams (TMT) focus on exploration (long-term) to ensure business sustainability.
But, time can be organized. Therefore organizations need to manage time (individual temporalities, business cycles, time-to-market, etc.) to frequently adapt to their environments and to create temporary organizing principles in and across firms. To that extent, Time Management Studies (TMS) was the first step to tackle temporal organizational issues. For instance, scheduling is a significant source of problems in teamwork. TMS can be summarized as follows: a set of specified tactics for goal setting (process of thinking about future ambition) to lead towards higher preconceived domination of time. TMS is also applied in work-family conflict, task performance and organizational citizenship behaviors. TMS have two basic objectives: managing temporal issues, enhancing workplace productivity and achieving work-life balance.