A temporal perspective on phronetic strategizing: exploring strategy making in unsettled times

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Strategy making in organizations is a future oriented process and is fundamentally complex and full of uncertainties. Therefore there is a need to further improve our understanding of the way organizational actors exercise their judgment and how this informs strategic action and change. However, the role of temporality in such processes in poorly understood. In this paper we further take up this perspective and propose and apply a temporal perspective on practical judgement to study how situated actors embark on strategic action and change in respond to drastic institutional changes. By temporality is implied the dominant temporal orientations of situated actors towards either the past, present, or future that shape the way practical judgment unfolds and influences how and when strategic action and change comes about. We draw on a study of six nonprofit associations in the Netherlands who are usually concerned with the maintenance and protection of their local environments and preservation of the cultural value. We examined how members of these associations engage in practical judgement based on their dominant temporal orientations in response to a drastic change in the subsidy regimes forcing them to reconsider their strategies. We found three fundamentally different outcomes for strategic action and change: suspending (past oriented), desiring (present oriented) and adapting (future oriented). We elaborate on each of them and why practical judgement processes varied leading to these outcomes on how that relates to each dominant temporal orientation. Contributions are offered to the strategy as practice literature by proposing a temporal perspective and highlight the importance of agency in relation to outcomes in strategy practices. We also contribute to the literature on practical judgment especially in regard to the tensions that organizational actors undergo when they are forced to make tradeoffs between realizing internal goods through practice and external goods demanded by institutions.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jul 2016
Event32nd EGOS Colloquium 2016: Organizing in the shadow of power - University of Naples Federico II, Naples, Italy
Duration: 7 Jul 20169 Jul 2016
Conference number: 32


Conference32nd EGOS Colloquium 2016
Abbreviated titleEGOS
Internet address


  • IR-100635
  • METIS-317166


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