When is it the Right Time to Change? A Case Study of Implementing a New Activity in an Existing Business Relationship.

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Scholars have argued that past experience in business relationships can impede the implementation of new activities. In this study, we apply a practice-based perspective on time (Orlikowski & Yates, 2002) and examine how time and timing of change of temporal structures in business relationships are related to the implementation of new activities. For that, we assess how both objective and subjective notions of time shape and are shaped by the temporal structure of the relationship, especially when partners engage in new activities. In a participatory study of an existing international business relationship, we found that people inherently relate to the practices that take place in established temporal structures and ignore signs to intervene when the situation demands different actions. We describe and analyze the process of a synchronization, dis-synchronization, and re-synchronization the temporal structure of the relationship in this particular study. Our study suggests that temporal structures remain unchanged until the moment that people are fiercely confronted with disconformities in their relationship. These triggers of change altered the perceptions of the people involved in this relationship and make them more reflexive and aware of the situation and the need to change the temporal structure in order to achieve the desired outcome. We reflect on our findings and suggest managerial implications.
Original languageUndefined
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 2 Sep 2010
Event26th IMP Conference 2010 - Budapest, Hungary
Duration: 2 Sep 20104 Sep 2010
Conference number: 26


Conference26th IMP Conference 2010


  • METIS-267951
  • failure
  • Temporal structuring
  • Synchronization
  • IR-82742
  • Change in Strategic BusinessRelationships

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