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The Dance of Entrainment: Temporally Navigating across Multiple Pacers

Workplace Temporalities

ISBN: 978-0-7623-1268-9, eISBN: 978-1-84950-384-6

Publication date: 1 June 2007


Previous research suggests that teams pace their change either internally to coincide with the midpoint, deadline, or task phases, or externally by entraining to exogenous pacers. Other research suggests that teams adapt to random environmental shocks. This paper investigates if, how, and when endogenous, exogenous, and random pacers affect the patterns of change in groups. We studied five software development teams during a turbulent two-year period. Our case studies and supporting analyses suggest that teams perform a “dance of entrainment”—simultaneously creating multiple rhythms and choreographing their activities to mesh with different pacers at different times.


Ancona, D. and Waller, M.J. (2007), "The Dance of Entrainment: Temporally Navigating across Multiple Pacers", Rubin, B.A. (Ed.) Workplace Temporalities (Research in the Sociology of Work, Vol. 17), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 115-146.



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