This research builds on Jenkins' theory of time, identification and human nature through an empirical study of leaders' experiences in a large UK public sector organisation. By applying Lewis and Weigart's typology of social time to the accounts of the leaders studied within this research, the study finds that the leaders' self‐ identities are constituted through the discourses of self‐time, interaction‐time and organisational‐time which are embedded, stratified and synchronised through social and organisational practices. In the leaders' narratives of career, work, life and family the research identifies dominant discourses of time compression and acceleration, as well as both cyclic and linear discourses of time. Each of these temporal constructs is found to be embedded in and manifested through the continuous construction and shaping of identity. The implications of these findings for our understanding of the contemporary working life of leaders and their careers and identities are discussed.
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