Negotiating time, meaning and identity in boundaryless work

Annette Kamp (Department of Environmental, Social and Spatial Change, Roskilde University, Roskilde, Denmark)
Henrik Lambrecht Lund (Department of Environmental, Social and Spatial Change, Roskilde University, Roskilde, Denmark)
Helge Søndergaard Hvid (Department of Environmental, Social and Spatial Change, Roskilde University, Roskilde, Denmark)

Journal of Workplace Learning

ISSN: 1366-5626

Publication date: 17 May 2011



Focus on the qualities and rhythms of time are important in order to understand strain and learning opportunities in modern working life. This article aims to develop a framework for exploring the qualities of time in boundaryless work, and to explore self‐management of time as a process, where the relations between time and tasks are negotiated.


The article consists of a theoretical part that takes inspiration from newer time sociology and leads to proposal of a framework that focuses on the relation between identity, meaning and qualities of time. The empirical part illustrates the use of the framework. The authors present a case study of teachers’ work at an elementary school based on qualitative data collected by observations, teachers' time dairies and individual and group interviews.


The authors suggest an analytical framework where temporal order is a core concept, and points at conflicts between multiple temporal orders as a focus for empirical studies. On the basis of the case study the article discusses how mastering of time conflicts is an integrated part of doing the job and how professional identity and meaning is at stake in this process.

Research limitations/implications

The article urges for a renewal in research on time and strain at work, and discusses how self‐management of time becomes a new area for learning at the workplace, implying that collective arenas should be established.


The article offers an original contribution to understanding and studying temporal aspects of work and the role of learning processes.



Kamp, A., Lambrecht Lund, H. and Søndergaard Hvid, H. (2011), "Negotiating time, meaning and identity in boundaryless work", Journal of Workplace Learning, Vol. 23 No. 4, pp. 229-242.

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