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Multiple temporal perspectives extend sustainable competitiveness

Robert Klassen (Ivey Business School, Western University, London, Canada)
Sara Hajmohammad (Asper School of Business, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada)

International Journal of Operations & Production Management

ISSN: 0144-3577

Article publication date: 6 November 2017




In operations and supply chain management, time is largely one-dimensional – less is better – with much effort devoted to compressing, efficiently using, and competitively exploiting clock-time. However, by drawing on other literatures, the purpose of this paper is to understand implications for the field of operations management if we also emphasize how humans and organizations experience time, termed process-time, which is chronicled by events and stages of change.


After a brief review, the limitations of the recurrent time-oriented themes in operations management and the resulting short-termism are summarized. Next, sustainability is offered as an important starting point to explore the concept of temporality, including both clock- and process-time, as well as the implications of temporal orientation and temporal conflict in supply chains.


A framework that includes both management and stakeholder behavior is offered to illustrate how multiple temporal perspectives might be leveraged as a basis for an expanded and enriched understanding of more sustainable competitiveness in operations.

Social implications

Research by others emphasizes the importance of stakeholders to competitiveness. By recognizing that different stakeholder groups have varying temporal orientations and temporality, managers can establish objectives and systems that better reflect time-based diversity and diffuse temporal conflict.


This paper summarizes how time has been incorporated in operations management, as well as the challenges of short-termism. Sustainability forms the basis for exploring multiple perspectives of time and three key constructs: temporal orientation, temporality, and temporal conflict. A framework is proposed to better incorporate temporal perspectives as a basis for competitiveness in operations and supply chain management.



This paper is based on the first author’s presentation during a plenary session at the EurOMA 2015 conference.


Klassen, R. and Hajmohammad, S. (2017), "Multiple temporal perspectives extend sustainable competitiveness", International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 37 No. 11, pp. 1600-1624.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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