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Temporary Organizing and Acceleration: On the Plurality of Temporal Structures in Accelerators

Tensions and paradoxes in temporary organizing

ISBN: 978-1-83909-349-4, eISBN: 978-1-83909-348-7

Publication date: 17 September 2020


‘Acceleration’, that is, the performance of activities in ever-shorter periods of time, is a distinctive feature of contemporary organizations and societies that is reflected in, and driven by startups’ attempts to scale up their businesses in ever-faster ways. Although prior research has highlighted that temporary organizing is a key way to accelerate the startup process, little is known about how actors do so. Based on a one-year ethnographic study at a startup accelerator, the authors explore how actors enact temporary organizing to attempt to accelerate the startup process. Their analysis shows that this process involves a plurality of partly conflicting temporal structures. As their study shows, such conflicts invoke tensions that actors live out in their daily activities. The authors identify three temporal practices – sequencing, freezing, and merging – through which actors engaged in temporary organizing enact acceleration in the startup process by reconciling these temporal structures. Their study has implications for understanding time in the expanding literature on temporary organizing and acceleration.




The authors thank the organizers, members, and guests of the Research Network on ‘Temporary Organizing’, the participants of the EGOS 2019 Sub-theme on ‘Temporality and Project-based Organizing’, as well as Qian Li, Sebastién Picard, Davide Ravasi, Juliane Reinecke, Jorgen Sandberg, and Jörg Sydow for insightful comments on earlier versions of the manuscript. Furthermore, we are also indebted to the Dieter Schwarz Foundation for its financial support.


Skade, L., Stanske, S., Wenzel, M. and Koch, J. (2020), "Temporary Organizing and Acceleration: On the Plurality of Temporal Structures in Accelerators", Braun, T. and Lampel, J. (Ed.) Tensions and paradoxes in temporary organizing (Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Vol. 67), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 105-125.



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