Subjective time in organizations : Conceptual clarification, integration, and implications for future research

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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  • Shi Tang
  • Andreas W. Richter
  • Sucheta Nadkarni


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)210-234
Journal / PublicationJournal of Organizational Behavior
Issue number2
Online published3 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020
Externally publishedYes


Despite the rapid growth of organizational research on subjective time, the extant literature is fragmented due to a lack of conceptual clarification and integration of temporal constructs. To address this fragmentation, we synthesize temporal research from both organizational behavior and adjacent disciplines (i.e., strategy, entrepreneurship, and organizational theory) and introduce a framework that allocates temporal constructs according to their basic conceptual nature (trait–state) and level of analysis (individual–collective). We employed the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count text analysis to determine the trait–state property of the constructs and a coding method to determine their level of analysis. This framework categorizes four generic types of subjective time: individual temporal disposition, individual temporal state, collective temporal state, and collective temporal disposition. We clarify the conceptualizations of the temporal constructs belonging to each of the four archetypes of subjective time and review their key findings in the organizational literature. Based on this integrative framework, we identify critical knowledge gaps in the current state of research and chart a future agenda with specific suggestions.

Research Area(s)

  • multilevel research, subjective time, temporal constructs, trait–state distinction