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Handbook of Longitudinal Research Methods in Organisation and Business Studies

Handbook of Longitudinal Research Methods in Organisation and Business Studies

Elgar original reference

Edited by Mélanie E. Hassett and Eriikka Paavilainen-Mäntymäki

This innovative Handbook demonstrates that there is no single best approach to conducting longitudinal studies. At their best, longitudinal research designs yield rich, contextualised, multilevel and deep understanding of the studied phenomenon. The lack of resources in terms of time, funding and people can pose a serious challenge to conducting longitudinal research. This book tackles many of these challenges and discusses the role of longitudinal research programmes in overcoming such obstacles.

Chapter 4: Temporal design in organizational research

James P. Selig, Robert Hoy and Todd D. Little

Subjects: business and management, international business, organisation studies, research methods in business and management, research methods, research methods in business and management


The role of time in organizational research is fundamental and all-pervasive. Time can be classified in many ways. First, we could consider time as an objectively measurable quantity. This type of time has been labeled clock time (Ancona et al. 2001) and is characterized by being objective, linear, irreversible and consisting of units that can be subdivided. In contrast to clock time, cyclical time (Ancona et al. 2001) is not linear and instead is characterized as following a regular repeating pattern. An example of cyclical time is what McGrath and Rotchford (1983) call biological time. Biological time applies to the cycles regularly observed in living organisms, such as circadian rhythms. Several authors note that we can also think of time as subjective. The term ‘subjective time’ applies to the psychological experience of time (McGrath and Rotchford 1983). For example, the passing of one hour may be experienced differently if one is engaged in conversation with a friend versus awaiting the arrival of that friend.

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