On organizations as they happen

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362 Scopus citations


The essay examines what organizations are as they happen. It first argues that the happening of an organization has two basic components: the performance of its constituent actions and practices and the occurrence of events whereby its material arrangements causally support these activities. Equating the idea of something as it happens with that of something in real time, the essay then examines two kinds of real time in which organizations occur. The first is the unfoldings of the performances and events that are the happening of the organization. The second is the co-occurrences of the teleological past, present, and future in organizational actions. As it happens, however, an organization is more than what there is to it in real time. It also embraces the persisting structures of its practices and its enduring material arrangements, both of which, among other things, institute possible real times for the organization. The essay argues that the perpetuation of practice structure should be understood as organizational memory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1863-1873
Number of pages11
JournalOrganization Studies
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2006


  • Activity real time
  • Objective real time
  • Organization memory
  • Organizations as events
  • Organizations in real time
  • Persistence of organization structure
  • Social memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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