Sub-theme 22: Depth, Verticality, and Visibility in Organizing: Integrating Space and Time

Pierre Guillet de Monthoux
Stockholm School of Economics, Sweden, & Copenhagen Business School, Denmark
François-Xavier de Vaujany
Université Paris-Dauphine, France
Varda Wasserman
Open University, Israel

Call for Papers

Time and space are often treated separately by the community of MOS scholars (Jones et al., 2004; Czarniawska, 2004; de Vaujany, 2019; de Vaujany et al., 2021; Helin, 2020). In most conferences, there are thus events (sub-themes, sub-plenaries, special issues and more) either about space or time, temporalizing or spacing, place or temporalization, etc. Space perspectives, e.g. Lefebvre, Soya, Massey-based, often claim processual stances, but not necessarily with a deep temporal dimension. Concepts such as places, spacing, rhythms or templacement are a first step, but they are not that present in the MOS literature itself, in particular the empirical one.
Key process philosophers (e.g. Alexander, 1920; Whitehead, 1929; Deleuze & Guttari, 1988) and phenomenologists (Heidegger, 1927, 1951; Merleau-Ponty, 1945, 1964) have offered very important theories in-between. They have strongly emphasized the inseparability of time and space. You can think of nisus and time-space in Alexander’s (1920) cosmology, the theory of volumes in Whitehead’s (1929) metaphysics, depth, visibility and enfleshment in Merleau-Ponty’s (1964) indirect ontology, Bachelard's (1931) view of verticality and poetics of space, Arendt’s (1972) view of culture in crisis, Deleuze’s (1993) view of folds and depth or Braidotti’s (2013) posthumanist view of time-space.
Time/space configurations are never neutral. They are critical and political and three key concepts that appear as particularly promising to explore spacing and temporalizing together in the life of collective activity are: “depth” (1), “verticality” (2) and “visibility” (3).
Depth is about the temporality of our experience. Multiple pasts and futures are involved, more or less sensibly, more or less visibly, in what collective activity makes sensible for itself. Beyond a “perspective”, Merleau-Ponty (1964) invites us to describe the depth of experience.
Bachelard (1931, 1950) invites us to include verticality in our description of the world ‘instants’ as key temporal discontinuities. For him, we mainly live in instants. We are “nonchalant” in the world. Sometimes, we live at the surface of this instant. We are just here now. Sometimes, we are deeper, in nostalgia or fear. Bachelard’s poetic approach of space is also a way to inhabit the temporalities of our world.
And the last concept, fully interwoven with the former, is about visibility (Wasserman & Frenkel, 2015, 2020). Visibility is a spatial process (activity makes visible somewhere, from somewhere, for someone…), but it is also temporal. It is a narrative with multiple layers, more or less visible and sensible. It is also about what the temporal structures of a community (an incubator, a group of makers, and a team of pilots…) will perform and make visible or invisible. This notion, importantly, also brings attention to what bodies that are seen and recognized and how awareness of time/space configurations can question taken for granted assumption in regards to diversity and equality in organizational life.
These three issues have for sure many implications for the process of writing research, practicing ethnography and auto-ethnography, covering the political dimensions of a managerial process (e.g. entrepreneurship), designing new research methods and allowing a beautiful imperfection in the process and contents of our research.
As much reasoning about space and time stems from philosophy they belong to a philosophical sphere investigated in non-empirical approaches. From a deeper methodological point of view it is important to be aware of the non-experiential and non-empirical foundations of time/space concept. What happens when philosophy leaves the realms of metaphysics, logics or the transcendental, where is attempts to grasp the possibility of experience, and uncritically lands in predominantly empirical studies of organizational facts? One may hypothesize that such exercises in the long run lack will be emptied of philosophical interest and instead turn into something else. But what?
We invite contributions likely to explore the following topics (not exhaustive):

  • The time-space and rhythms of collective activity;

  • Crossed history of space and time communities at EGOS conference and beyond;

  • Methods likely to jointly investigate time and space in organizing;

  • The philosophical foundation and relevance of organizational time-space investigations

  • Temporalization and the volumes of organizing;

  • Visibility and the time-space of collective activity;

  • Depth and temporality in our experience of the world;

  • Vertical time, depth and volume and their implication for process theorizing;

  • Spacing, temporalizing and writing research;

  • Visualizing jointly space and time in process theorizing;

  • Duration, verticality, horizontality and organizing;

  • Layers, dyschronies and depth inside organizational time;

  • The politics of institutions, legitimacy and time-space ontogenesis;

  • Presence, co-presence and temporality;

  • Space, time and depth in studies of critical posthumanism and the Anthropocene;

  • Embodiment, materiality and time-space perspectives;

  • The space-time of actor-network theory;

  • Digitality, time and space;

  • Movement in and around organizational spaces

  • Entrepreneurship as joint spacing and temporalizing processes;

  • Different philosopher’s contributions to the above topics, in particular philosophers that question taken for granted position in MOS as well as thinkers that have not yet been introduced to MOS.



  • Alexander, S. (1920): Space, Time, and Deity. London: Macmillan.
  • Arendt, H., & Mattei, F. (1972): La crise de la culture. Paris: Gallimard.
  • Bachelard, G. (1931, 1995): L’intuition de l’instant. Paris: Stock.
  • Bachelard, G. (1950, 2019): La dialectique de la durée. Paris: Presses universitaires de France.
  • Braidotti, R. (2013): The Posthuman. London: John Wiley & Sons.
  • Czarniawska, B. (2004): “On time, space, and action nets.” Organization, 11 (6), 773–791.
  • Deleuze, G. (1993): The Fold: Leibniz and the Baroque. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
  • Deleuze, G., & Guattari, F. (1988): A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. London: Athlone.
  • de Vaujany, F.X. (2019): “Legitimation process in organizations and organizing: An ontological discussion.” In: F.X. de Vaujany, A. Adrot, E. Boxenbaum & B. Leca (eds.): Materiality in Institutions. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 343–377.
  • de Vaujany, F.X., Leclercq-Vandelannoitte, A., Munro, I., Nama, Y., & Holt, R. (2021): “Control and Surveillance in Work Practice: Cultivating Paradox in ‘New’ Modes of Organizing.” Organization Studies, 42 (5), 675–695.
  • Heidegger, M. (1927, 1996): Being and Time. A translation of ‘Sein und Zeit’. Albany: SUNY Press.
  • Heidegger, M. (1951): “Building, dwelling, thinking.” Visual Culture: Critical Concepts in Media and Cultural Studies, 3, 66–76.
  • Helin, J. (2020): “Temporality lost: A feminist invitation to vertical writing that shakes the ground.” Organization, first published onliny on September 25, 2020;
  • Jones, G., McLean, C., & Quattrone, P. (2004): “Spacing and timing.” Organization, 11 (6), 723–741.
  • Merleau-Ponty, M. (1945): Phénoménologie de la perception. Paris: Gallimard.
  • Merleau-Ponty, M. (1964): Le visible et l’invisible. Paris: Gallimard.
  • Wasserman, V., & Frenkel, M. (2015): “Spatial work in between glass ceilings and glass walls: Gender-class intersectionality and organizational aesthetics.” Organization Studies, 36 (11), 1485–1505.
  • Wasserman, V., & Frenkel, M. (2020): “The politics of (in)visibility displays: Ultra-orthodox women manoeuvring within and between visibility regimes.” Human Relations, 73 (12), 1609–1631.
  • Whitehead, A.N. (1929, 1978): Process and Reality. An Essay in Cosmology. New York: The Free Press.
Pierre Guillet de Monthoux is Visiting Professor at Stockholm School of Economics, Sweden, and Professor Emeritus in the Department of Management, Politics and Philosophy at Copenhagen Business School, Denmark. He is interested in the relationship between art, poesy, and organizing. Pierre’s ongoing research deals with Bachelard, e.g. his vertical approach of time and temporality.
François-Xavier de Vaujany is Professor of Management & Organization Studies at Université Paris-Dauphine (PSL–DRM), France. He is interested in new ways of working and organizing, the relationship between management and alternative forms of (open) society, and time-space dimensions of organizing in a digital era. François-Xavier draws on sensible and pragmatic ontologies to explore work, management, and digitality.
Varda Wasserman is an Associate Professor at the Department of Management and Economics in the Open University of Israel. She is an organizational sociologist specializing in organizational aesthetics, organizational control and resistance, embodiment and gender identities. Her recent publications appeared in ‘Organization Science’, ‘Organization Studies’, ‘Gender & Society’, ‘Organization’, and ‘Culture & Organization’.