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A palace fit for the future: desirability in temporal work
journal contributionposted on 2023-06-10, 02:53 authored by Siavash Alimadadi, Andrew DaviesAndrew Davies, Fredrik Tell
Research on the strategic organization of time often assumes that collective efforts are motivated by and oriented toward achieving desirable, although not necessarily well-defined, future states. In situations surrounded by uncertainty where work has to proceed urgently to avoid an impending disaster, however, temporal work is guided by engaging with both desirable and undesirable future outcomes. Drawing on a real-time, in-depth study of the inception of the Restoration and Renewal program of the Palace of Westminster, we investigate how organizational actors develop a strategy for an uncertain and highly contested future while safeguarding ongoing operations in the present and preserving the heritage of the past. Anticipation of undesirable future events played a crucial role in mobilizing collective efforts to move forward. We develop a model of future desirability in temporal work to identify how actors construct, link, and navigate interpretations of desirable and undesirable futures in their attempts to create a viable path of action. By conceptualizing temporal work based on the phenomenological quality of the future, we advance understanding of the strategic organization of time in pluralistic contexts characterized by uncertainty and urgency.
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- SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit Publications
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