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Chan, P (2012) Constructing a sense of time in projects: implications of a Bergsonian view of time . In: Smith, S.D (Ed.), Proceedings 28th Annual ARCOM Conference, 3-5 September 2012, Edinburgh, UK. Association of Researchers in Construction Management, 497–507.

  • Type: Conference Proceedings
  • Keywords: Henri Bergson; sensemaking; temporality; time
  • ISBN/ISSN: 978-0-9552390-6-9
  • URL: http://www.arcom.ac.uk/-docs/proceedings/ar2012-0497-0507_Chan.pdf
  • Abstract:
    Construction management researchers have long been concerned with explaining time performance in projects. Many have simply relied on the quantitative notion of ‘clock’ time to explain how the actions of participants, as rational purposive beings, contribute to the time performance of projects. In this article, the central argument that the emphasis of managerial methods of time management in construction has failed to account for the full spectrum of time is put forward. By researching project time performance as an objectified goal, construction management researchers have not fully imagined the qualitative possibilities of individual time scales (or temporal perspectives) in organizations. Drawing on the work of French philosopher Henri Bergson (1859-1941) and empirical examples from an ongoing ethnographic study of infrastructure development projects in an international airport (MyAirport), it is argued that time cannot be simply represented as a homogeneous numerical order. Rather, researchers must open up potential questions about the multiplicity (i.e. heterogeneity and continuity) of the qualitative experiences of time in (organizational) life, which has hitherto been taken for granted in the field of construction management. Implications of the more plural perspectives of time are also discussed, in relation to space (context), strategy (future-orientation), and sense-making (connecting temporal perspectives).