Commitment to grand challenges in fluid forms of organizing: The role of narratives’ temporality.

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Organization and management scholars are increasingly interested in understanding how “fluid” forms of organizing contribute to the tackling of grand challenges. These forms are fluid in that they bring together a dynamic range of actors with diverse purposes, expertise, and interests in a temporary and nonbinding way. Fluid forms of organizing enable flexible participation. Yet, they struggle to gain and sustain commitment. In this case study of the SDG2 Advocacy Hub, which supports the achievement of zero hunger by 2030, we explore how the temporality of narratives contributes to actors’ commitment to tackling grand challenges in fluid forms of organizing. In our analysis, we identify three types of narratives—universal, situated, and bridging—, and discern their different temporal horizons and temporal directions. In doing so, our study sheds light on the contributions by the temporality of narratives to fostering commitment to tackling grand challenges in fluid forms of organizing. It suggests the importance of considering “multitemporality,” i.e., the plurality of connected temporalities, rather than foregrounding either the present or the future.
Original languageEnglish
JournalResearch in the Sociology of Organizations
Pages (from-to)139-160
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 29.03.2022

Bibliographical note

Iben Stjerne and Silviya Svejenova gratefully acknowledge financial support from the Velux Foundation (Velux Project #00021807 “The Temporality of Food Innovation”), which funded data collection and their work on this project. In addition, we thank the DFG network on “Grand Challenges and New Forms of Organizing” for inspiring feedback and discussions, as well as Blagoy Blagoev, Jana Costas, Miriam Feuls, Tor Hernes, Majken Schultz, and participants in the 2020 EGOS sub-theme “Tackling Societal Grand Challenges through Unconventional Forms of Organization” for their insightful comments on earlier versions of this manuscript.

    Research areas

  • Management studies
  • Commitment, Fluid forms of organizing, Food, Grand challenges, Narratives, Temporality