Sub-theme 35: Organizing Space and Spacing within Temporal Contexts

David Weir
York St John University, United Kingdom
Renata Kaminska
SKEMA Business School, Sophia Antipolis, France
Natalie Paleothodoros
University of York, United Kingdom

Call for Papers

The organizational framing of events in space is universal throughout cultures and societies: relationships, moderating structures and organizing processes follow culturally predictable spatial patterns (Lefebvre, 1992). Weir (2010) focused on expectations about correct behaviors in a specific spatial environment, the diwan. Yet much more research needs to be done to show how such spatially-shaped expectations and patterns of comprehension are crucially embedded in temporal processes (Hernes, 2014). Our dominant models of organization favour the fixed and the static; change, movement and transformation continue to be construed as epiphenomenal, occurring ‘in’ space, and hence locatable in spatial terms. Such a propensity for spatializing temporal event-happenings overlooks the value of thinking of space as an after-effect of spacing in time; as a temporal process involving the becoming of an entity or object of apprehension.
For this to happen, the kind of institutional thinking that sees organization as a set of fixed structures with distinct boundaries and clear-cut categories must be overturned (Cooper, 2005). Deleuze’s (1988) notion of ‘rhizomes’ rather than ‘trees’ can help point us towards re-construing the emergence of spatial order in terms of rhizomic spreading and territorialization. In this sense, space can be understood as ongoing regeneration of productive relations in time and it is these relations that require closer scrutiny, which in turn implies adopting a processual worldview (Chia,1999). Such a processual approach enables the linking of organizing as something that orders space in a temporal context through acts of spacing in order to make space usable or workable for us.
With this in mind, we would like to draw attention to the robust and growing body of work on processual space and welcome the wider movement of thought in relation to organizing space and spacing that takes inspiration from Lefebvre’s (1992) notions of ‘spatial practice’, ‘representations of space’ and ‘representational space’. Examples include and are not limited to accounts of how spaces materialize relations of power (Zhang et al., 2008), the production of space (Dale & Burrell, 2008), organizational aesthetics as forms of culture and identity (Wasserman & Frenkel, 2010) and spacing as on-going sociomaterial accomplishment (Paleothodoros, 2014). We also welcome considerations of spacing as a mode of non-representational theorizing as outlined in human geography which challenges the interpretations of Lefebvre’s work. For example, Beyes & Steyaert (2011) advocate a move away from extracting representations of the (organizational) world towards embodied apprehensions of the everyday performing of organizational space; towards the non-representational or embodied space.
We welcome delineations of the process of re-instating the role of affect in relating or firing cognition (Damasio, 2000) and practices that drive judgement and embodiment, reconfiguring multi-dimensional cultural mindscapes (Trompenaars & Hampden-Turner, 1997; Maruyama, 1980) or ways of the seeing the world. We invite contributions that develop nuanced accounts and pay particular attention to becoming over being and the related consequences. We wish to encourage discussions on encounters with time and space and thus propose thinking in terms of encountering multiple interactions and events; or of experiencing time and space. What translations/intermediations occur as a consequence of these events/experiences? How do actants interrupt, modify, interfere with interests, thus producing multiple times and spaces? We would like to hear from those who seek to broaden potential frameworks of exchange beyond the encounter and consider the organization of space and spacing as a process of relating and reconfiguring exchanges.
We welcome theoretical, empirical and methodological papers that expose, critique or reinforce our grasp of these temporal processes of organizing space and spacing:

  • Organizing space in temporal contexts and making space usable or workable for us
  • Exchanges beyond the encounter: experiencing time and space
  • Territorializations, interruptions and productions of multiple times and spaces
  • Representational and non-representational theorizing of space and spacing
  • Consequences for inter-culturality, identity, purpose and practice
  • Creativity, creative spaces and social interactions
  • The impact of advances in complementary fields, including but not limited to neuroscience, aesthetics, film, music and performance art



  • Beyes, T., & Steyaert, C. (2011): “Spacing organization: non-representational theory and performing organizational space.” Organization, 19 (1), 45–61.
  • Chia, R. (1999): “A ‘Rhizomic’ Model of Organizational Change and Transformation: Perspective from a Metaphysics of Change.” British Journal of Management, 10 (3), 209–227.
  • Cooper, R. (2005): “Peripheral Vision: Relationaliy.” Organization Studies, 26 (3), 1689–1710.
  • Dale, K., & Burrell, G. (2008): The Spaces of Organisation & the Organisation of Space: Power, Identity & Materiality at Work. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan.
  • Damasio, A. (2000): The Feeling of What Happens: Body, Emotion and the Making of Consciousness. New York: Vintage.
  • Deleuze, G. (1988): Bergsonism. New York: Zone.
  • Hernes, T. (2014): A Process Theory of Organization. Oxford: Oxford University Press
  • Lefebrve, H. (1992): The Production of Space. New York: Wiley.
  • Maruyama, M. (1980): “Mindscapes and Science Theories.” Current Anthropology, 21 (5), 589–608.
  • Paleothodoros, N. (2014): Intermediating Relationships: Technology, Spacing and Mobile Consulting. PhD Thesis, York St John University, Lancaster University.
  • Trompenaars, F., & Hampden-Turner, C. (1997): Riding the Waves of Culture. London: Nicholas Brealey Publishing.
  • Wasserman, V., & Frenkel, M. (2010): “Organizational Aesthetics: Caught Between Identity Regulation and Culture Jamming.” Organization Science, 22 (2), 503–521.
  • Weir, D. (2010): “Space as context and content: the diwan as a frame and a structure for decision-making.” In: A. van Marrewijk & D. Yanow (eds.): Organizational Spaces. Rematerializing the Workaday World. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 115–137.
  • Zhang, Z., Spicer, A., & Hancock, P. (2008): “Hyper-Organizational Space in the Work of J.G. Ballard.” Organization, 15 (6), 889–910.
David Weir is Professor of Intercultural Management at York St John University, UK, and has written extensively on Management in the Arab world. His interests in spacing fall especially on the diwan, a spatial structure facilitating organizational process as a matrix for decision making.
Renata Kaminska is an Associate Professor of Strategy and Innovation at SKEMA Business School, France, where she is part of the Scientific Committe of the Knowledge Technology and Organization (KTO) Research Centre. Her research focuses on micro-foundations of dynamic capabilities, strategy process and flexible organizational designs. Recent interests have shifted into space and creativity.
Natalie Paleothodoros is a Lecturer in the Organization, Theory & Technology Group, at The York Management School, University of York, UK. She holds a PhD in Organization, Work and Technology from Lancaster University and has research interests in the constitutive role of materiality and the practice of spacing in organizations.