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Multi-temporality and the Ghostly: Capturing the Spirit of Time Past and Yet to Come?

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Charles Harvey, Professor Roy Suddaby



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


Despite growing scholarly interest in time, history, and memory, we lack an understanding of the multi-temporal reality of organizations – how past, present, and future intersect to inform the lived experience of organizing. The lexicon of the ghostly can help in this regard. We offer a framework that focuses on core moments of organizational life: foundation, strategic change, and longevity commemoration, and illustrate this using a historical case study of consumer goods multinational Procter & Gamble (1930-2010). We extend explorations of the ghostly into the domain of long-lived multinationals. Departed leaders highlight the capacity for temporal interplay, representing a ‘shorthand’ for members to understand the organization’s past, present, and future. It is their persistence and mutability that makes them ghostly, reaffirming the past yet remaining open to re-interpretation. Studying organizations through the lens of the ghostly turns the spotlight on the spiritual, highlighting the need for re-enchanting our theorizing of organizing.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Maclean M, Harvey C, Suddaby R

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: Academy of Management Proceedings

Year of Conference: 2022

Print publication date: 01/08/2022

Online publication date: 06/07/2022

Acceptance date: 01/06/2022

Date deposited: 05/08/2022

ISSN: 0065-0668

Publisher: Academy of Management


DOI: 10.5465/AMBPP.2022.36

ePrints DOI: 10.57711/pa5k-7y69

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

Series Title: Academy of Management Proceedings

Sponsor(s): Academy of Management

ISBN: 21516561