Journal Article
The Time and Space of Materiality in Organizations and the Natural Environment

In this article, we argue that prior organizations research has contributed to the erosion of the natural environment by failing to discriminate physical materiality from sociomateriality. The time–space attributes of physical materiality are more immutable than sociomateriality, so the compression of time and space in and by organizations is disrupting the cycles of the natural environment. We illustrate this point through the example of carbon markets. The development of futures and other financial derivatives contributes to the compression of time, whereas the movement of capital worldwide contributes to the compression of space. This time–space compression disembodies financial instruments from their physical target, namely, carbon, leading to the distortion of the instrument’s “real” value and hampering carbon emissions reductions. We call for organizational theories that more fully account for physical materiality.

Title
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsBansal P, Knox-Hayes J
JournalOrganization & Environment
Volume26
Issue1
Pagination61-82
Date Published01/2013
Abstract

In this article, we argue that prior organizations research has contributed to the erosion of the natural environment by failing to discriminate physical materiality from sociomateriality. The time–space attributes of physical materiality are more immutable than sociomateriality, so the compression of time and space in and by organizations is disrupting the cycles of the natural environment. We illustrate this point through the example of carbon markets. The development of futures and other financial derivatives contributes to the compression of time, whereas the movement of capital worldwide contributes to the compression of space. This time–space compression disembodies financial instruments from their physical target, namely, carbon, leading to the distortion of the instrument’s “real” value and hampering carbon emissions reductions. We call for organizational theories that more fully account for physical materiality.

URLhttp://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1086026612475069