Skip to main content
Time as symbolic currency in knowledge work
Information and Organization (2009)
  • Dariusz Jemielniak, Kozminski University
The paper discusses the issue of time slips in software development. Increasing time sacrifices toward work constitutes an important part of modern organizational environment. In fact, the reign over time is a crucial element in controlling the labor process. Yet a lack of cultural studies covering different approaches to this issue remains—particularly those focusing on high-skilled salaried workers. This article is a small attempt to fill this gap, based on an analysis of unstructured qualitative interviews with high-tech professionals from a B2B software company. It focuses on the issue of timing in IT projects, as perceived by software engineers. The findings indicate that managerial interruptions in work play an important part in the social construction of delays. However, interruptions from peer software engineers are not perceived as disruptive. This leads to the conclusion that time is used in a symbolic way, both for organizational domination and solidarity rituals. The use of time as a symbolic currency in knowledge-work rites is presented as often influencing the very process of labor and schedules. It is revealed to be the dominant evaluation factor, replacing the officially used measures, such as efficiency, or quality.
  • time in workplace,
  • symbolic time,
  • time as a currency,
  • normative control,
  • individual heroism,
  • time in software,
  • IT timing,
  • organizational schedules,
  • temporal oppression
Publication Date
Citation Information
Jemielniak, Dariusz (2009) Time as symbolic currency in knowledge work, Information and Organization, vol. 19, pp. 277-293