What is the future of machining

On dealing with the future in organizations - a practical theoretical perspective


The insight that the future is unknowable due to its contingency has permanently called planning as a central form of future management into question. Nevertheless, this knowledge and the subsequent search for functional equivalents to planning control actions did not lead to thinking and investigating how to deal with the future beyond a planning-based understanding. For the analysis of organizational planning for the future, the present article therefore proposes a practical theoretical perspective. For this purpose, the analytical challenges of a future-oriented research program are worked out and the practical theoretical approach is presented. Such a perspective enables one to look at the diverse, relationally entangled and situational actions that performatively produce and process what is to come. It thus makes a significant contribution to leading the way of dealing with the future out of the layout of a genuine planning problem and providing new impulses for the further development of control theory approaches.


The insight that the future is unknowable due to its contingency has destabilized planning actions as an allegedly safe form of handling the future. Nevertheless, this insight and the following search for functional equivalents to planning actions in corporate management has not led to rethinking and examining how organizations handle the future beyond a planning-based understanding. The present paper proposes a practice-theoretical perspective for the analysis of how organizations handle the future. For this purpose, the paper outlines the analytic challenges of a future-based research agenda and brings the practice-based approach into position. A practice perspective especially holds promising potentials because of its attention to the multifaceted, relationally bundled, and situated praxis through which the future is performatively generated and processed. By that, it provides an essential contribution to extending our understanding of handling the future as being more than a planning problem and sets new impulses for further developing theories of corporate management.


Organizations - even as a temporary facility - are always future-oriented. Dealing with what is to come preoccupies organizations of all kinds in all areas of economic life - from innovative start-ups to large corporations, and from manufacturing companies to service providers - and decisively determines the survival and demise of organizations (Noss 2013). Beckert's (2016, p. 58) associated knowledge that “the future matters just as much as history matters” is by no means trivial, since it is the creation and processing of the future that drives current action and thus organizational, market-related and triggers social developments in the first place. A better understanding of such developments - so the thesis - requires a more in-depth analysis of the forms of future work through which organizations create and process the future.

There is undoubtedly no shortage of future-oriented discourses in management research. On the contrary, the future appears to be omnipresent and ubiquitous negotiated under keywords such as possibilities (Alvarez and Barney 2007), risk (Hardy and Maguire 2016), uncertainty (Weick and Sutcliffe 2007) and options (Nadarajah et al. 2015). In this context, the future operates overall as a prototypical synonym of pointed contingency experience, to which management theory is based on the centering of planning actions (cf. Augier and Teece 2008; Hodgkinson and Healey 2011; Ordóñez et al. 2009) and the continuous further development and refinement of planning techniques (cf. and Wright 2002; Song et al. 2016).

With the insight, which finally manifested itself in late modernity, that the future is in principle unknowable, there is now also the knowledge of control theory that it is precisely not rational to meet the fundamental contingency of the future with ever more rational planning technologies (cf.Barry and Elmes 1997; Beckert 1996, 2013; March 1995; Mintzberg 1994). At the same time, however, the basic problem remains, dealing with the future as a planning problem, i. H. to be understood as the present definition of future events, basically unaffected by it. The initiated search and research for functional equivalents of planning and - more broadly speaking - organizational (i.e. also implicit) selection achievements is now thought of in concert with compensation and system development (cf. Schreyögg 1991). The processing of the future itself, however, remains essentially selection-oriented, even if the selection structures are no longer conceived exclusively as a result of intentional planning. How the future is presented, processed, processed and thus constructed in organizations is only visible in this way, i.e. as a selection structure.

Admittedly, the theoretical possibilities of overcoming the narrowing to selection-oriented forms of dealing with the future had not yet been sufficiently developed. With the further development of practical theory (cf. inter alia Feldman and Orlikowski 2011; Nicolini 2013; Reckwitz 2002; Seidl and Whittington 2014; Vaara and Whittington 2012), however, this situation has changed significantly in recent years - according to our thesis. By focusing on the specific actions, practical theoretical perspectives take a look at the numerous and relationally bundled practices and their performance. Thus, the practical theory appears as a very promising candidate, the future work of and in organizations new - and d. H. even beyond a selection problem - to think, research and analyze.

The following article therefore proposes a practical theoretical perspective on future processing, which takes into account the heterogeneous and complex practice of processing, marking and visualizing the future in organizations. The focus is therefore on the theoretical description of "future practices", i. H. those forms and patterns with which social actors imagine their future and process ideas about the future in their daily activities. By following a theoretical offer based on practice theory, both socially and methodologically, the activities, material carriers, (implicit) forms of knowledge and related discourses about the future in organizations come into focus. The aim of this article is to present this research perspective and to clarify its attractiveness with regard to the analysis of future processing.

The contribution is structured as follows: First, the socio-historical changes in the conception of the future are reconstructed. This change becomes paradigmatically clear in the development of modern organizations and in the parallel management theory in which the fundamental ignorance of the future has increasingly come to the fore. Consequently, these developments show a number of implications for the analysis of the processing of the future in organizations. It becomes clear that theoretical and conceptual efforts are required in order to do justice to the complexity of future processing and thus future management in organizations that extend beyond the limits of a selection problem. The following section takes up this starting point and outlines the practical theoretical perspective as a promising way to capture this complexity and to grasp it theoretically. After the introduction to basic terms and concepts of a theory of social practices, the specific view of time and the future is explained. Traditionally, social science research on temporality, and thus also on the future, has preferred either a subjectivist or an objectivist explanation. The practice theory now integrates both perspectives by asking about the situational performance of the future generation as well as about the structural shaping within such situations. The future will therefore not be a purely inwardly subjective category of experience, although it will not be a structure-determined compulsory orientation either, but a phenomenon of practice. A distinction must be made between three levels of temporality: (1) the principle temporality of any social practice, (2) the temporality of practices and (3) temporal practices in the narrower sense. While the first includes the totality of practices which, as repetitions of events, always refer to a future and past, the second connection between practice and temporality is related to the highly specific temporal structuring of each individual social practice. This must be distinguished from specific time practices that, in the narrower sense, are focused and specialized in organizing time. It is this last type in particular that is of particular interest to us. How this is to be grasped analytically is explained in the next section by naming the methodological analysis principles of a practical theoretical investigation of future processing. In particular, the performativity, situationality, heterogeneity and relationality of future practices are emphasized. These dimensions not only paradigmatically depict the broader practice-theoretical research program; they also provide the cornerstones of practical theoretical investigations into future processing, which can help management research to think and analyze how to deal with the future beyond a selection problem. This article concludes with an outlook on future research of this type and its chance to set further theoretical impulses in management research based on newer approaches to corporate management.

The article also clarifies the challenges of the planning logic that continues to dominate management research with regard to today's experience of contingency and shows to what extent a practical theoretical perspective can analytically penetrate the way organizations deal with the future. Such an analysis is a novelty in research on the future of organizations, as it does not go into the sole analysis of planning techniques. Rather, it takes up the diverse time and future-related aspects of current organizational realities and illustrates the multi-perspective structure of future practice. With this in mind and thought beyond the scope of the article, the practical theoretical research presented here provides a transdisciplinary networking vocabulary that is increasingly proving to be very research and knowledge productive across disciplines.

Review: The Past of Future Processing

The development of dealing with the future

The future is central to life in modern societies. The time mode of what is to come serves as a point of reference for present action - be it as a hopeful expectation, strategic-rational positioning or quasi-end-time fear. However, since the future - unlike the past - cannot rely on a previous material presence (e.g. documents, archives), the future must be brought about to a special degree, i.e. addressed, imagined and with the help of practices and representations to be edited. Such a visualization of the future is not an exclusive problem of the coming time (s), but draws its actuality from the presence and practice of the future in the present. Against the background of contemporary society, this is of particular importance, since the late modern future is pluralized and thus different, also competing, overlapping and reinforcing concepts of the future become clear. In other words: the future is increasingly becoming a problem in contemporary society.

This cannot be taken for granted in the “history of the future”. Only with the transition to the modern age from the second half of the 18th century is the concept of “future” conceived as a contingent time mode that no longer follows a purely religious chronoteleology and is based on metaphysical notions of finitude (cf. Koselleck 1989), but is viewed as the result of numerous social, scientific and technical influences. In modernity, the future comes into view as something changeable, which, beyond the recurrence of the same thing (such as the cycle of the seasons), appears not only as a changeable but also as a category that can be influenced (cf. Hölscher 1999; Minois 1998). This development can be further differentiated within the modern age. For the change of organizations and their control, the influential changes in the transition from a classical modern to the late modern are of particular interest (cf. Nowotny 1989; Rosa 2005). This classical modern (approx. 1890–1970), Beck (1986) speaks of a “first modern” and Wagner (1994) of the “organized modern”, shows - in general terms - a linear conception of time, which as stringent (Fort -) Development from the past to the future can be grasped. The future is seen as something new, but not as a dramatic structural break with the present, but rather as a time dimension that can be planned and controlled. With the help of progressive calculation, rationalization, professionalization and corresponding processes such as forecasting, scenario technology, trend analysis and other planning methods, the uncertainty of the future can be processed and ultimately resolved.

Such optimism in design also permeates the ideas of organizations and management. Organizations of classical modernism follow Weber's (1922) bureaucracy model of formal rationalization and standardization - ideally, but nevertheless powerfully. As such rational systems, organizations open up a specific view of what is to come (cf. generally Adam 1990, p. 104 ff .; Reckwitz 2016): The future comes into view as the result of a controllable process. More and more organizational practices are subject to temporal control, which is reflected in standardized time units, planned processing times, sequences, synchronizations and controlled speeds. This also applies to the future, which is captured in plans and target attainments and thus compressed in a way that is typical for modern times. For organizations, such a compression of time means an increase in the speed of events, for example an acceleration of production or sales processes. The future moves from the blurred distance into a recognizable nearness. In this context, time and the future become a commodity. Economic access to the future can be recorded not only as a scarce commodity in the present, but also as a (for example, technological) lead over other actors. Being in the picture about upcoming developments, and possibly even shaping them, appears to be an economic advantage towards which the organization must be oriented - be it through the systematic use of forecasting techniques (such as forecasts) or the introduction of research departments. Such a form of organization refers to a colonization of the time in the future. The future depends on the decision made in the present and can be planned within the framework of a formal-rationalistic model. What is to come is imagined as an empty surface onto which goals can be projected and which - this is crucial - can be tackled with the help of planning processes.

However, in late modern contemporary society (from around 1970) this future security is shaken, even if this must be visualized not as a clear change, but as an entanglement of competing and overlapping time horizons. Time-analytical studies show that the importance of temporal uncertainty is increasing and ignorance, and therefore risk, is becoming more and more present (Böhle et al. 2004; Bröckling 2008; Strohschneider and von der Weth 2002). At the same time, different time and future concepts are pluralized. In this way, a meta-temporal, pre-stable concept of time can no longer be used. Rather, a “temporalization of time” can be observed after a decision is made in the respective social fields and situations which rhythms, durées, sequences of events and actions are important (cf. Rosa 2005). This plurality of times becomes clear again as ignorance of the future, but without the certainty of adequate instruments for dealing with the future. The future thus becomes a clear limit to the present, a potentially radical structural break with the present.

On the role of the future in management research

Contrary to this late-modern experience, management research has held on to a linear time concept for a very long time and continues the idea of ​​an editable and structurable planning horizon in various forms even today. Early management research in particular took up the idea of ​​the controllability of the future in linear approaches to future processing.For example, Chandler (1962) pointed out with his well-known thesis “structure follows strategy” that successful future action should be planned. A number of planning technologies also found their origin in early management research (cf.e.g. Ansoff 1965), which were continuously further developed and refined in view of the identified challenges of future management (cf. Hodgkinson and Wright 2002; Song et al. 2016). The fact that these developments have by no means led to a departure from the linear concept of time in management research comes among other things. in currently used concepts such as speed (Pacheco-de-Almeida et al. 2015), speed (Nadkarni et al. 2016), “timing” (Hawk and Yeung 2015) and acceleration (cf. Clarysse et al. 2014). The linear time concept applies in particular to all approaches oriented towards linear-rational decision models and the associated control logic (cf. Hodgkinson and Healey 2011). For example, the more recent “dynamic capabilities” approach (cf., among others, Teece 2007) is still based on the “anticipation of uncertain futures” (Augier and Teece 2008, p. 1192) through “up-front planning” (Arend 2015, p. 79 ). On closer inspection, many controlling and target management concepts still carry the insignia of undisturbed planning optimism, ultimately getting a grip on future contingency through targeted processing and improved instruments (cf. Ordóñez et al. 2009). Such linear-rational models of future processing are experiencing a significant renaissance, not least due to the increasing availability and computer-aided processing of data, also in information technology-oriented areas such as business informatics (cf. Guericke et al. 2012).

This implicit planning optimism may come as a surprise in view of the inevitable contingency experience of organizational future action, but it is a thoroughly understandable desideratum, especially from the perspective of corporate practice. shown that plans, i. H. Determination for the future, still constituting the basis of many organizational processes. Although this form of dealing with the future is in certain respects similar to horoscopes and religious sermons (cf. Curnot et al. 2012), companies thus comply with a widespread rationality requirement that is expected both in quarterly reports and in other legitimation-oriented discourses and as such proven, d. H. leads to the attribution of legitimacy (cf. Vaara et al. 2010). This even applies to parts of the entrepreneurship and startup scene, in which on the one hand the idea of ​​"effectuation" is propagated (cf. Sarasvathy 2001), which is principally directed against the logic of planning, but on the other hand the so-called "Business Plan" and the detailed statements contained therein, among other things continues to be an important parameter for future cash flows (see Beckert 2016; Brinckmann and Sung 2015). In any case, the idea that, due to the contingency experience of what is to come, one does not see oneself in a position to make a clear statement about where one will stand in the future, still seems to be fundamentally unacceptable despite all the fallibility of plans (Clegg et al. 2005), the task of management is precisely to control and thus to establish controllability (cf. Nag et al. 2007). In this respect, planning processes fulfill the promise that the future can be shaped and thus enable an essential function in the present, even if other futures occur, which basically with the concept of the legitimation facade (see e.g. Meyer and Rowan 1977) - since this appears inevitable taken too negative a connotation. In this context it is therefore more than a coincidence of scientific development that the phenomenon of a breakdown of action and talk (cf. Brunsson 1989) and the increasing importance of legitimation and legitimation discourses for management research (cf. Joutsenvirta and Vaara 2015; Vaara et al. 2004; Vaara and Tienari 2008) go hand in hand with the above-mentioned increasing insight into a fundamental experience of contingency.

However, this experience of contingency finds particular attention in more recent reflective approaches that conceptualize the management of companies, especially with regard to their non-controllability, by combining the unambiguous “This is how it will be!” Through the ambiguous “It could be like this, but it could also be different! ”(cf. Kasper et al. 1999; Koch 2003; Ortmann 2003, 2013; Schreyögg 1991; Willke 2001). In these approaches, the future is primarily seen as a question of the limit of knowledge, as a fundamental, i.e. H. Inevitable selection risk designed for future developments, which cannot itself be compensated by planning, but looks for functionally equivalent control instruments (see also Luhmann 1973).

Georg Schreyögg (cf.Schreyögg 1991; Schreyögg and Steinmann 1987) presented one of the most comprehensive approaches for such a control concept with his modern management process and thus poured the contingency experience described here into a concise theoretical concept. The starting point of his considerations is the classic management process and the criticism of its immanent, plan-determined control logic, in which the current definition of future events through planning actions the control potential of all other management functions (i.e. organization, personnel deployment, leadership and control) directly and in a linear and cyclical ( Time) logic. Thus, in the classic conception of the management process, planning alone has the function of processing the future, i.e. That is, in principle, the future is only processed in the planning stage, whereas no future processing potential of its own is assigned to any further control actions. Against the background of system-theoretical considerations, Schreyögg (1991) fundamentally revised and redrafted the control logic associated with the classic management process. The central premise of this new conception is the insight into the fundamental complexity of the environment and the inevitable contingency of the future. That is, any concrete form of should-order is always there selectively. In this respect, every target regulation is risky and potentially in need of correction. From a control perspective, measures are therefore required to reduce the risk of surprises driven by contingencycompensate and non-sustainable target orders according to the current control requirements and thus change time-invariably and develop. As a result, selection, compensation and system development as abstract system functions become central cornerstones of the new control thinking, which - and this is the main idea - (a) no longer solely through planning and (b) no longer in a linear and cyclical (time- ) Logic is thought.

At the theoretical level, such developments have been taken up by advanced management research (cf. e.g. Boje 1995; Chia 1995). More recent approaches conceptualize the management of organizations with terms such as “strategy without design” (Chia and Holt 2009), “emergent strategies” (Mintzberg and Waters 1985; Mirabeau and Maguire 2014), “autonomous strategic actions” (Burgelman 2002; Burgelman and Grove 2007), "edge of chaos" (Brown and Eisenhardt 1997) and even "organizations as wonderland" (McCabe 2016). This happens especially with a view to their non-controllability, which makes it clear that what is to come can no longer be determined from the supposed security of perfect planning and technical rationality. Such a skepticism towards the predictability and knowledge of the coming results in organizational terms in an intensified focus on the present. In this context of “instantaneous time” (Urry 2000) the search for alternative methods of dealing with the future takes on new meaning. There is also a simultaneity of different future concepts. There is space for both old-style planning processes and newer, more contingency-open processes within organizations.

Against the background of more recent approaches to corporate management, it becomes clear that future management is ultimately completely new and much more complex - i.e. H. must not be exhausted exclusively in planning and / or emergent actions - must be thought. Because the empirically diverse ways of dealing with the future beyond a pre-stable conception of decision-making processes remain unilluminated. At the level of organizational reality, this means that different, even competing practices for dealing with the future can become clear (cf. Costas and Gray 2014; Kaplan and Orlikowski 2013; Schultz and Hernes 2013). At the same time, such a future in the plural - Luhmann (1984) speaks in principle of "futures" - is also linked back to different situations and thus receives a performative dimension. The present future, i.e. the presence of the future in the present immediacy of action and experience, is always dependent on a performative element. It is only being produced (see Beckert 2013, 2016).

For management research, this initial situation shows three analytical consequences with regard to the investigation of future processing. First, such a perspective must turn to situativity and thus also to the performance of current future constructions (cf. also Kaplan and Orlikowski 2013). She has to ask how concrete in the present the future is being worked on and which futures arise in the process. It therefore makes a difference for the future itself by the means by which it is imagined. If, for example, there are prognostic probabilistic methods, existing trends are further calculated; In contrast, visionary narratives of the future are explicitly about breaking with current and well-known future narratives. Thus, both procedures give rise to different ideas about what is to come and can hardly be subsumed uniformly under the heading of the selection structure.

Therefore, secondly, management research interested in the future must be surprised by the concrete figurations of future work. This means that we do not in principle start from the processing of what is to come through planning actions, but always take into account the contingency of the future. As a result, what is coming becomes not only a question of current selections, but also of other influences and developments that cannot be foreseen and must be compensated for. This leads to a variety of possible forms of future processing in practical action, which must be examined.

Taking this up, thirdly, a perspective on how to deal with the future must take a look at the relationality, i.e. the relationship between the numerous practices with which information about what is to come is obtained in organizations. Because the future forms in the organization are composed on the one hand of numerous discursive and non-discursive practices and on the other hand are recursively integrated into a wide network of different influences, which include such different aspects as internal and external norms and habitual constraints (cf. also Howard- Grenville 2005).

In our opinion, the theory of social practices represents a promising approach that has the theoretical means to enable such a view of complex organizational realities. The analytical focus of such a theory of social practices is to be described in more detail below.

In situ: Basics of a practical theoretical understanding of future processing

Practice Theory: An Introduction

In recent years, theoretical approaches that are characterized by a kind of “family resemblance” (Wittgenstein) have been known as “theory of social practices” or “theory of practice” (cf. Reckwitz 2002; Feldman and Orlikowski 2011; Vaara and Whittington 2012; Nicolini 2013; Seidl and Whittington 2014).Footnote 1 This means that the practice theory feeds on different theoretical directions - this includes approaches such as Bourdieu's praxeology, ethnomethodology, social constructivist approaches to different research directions as well as the socio-philosophical considerations of Theodore Schatzki or Bruno Latour - but there are certainly similarities in the theoretical approach. The practical theory does not impress with a comprehensive theoretical vocabulary, but rather is characterized by a lean apparatus of terms that provides connections for synchronous and diachronic empirical research in various fields.

The starting point of practical theory consists in assuming something as the smallest unit of social theory, which is a structured activity and thus action and structure at the same time: social practice or social practices. On a social-theoretical level, practical theory does not start with the intentional act of action or the determinism of social structures and rules, but emphasizes the routine behavior and action processes, which refer to the trajectory of their formation through a certain routine and these structures and rules only when the action is performed (reproduce, but at the same time involved in situations and thus are also changeable. The activities carried out in such situations are to be understood as practices, whereby it is precisely a double form of materiality that characterizes these practices - namely, practices include both the human body and the artifacts, both of which are essential for the performance of social practice are. This means that people are not the activist center, at least not the only center of a social practice. Social practices consist of the interaction of participating “participants” (Hirschauer 2004).

The social world, according to another basic assumption of practical theory, consists of a complex structure more heterogeneous, interrelated practices. Examples of such practices as types of activities are, for example, practices of cooperation (in organizations), i.e. the ways in which a task is worked on together. Meetings, agreements, feedback rounds, etc. can be regarded as sub-forms of such cooperation practices. There are practices that occur again and again in certain areas. So-called dispersed practices (Schatzki 1996, p. 91 ff.) Can be meeting practices that can be found in various social fields, for example in universities as well as in companies. In contrast, the so-called integrated practices (Schatzki 1996, p. 98 ff.) More closely linked to individual fields; an example would be providing scientific evidence.

Again speaking with Theodore Schatzki, practices form a “nexus of doings and sayings” (Schatzki 2012, p. 15), which means that on the one hand they are created and carried out by material carriers, i.e. bodies and artifacts. On the other hand, this also points to a dimension of knowledge, since the practices are always as skillful and usually (re) recognizable forms of Doings are. This knowledge, which usually appears as tacit knowledge, organizes the respective practices. Such organizations of activities become clear as practical orders, those in the execution of action relational are entangled.

Practices are always in this understanding cultural Practices in that they contain specific cultural orders of knowledge. They are always materials Practices by being anchored in two kinds of materiality, human bodies and things. And they always are social Practices, insofar as they are carried out over and over again in a similar form across spatial and temporal boundaries, i.e. in different places at different times, borne by diverse individuals. The practice-theoretical perspective does not start with the acting subjects, rather it operates its own version of a decentering of the subject: the social practices help yourself as it were of the subjects of their body and their mind, who are “subjectified” in a certain way, as Foucault speaks.

On the Form of Future Practices: Between Objectivism and Subjectivism

A practical theory of the future operates beyond the conventional social science interpretations on the subject of temporality. Closely linked to the above-described discourse on the (non-) linearity of visions of the future, time was implicitly understood in the social and economic sciences as either an objective or a subjective category (cf.Ancona et al. 2001; Bakken et al. 2013; Bluedorn 2002; Hydle 2015; Orlikowski and Yates 2002; see also Reckwitz 2016). The objectivistic understanding sees time as a neutral background against which events take place.Accordingly, as a standardized, measurable and comparable unit, time is in principle the same for all processes. Such a temporal mode refers to quantity and is taken up centrally in Taylorism in the context of management research. Then work steps are broken down into measurable time units and compared with others for their performance - this is how the time taken to open drawers is measured, etc. In planning theories, such a time concept is reflected in the emergence of different plans, all of which take the same time . On the other hand, there is a subjectivistic understanding of time, which takes into account the individual, social and cultural character of temporality. This is more about time than quality, i.e. about the specific forms of time experience and understanding of time. Accordingly, time is primarily understood as an achievement of perception; it is, for example, a matter of recording different durations. Opening a drawer "takes" longer if, for example, the day has already progressed. Such a subjectivistic category of time is by no means restricted to an individual. Likewise, social groups are conceivable in which the course of time is perceived differently - for example, the "time culture" in star kitchens (cf. Wenzel et al. 2016) and advertising agencies (cf. Krämer 2014) is characterized by a higher degree of short-term nature, spontaneity and frequency changes than this is the case in funeral homes (cf. Wenzel 2015) and newspaper publishers (cf. Koch 2011) with their focus on temporal stability.

A practice-theoretical perspective now occupies a position between and beyond this objective time structure and a subjectivist position. Time is therefore not an objective framework, but also not just a subjective time awareness, but a result and component of the respective practice: Practices rather have a temporal effect, that is, they produce their own temporal structure.

Such a perspective in no way means a positioning on the part of subjectivism '. Contrary to the notion of (collective) mental structures that structure the perception of temporality, the practical theoretical argument emphasizes the structuring of time through appropriate practices. Accordingly, time does not precede practice because it is sedimented, for example, in mental dispositions, but rather, from a practice-theoretical perspective, it is the result of activities carried out that realize a certain rhythm, for example. However, it is used as routine, i.e. recurring, and by several people or practice communities (communities of practice) a shared way of dealing with time.

Temporality of practice, temporality of practices, temporal practices

What does that mean for the analysis of future processing? We would like to suggest this in three points. Let's start basically: with the relationship between time and practice. If the focus of interest is on practices and the future, then the question arises as to the fundamental level at which this relationship is to be analyzed. To this end, it makes sense to distinguish the future practices that interest us from two other levels. From a practical theoretical perspective, the temporality of the social can be identified on three levels: on that of the temporality of social practice in general, on that of the temporality of individual social practices and finally on that of “temporal practices” in the narrower sense (cf. Reckwitz 2016).

The first level concerns the temporality of social practice as a whole. What is meant by this is a fundamental temporality of practice, which itself is always structured in time. The practice is a sequence of events that have a future and a past, referring to the previous and also being followed by the subsequent. As “a temporally unfolding and spatially dispersed nexus of doings and sayings” (Schatzki 1996, p. 89), social practice is always understood as a stream of events that have a before and after. In the re-performance of rehearsed physical acts, social practice develops a reference to the past. In the situational performance, however, it is repeatedly subject to small and large changes, offering the opportunity for new things - that is, also for changes in the respective practice. Garfinkel (1967, p. 9) calls this "for another first time" or in a later text it says: "another next first time" (Garfinkel 2002, p. 182).

In contrast to this fundamental temporality of social practice, a second level must be distinguished: the temporality of individual social practices. Just as every practice basically has a temporal dimension, individual practices can be distinguished by their very specific temporality. It is then about the specific temporality that the respective practice produces, not about its basic social-ontological event structure. Two forms can be distinguished here: On the one hand, specific practices follow or precede certain events. In a board meeting, for example, the foundations for operational changes can be laid, but the board meeting can also present the reaction to operational problems. In this sense, they are always an anticipation of what is to come, but at the same time also a reference to the past, in that they are also the result of practices that have already been carried out. Both temporal references - to the future and the past - are not exhausted in the immediate temporal proximity, but they refer much further. A board meeting can only be seen as a decisive event many years later (cf. Jarzabkowski et al. 2007) and at the same time the cultural practice of holding meetings goes back a long way in the history of cooperative disputes (cf. Sennett 2012). On the other hand, practices structure time themselves in a specific way. For example, when conducting board meetings, a distinction is first made between speaking times and periods of silence, which in turn are assigned to different actors. In addition, an exact start and an approximate end are specified. The dramaturgical sequence of the sessions is not infrequently organized in such a way that individual content highlights are separated from other less important aspects (cf. Jarzabkowski and Seidl 2008). Board meetings thus have a specific time rhythm that structures them.

Finally, a third type of connection between time and practice must be distinguished from these two forms, which plays a prominent role in our question of the concrete shape (un) of the future. These are those practices that are specifically related to time, the so-called “temporal practices” (Kaplan and Orlikowski 2013