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Bluedorn – 2002 – Polychronicity (Chapter 3)

Summary: Deep, conceptual discussion of polychronicity — a mental activity and overt behavior that describes a continuum of activity patterns by two levels of analysis: individuals and groups. In short, polychronicity is “the extent to which people (1) prefer to be engaged in two or more tasks or events simultaneously and are actually so engaged (the preference strongly implying the behavior and vice versa), and (2) believe their preference is the best way to do things.”


Foundational concepts in this chapter: sociotemporality, polychronicity

Agreement in related work: Extension of work by Edward T. Hall. Decision strategies, like polychronicity, are often intuitive and unconscious. Bluedorn mentions how culture and personality play a critical role in decision strategies. Potential intersection with Zimbardo’s time perspective theory.

Contested areas:

Gaps/Limits in this study: Per Bluedorn, polychronicity is not multitasking which “combines speed and activity-pattern dimensions.” The dimensions include cognitive stages of processing, (task selection vs task performance), codes of processing (spatial vs linguistic), and modalities (audio vs visual). See Mark (2015).

Connections to my work: sociotemporality, social coordination, spatial metaphors

Annotated paper:

Bluedorn – 2002 – Ch 3 Polychronicity

Published inannotationstemporality