Elena A. Gudova

NRU HSE, Moscow, Russia

Articles. Research
This paper attempts to describe the foundations of the temporal orders of labor multiplicity of the Russian Post workers, as well as to consider some ways of relating these orders with each other. The research materials were collected through an organizational ethnography (from June 2013 to September 2014), as well as interviews (2014-2017) and an analysis of documents and open sources. The article is based upon three field stories. The Russian Post has three organizational peculiarities: geographical dispersion, the loose coupling of structural elements, and the locality of units. As a result, the work of employees is complicated by the spatial and temporal distance, the distance between different positions within the hierarchy, and the need for “interpretative work” to contextualize the universal directives. The temporal orders within such an organization can be set by the features of the intraorganizational structure and factors of the institutional constellations, but also by employees’ individual temporalities and the environment. Some possible ways to relate these multiple orders are presented in three empirical sketches — the story of the “labour participation coefficient”, the “cake story” and the story of the “long-haul transport arrangement”. These stories show that the coexistence of various temporal regimes requires temporal work, interaction in the logic of ambitemporality, and a common goal, which allows various actors involved in the postal service operation to relate the macro-level of various time structures with their subjectively experienced time. These mechanisms set conditions for temporal structuring and confirm various practices as familiar and understandable ways of coping with time. 
Keywords: ambitemporality, geographically dispersed organization, synchronisation, temporal work, temporal structuring, chronologic and kairotic time