About time in marketing: an assessment of the study of time and conceptual framework

Abstract

An inspection of time-related research in marketing documents two dominant conceptualizations of time: objective time and subjective time. Objective time is straightforward, and refers to clock time. In contrast, subjective time is quite nuanced and refers to the differential experience and perception of time. Recognizing this distinction, a number of scholars have suggested that the marketing discipline relies upon objective time, and as a result, does not have a fully developed understanding of time. Conducting a historical assessment of time, we demonstrate that marketing has a conceptually-bounded view of time. We develop a conceptual framework that reconceptualizes time as objective and subjective and as experienced by multiple referents, and develop research propositions that highlight the importance of integrating a broadened view of time into marketing research, recognizing that we are better off thinking about time as objective time and subjective time. We conclude with a discussion highlighting future research opportunities.

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Fig. 1

Notes

  1. 1.

    For example, Table 5 distinguishes between three types of subjective time, in addition to several corresponding subtypes.

  2. 2.

    The 61 articles represented 66 total subjective time themes because some articles studied multiple dimensions (e.g., an article that studied subjective time perception and social/cultural time).

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Acknowledgements

This article is based on the first author’s dissertation, under the supervision of William T. Ross, Jr. and Robin Coulter. We would like to thank Joseph Pancras for providing feedback on earlier versions of this work. We also thank Manjit Yadav, the editor of this article, and three anonymous reviewers for their guiding and invaluable feedback. All authors contributed significantly to this work.

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Carlson, J.R., Ross, W.T., Coulter, R.A. et al. About time in marketing: an assessment of the study of time and conceptual framework. AMS Rev 9, 136–154 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13162-019-00148-6

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Keywords

  • Time
  • Subjective time
  • Objective time
  • Conceptualizing time
  • Conceptual framework