Temporal contexts and actors vis-a-vis I-deals' timing and creation: Evidence from Nigeria

Dotun Ayeni*, Sara Chaudhry, Maryam Aldossari

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


I-deals (that is, personalised, non-standard employment arrangements negotiated between employees and their employers) arise at different stages of the employment lifecycle. I-deals can vary by timing, such as those created before hire (ex-ante) versus after hire (ex-post). However, scholars have not fully considered the impact of the temporal context (environmental, social, economic, individual) on I-deals or how a range of organisational actors may respond to enabling/constraining conditions when creating I-deals. Our paper focuses on the under-explored issue of I-deals’ timing by applying the theoretical lens of institutional entrepreneurship (IE). Key IE concepts enable a more critical understanding of broader temporal context impacts and the role of various actors (I-dealers, organisational agents) in creating I-deals. Drawing on a multicase study of 3 Nigerian organisations (62 semi-structured interviews, including fieldnotes and organisation-specific documents), our data revealed that field-level conditions and actors’ social positions interact to highlight (i) several distinctive temporal contexts, (ii) with differential impacts on I-deals’ timing and subsequently (iii) organisational actors adopting a range of tactics in response to enabling/constraining conditions. Based on these findings, we offer a theoretical model that reconceptualises I-deals’ timing by specifically focusing on the invisible concept of time. Finally, we discuss our study’s implications for I-deal research and offer future research directions and recommendations for practice.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages55
JournalGroup and Organization Management
Early online date26 Sept 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 Sept 2022

Bibliographical note

© The Author(s) 2022. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/) which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage).


  • I-deals
  • I-dealers
  • I-deals' timing
  • Temporal context
  • Institutional entrepreneurship


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