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Managing Knowledge Integration Across Boundaries$
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Frederik Tell, Christian Berggren, Stefano Brusoni, and Andrew Van de Ven

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198785972

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198785972.001.0001

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Talking through Objects

Talking through Objects

The Sociopolitical Dynamics embodied in Boundary Objects in Architectural Work

(p.171) Chapter 11 Talking through Objects
Managing Knowledge Integration Across Boundaries

Dmitrijs Kravcenko

Jacky Swan

Oxford University Press

With a few notable exceptions, current literature on boundary objects primarily focuses on how individuals interact around boundary objects in pursuing knowledge integration, with a prevailing assumption that these artefacts allow for an almost harmonious arena for work. Following an in-depth ethnographic study of architectural work, we observe that objects used to integrate knowledge across professional boundaries have existing power relations built into them. Specifically, we note that boundary objects are not ‘blank slate’ devices around which work can be carried out equally, but originate from specific domains of practice thus importing certain restrictions and dispositions of those practices into the work. Our research suggests that boundary objects perform best where power relations are asymmetric, and calls for more attention to be paid to the work done within boundary objects.

Keywords:   boundary objects, knowledge integration, domains of practice, power relations, artefacts, architecture, ethnographic study

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