The Structuring Activities of Boundary Objects
Boundary objects (Star and Griesemer, 1989) are non-human actors or artefacts that can coordinate collaborative activity across social worlds. Unlike human actors, who have intentionality, this coordinating role occurs as the object is embedded in the network of actors and they influence or shape interactions and meanings between human actors. While existing research has investigated, and demonstrated, the success of objects facilitating collaboration within (epistemic objects, Knorr Cetina, 1999) and across (boundary objects, Star and Griesemer, 1989) groups, it has hitherto been unable to explain how such objects come into being (Nicolini et al, 2012); the focus has been on the role of objects in assembling networks of actors, rather than the roles of networks of actors in assembling specific objects (Knights and McCabe, 2016). Moreover, primarily research on such boundary objects has been in stable environments, where day-today activity is predictable and ordered. This article makes use of Actor-Network Theory (ANT) as a means of understanding boundary object formation, ontology and transience. Specifically, this paper addresses how boundary objects come into being, how they hold together the actor network, and how they are affected by changes in context.
Citation : Thompson, E., Macpherson, A. and Herbane, B. (2017) The Structuring Activities of Boundary Objects. Orgnaizational Learning, Knowledge and Capabilities Conference, 26-28 April 2017, University of Valladolid, Valladolid, Spain
Peer Reviewed : Yes