The Subjectivity of Boundary Spanning – Composite Boundaries in Project Working

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)


Boundary spanning is now an established focus in management studies. Emphasis is on actors ‘crossing’ seemingly stable or given lines of difference, especially formal organisational structures and cultural identities. There has been little recognition of wider research on boundaries showing how organizations are made up of ‘composites’ of multiple and fluid boundaries or of how actors’ subjective understandings of boundaries might inform spanning practices. In this article, we develop the composite view of boundaries by applying it to an empirical study of project working and reducing friction in multi-group contexts. In doing so, we construct a model of individual boundary spanning that recognises not only complexity and dynamism, but also subjectivity. This advances our understanding of both the composite view of boundaries and spanning.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEGOS Colloquium, Edinburgh, UK, 4-7 July 2019
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jul 2019

Bibliographical note

Paper presented at the EGOS Colloquium subtheme 66 on Temporality and Project-based organising

Structured keywords

  • MGMT Operations and Management Science
  • boundary spanning;
  • composite boundaries;
  • friction
  • project working;
  • subjectivity.

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