The Electronic Journal of Knowledge Management publishes original articles on topics relevant to studying, implementing, measuring and managing knowledge management and intellectual capital.

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Journal Article

Managing Structural Diversity: the Case of Boundary Spanning Networks  pp399-410

Eli Hustad

© Jan 2008 Volume 5 Issue 4, Editor: Charles Despres, pp347 - 550

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Abstract

This paper reports from an interpretive case study conducted in a multinational company that operates in the . marine insurance industry. The study focuses on how structural diversity influences knowledge work activities performed by participants who are members of distributed networks of practice (DNoPs). In this paper, a DNoP is defined as a loosely knit, geographically dispersed group of participants who share knowledge with the purpose of solving business problems and improve daily work practices within an organization. The paper takes the view that dimensions of structural diversity such as geographical dispersion, business functions and business divisions define internal organizational boundaries. Thus, knowledge sharing in structurally diverse networks may be less efficient due to the barriers that these internal boundaries may cause. Structural diversity, however, may also enhance creativity and innovation where radical new insights arise from different perspectives introduced by the participants. Consequently, diversity and its potential boundaries embed a duality of contradictory features. The interviewees who participated in this study regarded diversity as a valuable resource. Different perceptions of business concepts, however, caused misunderstanding and conflicts between participants who worked at different business divisions and thus were geographically dispersed. Interesting findings demonstrated that the DNoPs under study went through an evolution where participants enacted through boundary spanning activities to overcome the barriers that structural diversity caused. The role of knowledge brokers and the use of boundary objects were crucial in these activities. While some boundary objects acted as obstacles, unexpected and illogical objects emerged from practice and became the most efficient boundary objects in use. Different communication media such as video‑ and teleconferences, email and intranet supported the boundary spanning processes. This paper brings the insight that networks were transformed by the influence of diversity, and that knowledge practices within the networks supported a shift as the networks evolved through cross‑network interactions.

 

Keywords: Network of practice, knowledge sharing, structural diversity, boundary object, boundary spanning, knowledge broker

 

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Journal Article

Application of Boundary Objects in Knowledge Management Research: A Review  pp100-113

Saima Kanwal, Miguel Baptista Nunes, Muhammad Arif Chen Hui, Andrew D. Madden

© Oct 2019 Volume 17 Issue 2, Editor: Shaun Pather, pp100 - 170

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Abstract

Knowledge is considered to be a corporate asset, but in practice it is grounded in different organisational functions and is stored in repositories and in individuals’ memories. Boundary objects have an important role in promoting knowledge sharing and transfer within and across social boundaries. These objects help individuals to learn from each other and to share their knowledge between and within groups. This study explores the nature of boundary objects as socio‑technical constructs that relate to the practice of knowledge management. The researchers used a critical literature review of boundary objects use in the context of the knowledge management landscape. Relevant articles published in English between 2008 and 2018 were retrieved from Web of Science. Analysis of the selected studies indicated that boundary objects contribute significantly to the development of shared understanding, knowledge creation and innovative thinking. These objects play different types of role in supporting knowledge practices within and across organisations. The findings also show that, while performing similar enabling roles in different contexts, the impact and use of different types of boundary objects (i.e., semantic, syntactic, pragmatic and metaphoric) varied significantly. Boundary objects may also help to coordinate interaction in the absence of intended coordination by the actors. It is recommended that, in order to get maximum benefit from the power of boundary objects and to strengthen their role, it is important for an organisation to identify, create and facilitate its use in knowledge management.

 

Keywords: Boundary Object; Knowledge Management; Critical Review; Knowledge Management Practice

 

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Journal Issue

Volume 17 Issue 2 / Dec 2019  pp100‑170

Editor: Shaun Pather

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Keywords: Boundary Object; Knowledge Management; Critical Review; Knowledge Management Practice, Personal Knowledge Management (PKM); Knowledge Management (KM); Knowledge Creation Theories; Knowledge Worker; Knowledge Society; Radical Innovation; Digital Platform Ecosystem (DPE), Organizational learning, learning university, learning business school, university management, management change, Dimensions of Learning Organisation Questionnaire (DLOQ), Future skills, Digital innovation, New world of work, Authentic learning, Life-long learning, 21st-century skills, Higher education institutions, social capital, higher education, knowledge sharing, Saudi Arabia, socialization, trust, participation, rewards

 

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