Scandinavian Working Papers in Business Administration

SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Business Administration,
Stockholm School of Economics

No 2006:2: Boundaryless Management - Creating, transforming and using knowledge in inter-organizational collaboration. A literature review

Jesper Blomberg () and Andreas Werr ()
Additional contact information
Jesper Blomberg: Center for People and Organization, Postal: Stockholm School of Economics, P.O. Box 6501, SE-113 83 Stockholm, Sweden
Andreas Werr: Center for People and Organization, Postal: Stockholm School of Economics, P.O. Box 6501, SE-113 83 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: Current literature on organizations often argues that firms are becoming increasingly dependent on knowledge residing outside their own boundaries requiring organizations to increase their entrepreneurial abilities and make their boundaries more flexible and permeable. This paper reviews the literature on what might be called interorganizational knowledge work. Implied in this focus is an assumption of clear organizaitonal boundaries. Rather than taking these boundaries and their importance for granted, the current review, however, aims at relativizing these boundaries. By focusing the empirical phenomenon of collaboration between individuals in different organizations, four different streams of literature with different constructions of the organizational boundary and its importance were identified: the literature on learning in alliances and joint ventures, the literature on collaboration in industrial networks, the literature on social networks and communities of practice and finally the literature on geographical clusters and innovation systems. The above four streams of the literature are reviewed with a special focus on the following three questions: 1. What is the role of (organizational) boundaries in interorganizational knowledge work? 2. What do we know about how these boundaries can be overcome? 3. What are the implications for managing interorganizational knowledge work spelled out in the literature?

Keywords: Interorganizational collaboration; Knowledge Management; Literature review

35 pages, January 27, 2006

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