University of Oulu

Ojansivu, I., Kettunen, K., & Alajoutsijärvi, K. (2021). At the temporary-permanent interface: Overcoming knowledge boundaries with boundary objects. Scandinavian Journal of Management, 37(2), 101150.

At the temporary-permanent interface : overcoming knowledge boundaries with boundary objects

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Author: Ojansivu, Ilkka1,2; Kettunen, Kerttu3,4; Alajoutsijärvi, Kimmo3,5
Organizations: 1University of Melbourne, Australia
2University of Oulu, Finland
3University of Agder, Norway
4University of Turku, Finland
5University of Jyväskylä, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: embargoed
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2021
Publish Date: 2023-03-30


There is no shortage of literature on managing complex projects. However, we lack an understanding of projects in which the complexity goes beyond technical, financial and time-related challenges. We report on two Nordic business school accreditation projects, where the major management challenge is the knowledge boundaries institutionalized deep into the ethos of the schools. We focus on the project team’s use of boundary objects — a communication device across social groups — to expose and overcome knowledge boundaries materializing at temporary-permanent interface. We identify three progressively more challenging boundary object uses: informative, interactive and integrative. Consequently, we suggest a dynamic approach to boundary objects wherein their use evolves throughout the project life span as a consequence of the lived “in situ” experiences.

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Series: Scandinavian journal of management
ISSN: 0956-5221
ISSN-E: 1873-3387
ISSN-L: 0956-5221
Volume: 37
Issue: 2
Article number: 101150
DOI: 10.1016/j.scaman.2021.101150
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 512 Business and management
Copyright information: © 2021 Published by Elsevier Ltd. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license