Nicolini et al. (2012) Understanding the Role of Objects in Cross-Disciplinary Collaboration, Organization Science, 23(3), pp.612-629

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This paper constructs a framework that helps shed light on the shifting status of objects used in collaborationby using a pluralist appoarch (using multiple theoretical perspectives). The approach suggests that objects can perform three types of work to support cross-disciplinary collaboration: they provide the motives and drive for collaboration to emerge, they allow participants to work across different types of boundaries, and they constitute the fundamental infrastructure of the activity. The type of work the objects perform in collaboration derives from their inherent nature as well as nature of the activity. It is argued that the boundary objects concept is streched to cover everything (hence not explaining anything). Hence it is hard to clearly define what can be explained by using the concept of boundary object and what can’t. The authors suggest using similar approachest together (e.g., boundary objects and epistemic objects), since they are based on same ideas. Moreover, boundary spanning practices (e.g. meetings) should be used to reduce ambiguity of the objects.

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