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Management ConsultancyBoundaries and Knowledge in Action$
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Andrew Sturdy, Karen Handley, Timothy Clark, and Robin Fincham

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199212644

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199212644.001.0001

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Boundaries and knowledge flow

Boundaries and knowledge flow

(p.23) 2 Boundaries and knowledge flow
Management Consultancy

Andrew Sturdy (Contributor Webpage)

Karen Handley (Contributor Webpage)

Timothy Clark (Contributor Webpage)

Robin Fincham (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Boundaries are shown to be a core element of social science in that they capture fundamental social processes of structuring and relationality. This is linked to a debate in the sociology of knowledge in the 1970s concerning the possibility and value of the knowledge of social ‘insiders and outsiders’. Following Merton, emphasis is placed on the idea of simultaneous and multiple insider — outsider statuses or identities. By drawing on recent organizational and learning literatures (e.g. Nooteboom, Wenger, Orlikowski, and Carlile), three related boundaries are then outlined — physical, cultural and political boundaries — and identified as necessary conditions for knowledge flow. Here, the importance for learning of cultural/cognitive distance between parties is introduced along with boundary contexts of particular importance to the study of consultancy — project working and liminality. The chapter concludes with a framework of boundary relations and dynamics which are drawn on in subsequent chapters.

Keywords:   boundaries, cognitive distance, liminality, insider knowledge, project based learning

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