Cross-boundary Collaboration research theme

I am the lead of the project ‘Boundary Work: Addressing the Challenges of Cross-Boundary Collaboration at Mirai Corporation’, which was co-funded by several Japanese firms and members of the Dutch & Japanese trade federation.

Acknowledging the changing nature of work, my doctoral research focused on the profound transformations of modern-day knowledge work as organizational boundaries become increasingly permeable and work more temporal-spatially distributed. Enabled by advances in digital information and communication technologies, knowledge work is increasingly executed in collaborative settings that cross organizational, professional, geographic, and cultural boundaries. Such ‘cross-boundary collaboration’ offers an attractive alternative to traditional organizational forms. Yet, they also comprise important challenges related to fostering shared understanding, purpose, and direction among people who hold diverse knowledge, work practices, and interests.

My doctoral thesis describes the micro-sociological processes of ‘boundary work’ in addressing those challenges, and through which people come to understand and negotiate boundaries between them. Based on an extensive four-year ethnographic study inside a Japanese multinational, it examined the research question: ‘How do people enact boundary work to execute complex knowledge work in cross-boundary collaboration?’

I negotiated access and independently executed a global research program, consisting of  two 12-month periods of fieldwork spanning twelve different locations in Europe and Asia. I combined participant observation with 114 semi-structured interviews, as well as analyzed numerous documents. The thesis advances understanding of how divisional managers, engineers, and research scientists engaged in boundary work in order to jointly create common ground for collaboration, to coordinate their work, and to share knowledge in the context of strategy making, complex engineering projects, and realizing radical technological innovation. It demonstrated that people differentially engage in boundary work, depending on how they perceive the situation, the interests at stake, and competing institutional norms. I am currently preparing several academic papers for journal submission. A copy of my thesis is available upon request.

PhD Thesis

Corporaal, G.F. (2018). Boundary Work: Addressing the Challenges of Cross-Boundary Collaboration at Mirai Corporation, Ridderprint: The Netherlands

Peer Reviewed Conference Papers and Presentations

Corporaal, G.F. (2017). Strategic boundary work during the formation of a new management team. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Academy of Management (All Academy Theme), Atlanta, USA.

Corporaal, G.F., Levina, N., & Ferguson, J. (2016). Implementing radical technological innovation: Crossing the boundary from development to deployment. Paper presented at European Group of Organization Studies Conference, Naples, Italy.

Corporaal, G.F., (2016). Realizing radical process innovation: Moving innovations across the implementation boundary. Paper presented at the 5th European Theory Development Workshop, Helsinki, Finland.

Corporaal, G.F., (2016). When East travels West: Micro-dynamics of collaborative work at the intersections of geographical, cultural, and organizational fields. Paper presented at the Journal of Management Studies Conference, Warwick, UK

Corporaal, G.F., Levina, N., & Ferguson, J.E. (2016). Diffusing windows of opportunity: The transformation of fields to sustain radical innovation when moving toward deployment. Paper presented at the Organization Science Winter Conference, Park City, USA.

Corporaal, G.F., Ferguson, J.E., & Levina, N. (2015). Creating windows of opportunity: Sustaining radical innovation when moving from R&D to production. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Academy of Management (TIM division), Vancouver, Canada

Corporaal, G.F., Ferguson, J.E., De Gilder, D., Groenewegen, P. (2015). A cross- boundary coordination perspective on managing complexity in multiparty collaboration. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Academy of Management (OMT division), Vancouver, Canada

Corporaal, G.F., Ferguson, J.E., De Gilder, D., Groenewegen, P. (2015). Paradoxical boundary work in strategy making: Eliminating or shifting boundaries? Paper presented at the UEBS Strategy Conference, Edinburgh, Scotland
* Winner of best paper award

Corporaal, G.F., Ferguson, J.E., De Gilder, D., & Groenewegen, P. (2014).
10, 000 miles across the room? Emergent coordination in multiparty collaboration.Proceedings of the 5th international conference on collaboration across boundaries: culture, distance & technology

Corporaal, G.F., Ferguson, J.E., De Gilder, D., & Groenewegen, P. (2014). The emergence of (inter)organizational routines for cross-boundary coordination in a multi-party collaboration. Paper presented at the EGOS colloquium, Rotterdam, the Netherlands

Corporaal, G.F., Ferguson, J.E., De Gilder, D., Groenewegen, P. (2014) 10 000 Miles across the room? A process model of coordination in multiparty collaboration.Paper presented at Journal of Management Studies Conference, Cambridge, UK

Corporaal, G.F., Ferguson, J.E., De Gilder, D. (2013). The perception of boundaries in dispersed collaboration: A sensemaking approach. Paper presented at annual meeting of the Academy of Management (OMT division), Orlando, USA

Corporaal, G.F. (2011). Synergy-seeking versus distinction-drawing: Processes of integration and differentiation in a Japanese-Dutch takeover process. Proceedings of the 10th IACCM Annual Conference and 7th International CMS Conference
* Winner of IACCM best doctoral student paper award

Corporaal, G.F. & Ybema, S. (2010). Engaging cultural boundaries: Intercultural collaboration at Mirai Corporation. Proceedings of the 9th IACCM Annual Conference

Invited Presentations

“Boundary work: Doing distinctions in complex organizational work,” Werkgroep Vrouwelijk Talent, March 2016, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

“Paradoxical boundary work: Eliminating or shifting boundaries in integrated strategy making,” Strategy as Practice R&R session, Cass Business School, 03 November 2015, London, UK

“Diffusing windows of opportunity: The transformation of fields to sustain radical innovation,” Technology and Innovation Community, 30 October 2015, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

“Large-scale collaboration” ERIM Research Seminar, Rotterdam School of Management, 24 September 2015, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

“(De)constructing boundary work in dispersed top-management collaboration,” IS PhD Seminar, University of Illinois at Chicago, 14 November 2014, Chicago, USA

“Dynamics of boundary work in dispersed organizing,” IOMS seminar, NYU Stern School of Business, 04 November 2014, New York, USA

“Japanese-Dutch decision-making: An organization science perspective,” Organized and Presenter at Dutch Japanese Trading Federation Seminar, 13 June 2014, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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