Please check my Research Gate profile for more information

research area
  • Organization & Management Theory
  • Technology and Innovation Management
  • Strategy
  • Information Systems
research interests
  • Micro-foundations of inter- and intra-organisational collaboration
  • Institutional processes around the emergence and transformation of fields and boundaries
  • Technology and management innovations and new value creation
  • Strategy processes and practices
  • Social and environmental issues in management
  • Innovative organizing in the cultural industry
research statement

My research is situated at the nexus of organization and management theory, technology and innovation management, and strategy. I contribute to the development of a refined and grounded theoretical understanding of contemporary collaborative work around technology, innovation, and strategy – on the grounds that it comprises considerable levels of complexity. Due to globalization, digitization, and hyper-specialization, knowledge work is increasingly being carried out across organizational, geographical, and various other boundaries, to connect seemingly disparate fields. This results in various ambiguities and interdependencies at the intersections between fields

My research focuses on how collaboration processes unfold when organizational boundaries become increasingly permeable and work more temporal-spatially dispersed. I explore the transformations of work and the important challenges they entail for organizations, their efforts to optimize organizing processes toward realizing strategically important objectives. Current literature predominantly investigates collaboration within organizational boundaries. It is now that collaborative work is fundamentally changing, in terms of the organizational forms and mechanisms for knowledge creation and transfer, and the ways we relate to one another. Organizations experiment with collaborations that permeate the traditional boundaries of organizations. Often however, members remain embedded in the organizational fields that are separated by those very boundaries. While we all experience these changes, we don’t fully understand their true impact for individuals and organizations; about how they accept, influence, or resist them. Therefore, collaborative work processes, outcomes, and the coordination thereof should be re-examined, which requires in-depth observation.

I believe that this period of transition forms fertile ground for developing novel insight about the institutions and organizations that are affected by these changes, as well as the significance of large-scale collaborations for addressing important social and environmental issues. I am motivated to develop theory with valuable implications for managers and employees to effectively organize collaborative work and around large-scale knowledge processes. I therefore study the micro-dynamics of complex collaboration and the challenges and opportunities that they entail for technological organizations and society more generally.

My research papers combine different theoretical and empirical foci to study instantiations of collaborative work that are carried out in the realms of technology, innovation, and strategy making. They are thematically similar as they all address organizational elements of collaborative work. They are also diverse as they shed light on different pieces of the puzzle, such as emergent coordination, field emergence and transformation, and strategic boundary work. In the future, I wish to continue this line of research and empirically expand it toward settings that address “big issues” around climate change, sustainability, and social innovation.

Dissertation research

(Co-)Promotores: Prof. Dr. Peter Groenewegen, Dr. Dick de Gilder and Dr. Julie Ferguson

Starting date: 1 September 2011 | End date: 1 September 2016

Status: Proposal accepted in September 2012 | Dissertation defense scheduled for summer 2016

Cross-boundary work: A study of the challenges of complex collaboration at Mirai Corporation

My dissertation research is process-oriented, based on a four-year longitudinal and multi-cited field study of collaborative work that is carried out in a Japanese multinational, and together with an American engineering contractor. In the essays of my dissertation, I examined different cases of collaborative work to realize coordinated action in geographically dispersed settings. They involve professionals from Europe and Asia, and at different organizational levels. They contribute to theory development about how individuals from different fields carry out technological work, radical innovation, and strategy making in settings that ask for substantial boundary spanning. Figure 1 below visualizes the relationship between the different studies included in my dissertation.

 Figure 1. Conceptual overview dissertation

figure disertation

My dissertation research contributes to central theoretical debates in organization and management theory about the transformation of collaborative work and the opportunities and challenges that these transformations entail for organizations, their members, and their work practices. I specifically view the development of a boundary-centric perspective on contemporary collaborative work as its largest contribution.

related studies

My first two studies center around complex intraorganizational collaboration. One of them examined strategy-making processes in a horizontal MNC-collaboration among divisional managers from Japan and Europe. In the other study I examined a case of radical technological innovation that was developed in a horizontal MNC-collaboration among R&D professionals from Japan and Europe, and implemented in a local production site in the Netherlands. My third study concerns a case of complex interorganizational collaboration. It investigates the coordination of engineering work in a complex multiparty collaboration that involved engineers from Japan, China, Belgium, and the Netherlands. Together, these essays allow me to answer the broader research question: “How do professionals of different organizations, and organizational levels perform complex collaborative work across multiple boundaries toward realizing and sustaining coordinated action.” While exceedingly broad, this question is clearly important, and will continue to shape my research agenda. Below are summaries of the papers that are based on my dissertation, and indicate the research streams that I will develop in the future.


Corporaal, G.F., Ferguson, J.E., & Levina, N. Creating windows of opportunity: Sustaining radical innovation when moving from R&D to production. Academy of Management Annual Meeting Proceedings 08/2015; 2015(1):18716. DOI:10.5465/AMBPP.2015.18716abstract

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. (2013). The perception of boundaries in dispersed collaboration: A sensemaking approach. Academy of Management Annual Meeting Proceedings 11/2013; 2013(1):15338-15338. DOI:10.5465/AMBPP.2013.15338abstract

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
* Winner of 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

manuscripts in preparation for journal submission

Corporaal, G.F., Ferguson, J.E., De Gilder, D., Groenewegen, P. (2015). Nothing is the way it seems: Eliminating or shifting boundaries in strategy making. To be submitted to Strategic Management Journal (previously R&R/in review at OrgSci and AMJ)

Corporaal, G.F., Ferguson, J.E., & Levina, N. Diffusing windows of opportunity: The transformation of fields to sustain radical innovation when moving toward deployment. Target journal: Organization Science

working papers related to dissertation

Corporaal, G.F., Lifshitz-Assaf, H., Levina, N., & Bechky, B. A boundary centric perspective on complex knowledge work (writing in progress) Target journal: Academy of Management Review

Corporaal, G.F., When east travels west: Micro-dynamics of collaborative work at the intersections of geographical, cultural, and organizational fields (write-up in progress)

Corporaal, G.F., Occasional opportunism at Zeni: Inducing technological innovation in highly institutionalized contexts (data collection completed)

Corporaal, G.F., Materialized risk: Balancing different uncertainty logics in business forecasting at Mirai Corporation (data collection completed)

other studies

Corporaal, G.F., Passenier, D., & Boersma, K. Spaces of transition and ambiguities of betweenness: The uptake of liminality in management and organization sciences (write-up completed)

future research

My work positions me at an exciting intersection of three research streams that enhance understanding of fundamental issues of organizations and management around strategy and innovation. In future research I will utilize different methodologies, including field research, process research, and social network analysis, to address questions related to large-scale collaboration and complex knowledge work that address big issues around climate change, sustainability and social innovation, and – related to my passion for music – in the cultural industry.


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