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A Conceptual Perspective on Knowledge Management and Boundary Spanning: Knowledge, Boundaries and Commons

Abstract : Boundaries and transcending boundaries have become a major discussion topic in fields involved in the creation of value in Western economies. Quite often assimilated into physical and cultural limits, boundaries are presented as obstacles to entrepreneurial achievement. This entrepreneurial ability that unfolds in different fields-the economy of course, but also cultural activities, notably through a revolution of usages facilitated by internet business platforms. It seems pertinent to compare how commercial and non-commercial activities process information and accumulate knowledge. Boundaries must be crossed in order to diffuse knowledge and create innovation. But boundaries also act as a protection for scientific, technical, and cultural organisations and institutions. Boundaries are multiple and, in principle, objective between projects, organisations, types of knowledge, scientific disciplines, and of course between the various actors. But are they really all that objective? The succession of approaches towards knowledge management has a history (Snowden, 2002). A genealogy of the concepts and their success is available, testifying to the plasticity of knowledge boundaries. In this sense, our analysis presents boundaries as a construct that enables association between elements as much as separation. We begin by presenting a genealogy of the major concepts in the field of knowledge dissemination. We lay down the various terms that refer to knowledge boundaries, insisting, in particular, on the persistent misunderstanding about how the learning process leads to knowledge. This conceptual framework helps us distinguish two functions of a boundary-separation and elaboration. We will then go on to develop this distinction for commercial organisations, and finally for non-commercial organisations such as Wikipedia.
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Léo Joubert, Claude Paraponaris. A Conceptual Perspective on Knowledge Management and Boundary Spanning: Knowledge, Boundaries and Commons. The Palgrave Handbook of Knowledge Management, Palgrave Macmillan, 2018, 978-3-319-71433-2. ⟨halshs-02072131⟩

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