European Journal of Information Systems

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 47–60

The role of boundaries in knowledge processes

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1057/palgrave.ejis.3000413

Cite this article as:
Merali, Y. Eur J Inf Syst (2002) 11: 47. doi:10.1057/palgrave.ejis.3000413


Advances in communications and information technology deliver an increasingly dynamic and interconnected competitive context. To survive and prosper in this environment, organisations must be innovative and adaptive. Intellectual and relational capital comprise key resources for competitive success. This paper concerns the knowledge processes that enable organisations to undergo transformational change in an interconnected world whilst retaining the integrity of their organisational identity. It views organisations as complex adaptive systems, and uses a case study example to demonstrate the importance of boundary phenomenology in defining organisational knowledge processes. The underlying conceptual framework draws on Maturana and Varela's concept of autopoietic unity as a metaphor to explore issues of organisational identity and integrity, and uses Merali's Cognitive Congruence Framework to examine the cognitive infrastructures underpinning adaptive behaviour. The discussion reflects on the implications of this work for knowledge management practice in emergent competitive contexts, and in concluding, advocates active boundary management.

Copyright information

© Operational Research Society 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Information Systems Research Unit, Warwick Business School, The University of WarwickCoventryUK

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