Full citation 574

Omidvar, Omid, and Roman Kislov. "R&D Consortia as Boundary Organisations: Misalignment and Asymmetry of Boundary Management." International Journal of Innovation Management 20.02 (2016): 1650030.

Type: Non-experimental study

Knowledge user level addressed by the literature: Individual, Organizations, Sectors.

Research notes: In title, organizations is misspelled as “ORGANISATIONS”

Experience level of reader: Fundamental

Knowledge user(s) to whom the piece of literature may be relevant: Policy makers, Clinicians, Brokers, Manufacturers, Developers, Intermediaries, Users, Advocates, and Researchers.

Setting(s) to which the reported activities/findings are relevant: Community, Federal Lab, Government, Large business, Small business, University.

Format: Peer-reviewed journal article

Annotation: In research and development consortia, boundaries exist between disciplines, departments, and organizations. Research consortia routinely mediate complex boundary negotiations. This work is important because benefits of research collaborations are threatened by managerial and organizational hurdles. This study looked at espoused policies and real life practices together and discusses the interplay between practices. Boundary management is largely shaped by the characteristics of the boundary. Techniques for bringing collaborations into alignment and symmetry are boundary bridging focus, boundary crossing arrangements and collaborative governance arrangements.

This article uses the Commercial Devices and Services version of the NtK Model



  • Organizations in consortia have different interests, practices and principles which contribute to boundaries, or conditions that hinder the spread of innovation. NtK 2.3, 3.9, 4.4
  • Boundaries exist between disciplines, departments, and organizations. The most difficult boundaries to overcome are those based on identity or ideological differences and power struggles. NtK 2.3, 3.9
  • Boundary reconfigurations can have unintended consequences such as work fragmentation, marginalization of smaller groups, and loss of control. Such upsets can reinforce or recreate old boundaries or threaten identities. NtK 2.3, 3.9
  • Prioritization of other in house projects threatens collaborations. NtK 2.3, 3,9
  • A student or less prestigious employee may have less success as a knowledge broker than higher-regarded personnel due to less visibility or an expectation to behave deferentially. KTA Step 1.C, KTA Step 2.C, NTK 3.8 


  • Public institutions like universities can serve as a boundary-crossing bridge among private companies who wish to collaborate. NtK 3.1, 4.4
  • Recurring partnerships with the same groups enables boundary crossing via decreases in information asymmetry and increased trust. 3.1, 4.6
  • Knowledge brokering can be performed by individuals who show aptitude, regardless of their existing title. 3.2, 4.6, 4.7, 4.10


Boundary processes are strategies concerning inter-organizational processes. Building communication paths, using intermediaries, and mediating win-win dialogues are among these substantiated practices. NTK 3.8, 4.6


Reporting and recording practices can serve as knowledge capture/sharing activities rather than simply fulfilling administrative obligations. NtK 3.8, 4.6