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Paper info: Boundary Objects and Buyer - Seller Relationships


Boundary Objects and Buyer - Seller Relationships


Geoff Easton
Lancaster University
United Kingdom
Geoff Easton and
Katy Mason
Lancaster University
United Kingdom
Katy Mason

Place of Publication

The paper was published at the 25th IMP-conference in Marseille, France in 2009.


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The concept of 'boundary objects' was first popularised by Star and Griesemer in their 1989 paper. They conceived of boundary objects as particular devices which facilitated coordination and stabilised social structures.Within Management, the key areas of scholarship which employ the boundary object concept are organisational behaviour, science and technology studies, design and product development, learning, knowledge and memory, integration and coordination and, naturally, boundary spanning roles. Business to business marketing and purchasing represents an intersecting social world where important boundary objects proliferate.The purpose of this paper is todescribe the nature and identify boundary objects that exist between network actors and theorise about their nature. The paper begins with a definition of the concept and its origins and then proceeds to a characterisation of the nature of boundary objects. There follows descriptions of various boundary objects identified and in some cases studied and researched after which the processes in which boundary objects are involved, and by which they operate. is suggested. A sample of the boundary objects in B2B relationships is then described and the paper concludes with implications for theory and research.