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Seminar : Boundary Organizations

[17] [Feb 2017] [ 1:30 pm] [ ]


  • Seminar : "In Whose Interest? An Organizational Perspective on Boundary Organizations"

This Friday we are pleased to have our 19th research seminar. Lea Stadtler will present an ongoing paper (co-authored with Ozgu Karakulak).


Boundary organizations can play a critical role in catalyzing solutions to complex societal challenges. While extant studies highlight how these organizations facilitate collaboration among diverse and distant actors, less is known about the tensions emerging from their dual nature as both inter-organizational linkage and independent organization. Related insights seem critical for understanding how boundary organizations may operate effectively and sustainably at the intersection of various, often conflicting demands. Analyzing four boundary organizations in global health, we depict the persisting tensions they face in their organizational development, their partner interactions, and the combined effects. Careful anticipation and model-based buffers helped mitigate these tensions – yet, only to a certain extent. On this basis, our analysis sketches and helps untangle a web of multiple principal-agent constellations that lie at the tensions’ root and that boundary organizations have to balance if they want to sustain their organizational vitality. These insights complement extant literature by highlighting boundary organizations’ organizational complexities and the implications for their partnership models. By outlining the specificities in cross-sector settings, our study further speaks to the discourse on tackling grand challenges.