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Crossing power and knowledge boundaries in learning and knowledge sharing

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journal contribution
posted on 31.03.2017, 13:39 by C. Filstad, Boyka SimeonovaBoyka Simeonova, M. Visser
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to investigate the crossing of knowledge and power boundaries within a bureaucratic organization using Enterprise Social Media (ESM). Carlile’s (2004) boundary crossing framework is used to guide this research. Design/methodology/approach- This is a qualitative study based on semi-structured interviews and observations in a large Norwegian public sector organization. Findings- We find that crossing knowledge and power boundaries using ESM is problematic at both a syntactic, semantic and pragmatic level. ESM is used predominantly for sharing, storing and retrieving explicit knowledge, which is a display of crossing the information processing boundary. While the use of ESM allows for potential power shifts among different levels, shared meaning, taking the perspective of other and new knowledge-in-practices are not achieved. Therefore examples of crossing the semantic and pragmatic knowledge boundaries are rarely found. Research limitations/implications- The framework could be applied to a variety of contexts to further explore the role of ESM in learning and knowledge sharing and its ability to cross power and knowledge boundaries. Practical implications- Organizations will benefit from understanding issues related to the use of ESM to enhance knowledge sharing, learning and the development of new practices, as well as potential power, knowledge and trust issues that may arise in connection with the use of ESM. Originality/value – This paper addresses a gap in the literature around discussions of power, trust, boundary crossing and the use of enterprise social media for knowledge sharing and learning



  • Business and Economics


  • Business

Published in

The Learning Organization: the international journal of knowledge and organizational learning management


FILSTAD, C., SIMEONOVA, B. and VISSER, M., 2017. Crossing power and knowledge boundaries in learning and knowledge sharing. The Learning Organization, 25 (3), pp.159-168.


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This paper was accepted for publication in the journal The Learning Organization and the definitive published version is available at