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Buhl, H, Andersen, M and Klitgaard, A (2019) Boundary Objects: Supporting Better Collaborative Practice and Research. In: Gorse, C and Neilson, C J (Eds.), Proceedings 35th Annual ARCOM Conference, 2-4 September 2019, Leeds Beckett University, Leeds, UK Association of Researchers in Construction Management, 174-182.

  • Type: Conference Proceedings
  • Keywords: applied research; automation; boundary objects; collaboration; knowledge
  • URL: http://www.arcom.ac.uk/-docs/proceedings/3f55a470e495b589c2ee0f1db6e63436.pdf
  • Abstract:

    The purpose of this paper is to look for boundary objects that can develop and facilitate a contiguous “knowledge base”, that shall be created and established in collaboration between faculty and industry; bringing the students into play in a reflective learning practice. The knowledge base is the fulcrum from where universities of applied science are expected to define curricula and initiate R&D projects. Development of new technologies and processes in the construction industry appeals to closer cross-sectoral collaboration. These collaborations bring practitioners from different field of expertise together in new practices. Using the concept of boundary objects (Star & James 1989) we look into the epistemological difference inherent in the process of knowledge creation and collaboration between the university and the wider construction industry.  Theory of boundary objects is attractive because it suggests a way to improve technology understanding and implementation; which is a valuable contribution to applied research depending on collaboration from a broad range of stakeholder groups (Fox, 2011). This is a conceptual paper with an empirical example. Practice theories are applied to understand boundary objects, transformative agency and double stimulation (Haapasaari & Kerosuo, 2014). The paper reflects how to design experiments and run change laboratories. A Change Laboratory is an intervention method that supports the formation of the transformative agency of participants across institutional boundaries (Engeström, 2007; Virkkunen & Newnham, 2013). The empirical example is from a Danish (global) supplier engaged in a development project about technical aid (tools) in mounting and assembling gypsum walls, e.g. the supplier gains an understanding of different professional practices and the transformation to utilise smarter tools. Working with boundary objects our paper explain the epistemological differences when developing a contiguous knowledge base for collaboration with practice, establishing an understanding of automation in construction within a concrete case.