Bureaucratic Cartographies of Expertise: The Organization of Specialist Domains in Complex Settings

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How and with what consequences is expertise organized? More specifically, how the multiple formal arrangements in complex settings configure specialist domains and its implications for management of knowledge. I examine this question through a case study of PlaneCo, a blue-chip aeronautical company where the organization of expertise was a core concern and many formal organization arrangements were in place to chart and manage it. Conceptualizing these arrangements as bureaucratic cartographies I draw on 15 months of ethnographic fieldwork in the company’s engineering unit and find that they crystalize conceptualizations of expertise, catalyze the formation of specialist domains, and compound distinct experts together. These processes in turn have a downstream effect in the management of knowledge to the extent that they influence the resources afforded to specialists and the flow of knowledge. Unveiling these processes bring contributions to our understanding of knowledge specialization and integration as well as the interplay of bureaucratic organization and expertise.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Eighty-First Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management
EditorsSonia Taneja
Number of pages6
Place of PublicationBriarcliff Manor, NY
PublisherAcademy of Management
Publication date2021
Article number214
Publication statusPublished - 2021
EventThe Academy of Management Annual Meeting 2021: Bringing the Manager Back in Management - Online, Virtual, Online
Duration: 29 Jul 20214 Aug 2021
Conference number: 81


ConferenceThe Academy of Management Annual Meeting 2021
CityVirtual, Online
Internet address
SeriesAcademy of Management Proceedings


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