Sticky Boundary Objects: Philanthropic Gift-giving Practices

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review


Within organisational studies, the translation of boundary objects has provided new ways of understanding success of cooperation across different societal entities without consensus or shared value, mainly stressing the boundary objects` interpretative flexibility. Lately, this one-sided focus of the boundary objects’ inherent quality has been questioned, stressing the importance of the contextual frames instead. Through a comparative historical study of the boundary objects of Danish philanthropic gift-giving practice 1920-1979 & 1979-2016, the article contributes to organizational studies by returning to the roots of Michael Serres´ quasi-objects showing that; 1. The quasi-objects are moving agents, bending relationships through temporal and spatial stickiness, neglected in most research. 2. The explanatory strength of boundary objects derives from the intertwined relation of both the quasi-object quality and contextual networks. 3. The translation of boundary objects is a performative act, creating the entities of boundaries. The historical analysis of a foundation owned business will re-consoling boundary objects as a useful analytical category, emphasizing the need of a historical analysis within organisational studies, that do not use history as explanation but instead trace how history is evoked through the boundary objects entanglement of contextual heterogeneities in this process.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2019
Number of pages41
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Event35th EGOS Colloquium 2019: Enlightening the Future: The Challenge for Organizations - University of Edinburgh Business School, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Duration: 4 Jul 20196 Jul 2019
Conference number: 35


Conference35th EGOS Colloquium 2019
LocationUniversity of Edinburgh Business School
CountryUnited Kingdom
Internet address

Bibliographical note

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  • Boundary objects
  • Translations
  • Quasi-objects
  • Historical analysis
  • Stickiness
  • Philanthropy

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