Title: Managing across boundaries: identity, differentiation and interaction

Authors: Paula Hyde

Addresses: Manchester Business School, University of Manchester, Booth Street West, Manchester, M15 6PB, UK

Abstract: The impact of organisational restructuring on organisational boundaries has become increasingly important, especially because modernisation of work practices within large organisations generates increasing boundary complexity. Psychoanalytic theory offers a means of exploring boundaries and emphasises the importance of boundary in the emergence of an integrated sense of identity. In the UK, restructuring of health services has resulted in changes to organisational, professional and work group boundaries, seemingly, without attention being given to what may constitute a healthy set of boundary relationships. Four interrelated case studies illustrate a variety of organisational relationships and cross-boundary processes in mental health services, and how threats to particular boundaries can lead organisational members to engage in defensive activity. Whilst defences may be healthy for the individual or the organisation, they may generate more problems than they solve. Although the examples given here are highly specific, they may illuminate boundary systems more generally within organisations.

Keywords: organisational boundaries; differentiation; healthcare policy; identity; interaction; organisational defences; mental health services; organisational restructuring; psychodynamic approaches; boundary relationships; cross-boundary processes; defensive activity; organisational redesign; UK; United Kingdom.

DOI: 10.1504/IJIL.2006.009560

International Journal of Innovation and Learning, 2006 Vol.3 No.4, pp.349 - 362

Published online: 23 Apr 2006 *

Full-text access for editors Access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article