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Liminal Roles as a Source of Creative Agency in Management: An Article Summary

liminal-fieldI was attracted to this article because it links my work in liminality (that in-between period, as in a rite of passage) with organizational studies, specifically via creative knowledge-sharing. What could be better than that for #5Papers?

1/ Today I read Swan, Scarbrough, & Ziebro (2015) Liminal roles as a source of creative agency in management: The case of knowledge-sharing communities http://doi.org/10.1177/0018726715599585 #5Papers

2/ The purpose of the study was to apply the notion of liminality to the conduct of certain managerial roles in organizations

3/ They explored liminality’s creative potential when enacted by these individuals embedded in organizational (neo-) bureaucracy

4/ It focused on knowledge-sharing ‘communities’, something related to my own knowledge management work

5/Such community managers / coordinators in internal organizational knowledge communities do not clearly fit in any one space, thus they are liminal

6/ The empirical study included semi-structured interviews of 43 coordinators managing 57 communities within 11 organizations

7/ They did not have an explicit methodology, rather a “broadly inductive approach to our data analysis”

8/ Their table listing community coordinator role expectations and role practices were helpful lists, including numerous

9/ Community coordinators enacted liminal roles as knowledge broker, internal consultant, avant-garde, service provider, and orphaned child

10/ Divergent expectations + ambiguity in liminal organizational roles = intense sense-making among the community coordinators #5Papers