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Title: Balancing at the boundaries of organisations : knowledge co-configuration between experts in an e-science project
Author: Kinti, Ioanna
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2007
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The central question of this research is how to conceptualise more rigorously the processes of 'networked expertise' whereby scientists from different backgrounds are brought together to share their knowledge, in order to design innovative products and services. The study focuses on the coordination of collaborative expert teams, a growing issue in both the ongoing debate about the nature ofprofessionalism and the literature on innovation and economic development. The research was based on a longitudinal case study where ethnographic methods were used to document at a micro-genetic level the development of the practices of a multi- . professional research collaboration in the conte'St of the e-Science Programme in the UK. The scientific importance of the study lies in the choice of topic, the methodology @ employed, the context studied, and a synthesis of the literature on expertise from psychology and educational studies to organisational theory and innovation research. Critically engaging with Sociocultural Activity Theory, the main contribution of this research lies in characterising this form of collaborative working as a process of knowledge co-configuration between experts. The term is coined to capture the struggle and identity negotiations involved in knowledge sharing interactions between experts from different institutional backgrounds. This involved a process ofpractice development that enabled the collaborative team of experts to make the transition from uncreative to creative interaction. Engaging with three types of negotiation practices - articulation work, collaborative strategising and practice alignment - fostered the development of a practice platform necessary for knowledge co-configuration to occur. Identifying these three practices led to the theorisation of an emergent concept captured as 'balancing at the boundaries' between one's organisation and the new collaborative team, as an essential capacity that needs to be learned by actors to foster expert performance in this setting. Ultimately this thesis has been concerned with unravelling a paradox: the different experts are brought together to share their domain knowledge filtered through their experiences of work tasks; yet it is their situated understandings of work practices that become a major obstacle to moving the work forward in the collaborative team. The message, therefore, is that we need to move on from a conception of expertise as 'deliberative rationality' to a conception of expertise as purposeful relationality. Knowing when to act relationally, and when not, to foster productive work, is crucial, a further indication that this form of knowledge work is about engaging in a balancing act at organisational boundaries. Diplomatic Dispute Settlement - The Use of Conciliation and Analogous Methods Sven M.G. Koopmans, M.Jur. Magdalen College Oxford D.Phil. Trinity Term 2007 The diplomatic dispute settlement method of conciliation developed in the early 20th century with the purpose of preventing wars, especially through settlement of 'political' or 'non-justiciable' disputes. Another rationale for conciliation was the avoidance of adjudication, by a method of assisted compromise. Nowadays it is thought that disputes are not incapable of judicial settlement because of a suppose~ inherent political or non-justiciable character. Further, a hundred years of conciliation has demonstrated that the method rarely prevents wars. Nevertheless, conciliation continues to be included in bilateral and multilateral agreements. It is occasionally used, often as a means to avoid adjudication. Types of conciliation must be distinguished. In the political type, conciliators recommend a settlement on political grounds. In law-based conciliation the commission provides a non-binding legal opinion. In mixed conciliation the conciliators make proposals based on a combination of legal and stipulated other grounds. Whereas conciliation originally was essentially political, in practice it was often law-based or mixed. This has had an effect on its use, and on the legal consequences of its application. ® The suitability of types of conciliation depends on the kind of dispute. In multilateral agreements, conciliation is frequently provided for as an alternative to compulsory adjudication. Aspects of law-based conciliation can then be introduced to promote that the norms of the regime are taken into account in finding a settlement. However, the alternative to conciliation, in the form of a non-compliance procedure, may in certain cases replace the use of conciliation. Inspiration for variations on conciliation can be found in commercial dispute settlement. However, the lack of practice of conciliation, combined with the many variations of existing conciliation mechanisms, indicates that the limited use made of conciliation is not a matter of available procedures, but of demand.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available