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Abstract

The building of shared understanding between project stakeholders in the requirements elicitation phase is necessary for knowledge sharing and a key factor for successful information systems (IS) development. However, the processes that lead to shared understanding and successful knowledge sharing are still not well understood. We examine how stakeholders interact and use boundary objects during requirements elicitation in data warehouse development projects. We draw on Carlile’s (2004) framework for managing knowledge across boundaries and introduce the concept of brokering situations. Using the concept of brokering situations, we examine how shared understanding develops and knowledge is shared through the interplay of brokers, their individual knowledge, and boundary objects as well as through the alignment of project participants’ situation models. We contribute to the literature on knowledge sharing and requirements elicitation in three ways: by introducing the concept of brokering situations; by developing a theoretical framework – the boundary interaction framework – that provides an analytical perspective on the dynamics of knowledge sharing in requirements elicitation; and by applying the framework to show that both goal-driven (teleological) and conflict-driven (dialectical) motors of change explain process progress and the changes of brokers as well as boundary objects during the building of shared understanding.

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