Affiliated Organization

Case Western Reserve University, USA


This paper takes a dynamic approach to understanding the nature and role of boundary objects by examining them in relation to the social infrastructures within which they are embedded and to the social identities of the groups that share them. It explores the premise that boundary objects are used not only as a translation device, but also as a resource to form and express social identities. It further suggests the occurrence of a dynamic process whereby changes in boundary objects enable changes in social infrastructures and social identities in one group. These changes, in turn, create the conditions for change in bordering groups through shared boundary objects. Based on interviews which were conducted over three years, we illustrate these ideas by presenting three vignettes that describe the introduction of 3D modelling technologies into the AEC industry and the changes that consequently occurred.