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Boundary Spanners in Public Management and Governance

An Interdisciplinary Assessment

Ingmar van Meerkerk and Jurian Edelenbos

Boundary spanning behavior is important for both public, non-profit and private organizations to ‘survive’: to stay relevant in relation to the environment, to innovate, to improve performance and to collaborate in an effective manner, especially in multi-organizational settings. Providing an assessment of factors influencing the work and effectiveness of boundary spanners, and discussing the impact of boundary spanners on different types of outcomes (collaboration, trust, organizational innovation), this book offers a coherent overview of the evolution of boundary spanning in an interactive governance context.
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Chapter 7: Impact of boundary spanning

Ingmar van Meerkerk and Jurian Edelenbos


This chapter discusses the impact of boundary spanners. A key question is whether the work of boundary spanners matters at all. What impact do boundary spanners, for instance, have on organizational and inter-organizational outcomes? Based on our systematic literature review, different kinds of impact can be distinguished such as role stress and influence, organizational performance (for example innovation), relational quality (trust, collaboration), inter-organizational outcomes (network performance, synergy, and public value), and integration and alignment. These types of impacts will be extensively discussed. In the last section it presents and discusses a framework which goes deeper into the relationships between various types of impacts. Furthermore, it discusses several lacunas in the current research on boundary spanners’ performance and provides avenues for future research.

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