How to claim what is mine: Negotiating professional roles in inter-organizational projects

Marina Bos-de Vos, Bente Lieftink, Kristina Lauche

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
57 Downloads (Pure)


Professional roles within inter-organizational projects have become increasingly diverse and contested, yet little is known about how professionals react to such threats of marginalization. Drawing on empirical data from interviews with architects, a profession in which historically established role boundaries have become particularly blurred, we analyse how professionals negotiate their roles in
inter-organizational projects. We identified three types of boundary work—reinstating, bending, and pioneering role boundaries—and illustrate their antecedents and effects for project collaboration. These categories exemplify different responses to the threat of marginalization depending upon professionals’ perceptions of what the specific project called for. Our study provides important insights into boundary work practices emerging in the context of inter-organizational projects and how professionals adjust their claims-making to perceived opportunities, thereby triggering incremental as well as more radical changes in the professional role structures.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)128-155
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Professions and Organization
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • professional roles
  • boundary work
  • role structures
  • inter-organizational projects
  • architects


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