Nexus Work: Managing Ambiguity in Network Based Projects
65 Pages Posted: 4 Sep 2008 Last revised: 7 Sep 2008
Date Written: April 8, 2008
Theorists have argued that network based projects rely upon lateral modes of coordination, but little research examines how the ambiguity that ensues is managed. With an ethnographic study of music producers, we studied how those in the structurally central 'nexus' role integrated contributions from experts without direct authority over them. We found that nexus actors differentiated their responses to three types of ambiguity: an ambiguous quality metric; ambiguous occupational jurisdictions; and an ambiguous transformation process. Our grounded theoretical explanation of the nexus role specifies an underappreciated relational form of brokerage that contrasts with structural conceptions of brokerage and delineates the types of ambiguity that can be resolved through relational work.
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