"Boundary Spanning" was probably popularized by Richard L. Daft in 1989, in his book "Organizational Theory and Design". In that book, it was an concept being applied to organizational development.
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“Both brokering and boundary-spanning roles greatly increase the likelihood of leadership points to the importance of social positions that can unite open innovation communities. We argued that trust does not come easily to community members who fear cooptation by commercial interests or forking over technical disagreements. Because brokers by definition contrive less cohesive and less trusting contexts, the probability that they will assume leadership roles remains highly contingent on building trust with community members. We argue that aspiring leaders can build trust through physical attendance and, consistent with this argument, find a positive interaction with physical attendance. Also consistent with our emphasis on trust in open innovation communities, brokerage and boundary spanning demonstrated a negative interaction, indicating that brokers who span boundaries remain at a disadvantage. While brokerage alone demonstrates positive influence on becoming a leader, boundary spanning demonstrates a much stronger effect. Finally, we did not observe a contingent relationship between boundary spanning and attendance. Our results emphasize the importance of intermediary and integrating roles—for brokers within technological boundaries, and for boundary spanners across cohesive technological boundaries."
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