Working together across professional boundaries

Section 1: Cross-boundary working

Cross-boundary working

There are two main areas for consideration relating to cross-boundary team working: different teams collaborating within an organisation (often working across geographical or functional boundaries), and teams collaborating between organisations (possibly working across geographical or functional boundaries, but almost certainly having to accommodate different organisational cultures). For teams, or team members, located at different sites around the world, there are also the considerations of having to operate across time zones and between different social cultures.

The reason why managers need to understand how to work across boundaries is that internal activities, such as group marketing, and external activities, such as joint ventures, require working between different environments. Also, many parts of the supply chain involve cross-boundary activity, ranging from liaison between the central head office and remote production sites to negotiations between the purchasing department and overseas suppliers.

Key Activity

Example: Working along the supply chain

A wholesale wine merchant will have working relationships with vineyards around the world, predicting availability, planning order levels, formulating shipping requirements, etc. Although initial relationships are likely to be established face to face, continued working will be performed remotely, with cross-boundary team working between the wineries, the shipping company and the wine merchant, for instance.

Key Activity

Activity: Working across boundaries

What cross-boundary activities can you identify in your own organisation, both internally and with external stakeholders?

Choose one example and share it with others on the course by contributing to My wiki where you will also see examples from other organisations.