A Method for Managing IT-Based Boundary Objects: Design and Application in the Public Sector

Folmer E, Heddier M, Matzner M, Räckers M, Becker J

To achieve high-quality services offerings, public administrations need to cooperate with other institutions across organizational boundaries. The required cooperation may lead to a complex network including several of the thousands public administrations, enterprises and citizens on the different federal layers of a single country. Key challenge for achieving smooth end-to-end processes in such setting is a proper management of information exchanges at the interfaces between networked actors, as it is the exchange of information that glues together separated chunks of a process. This article conceptualizes the digital information assets residing at the interfaces between the different actors as IT-based boundaries objects. It further reports on a design research process that was initiated by the German Federal Ministry of Interior, which felt the need for a nationwide management method for those IT-based boundary objects. The achieved method extends the BOMOS framework as developed by the Dutch government and adopted by the European Commission. Notably, the method assists in designing and maintaining IT-based boundary objects while it takes horizontal and vertical division of competences in fed-eral legislative and administrative structures into account. The main contributions of this article are the description of the method, the demonstration of its application, and an evaluation of its utility.

Public administration; IT-based boundary objects; Information exchange; Standardization

Publication type
Research article in proceedings (conference)

Peer reviewed

Publication status


European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS 2014)

Tel Aviv, Israel



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