Toward the construction of a profession's boundaries: Creating a networking agenda

Amalya L. Oliver*, Kathleen Montgomery

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Attention to the boundaries of an organization or profession is an essential precursor to facilitating boundary-spanning activities. We follow a four-stage process model of constructing boundaries to delimit a profession's membership and domain prior to its recognition as an institutionalized entity, A set of networking activities forms the basis of boundary construction, yet identifying and prioritizing which activities to pursue is a challenge that can jeopardize the success of an aspiring group. We use a case study of the emerging Jewish legal profession in pre-state Israel to analyze how an agenda for creating membership and domain boundaries implicitly surfaces through interactions among members of the new group. We employ content analysis of a key meeting transcript and network analytical methods to reveal a shared cognitive map of priorities. The study adds to the literature on professional boundaries and demonstrates the utility of an innovative qualitative-quantitative research approach.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1167-1184
Number of pages18
JournalHuman Relations
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2005


  • Agenda-setting
  • Boundaries
  • Centralises
  • Network analysis
  • Professions


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