Some practical thoughts on working across boundaries

  • Authors: Janine O'Flynn
  • Format: Occasional Paper
  • Published Date: 02 September 2011


The notion of working across boundaries attracts both practical interest from people in government, and theoretical interest from scholars. Much emphasis has been placed on notions of inter-organisational, interjurisdictional and inter-sectoral working, and a range of terms have emerged to capture this phenomenon: horizontal coordination, joined-up government, collaboration, whole-of-government, holistic government, collaborative governance and so on. However, there is a core element to all these terms – the notion that we must traverse boundaries to achieve goals. Most of the new ideas about public management which have emerged over the last decade or so have put the notion of working across boundaries front-and-centre. This paper provides an overview of the literature on working across boundaries to help answer two key questions: First, why has this notion emerged? Second, what are the critical enablers and barriers which help us to understand how this works (or not)?

These Occasional Papers are jointly published by ANZSOG and the (former) Victorian State Services Authority.

Suggested citation

O'Flynn, J. (2011). Some practical thoughts on working across boundaries. SSA/ANZSOG Occasional Paper, 14. Melbourne: ANZSOG.