Crowding at the frontier: boundary spanners, gatekeepers and knowledge brokers

Aurore Haas (PSL, Universite Paris-Dauphine, M&O, Paris, France)

Journal of Knowledge Management

ISSN: 1367-3270

Publication date: 14 September 2015



This paper aims to contribute to defining the concepts of boundary spanner, gatekeeper and knowledge broker.


A review of the literature covering more than 100 sources.


A review of past research leads to proposing a set of new definitions and also to the detection of six research avenues.


The ability of organizations to recognize, source and integrate key information or knowledge is important for their strategy, innovation and performance over time. Three types of individuals have information gathering and knowledge dissemination roles at the frontier of organizations and groups: boundary spanners, gatekeepers and knowledge brokers. Although research on these individuals is well-developed, we found that in practice, the definitions of the concepts overlap and still need a clarification. So far, no systematic comparison of these roles has been undertaken.



Haas, A. (2015), "Crowding at the frontier: boundary spanners, gatekeepers and knowledge brokers", Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 19 No. 5, pp. 1029-1047.

Download as .RIS



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Please note you might not have access to this content

You may be able to access this content by login via Shibboleth, Open Athens or with your Emerald account.
If you would like to contact us about accessing this content, click the button and fill out the form.
To rent this content from Deepdyve, please click the button.