Using Boundary games to analyse actor's interactions


  • Luz Maria Rivas EAFIT University


actor’s interactions, boundary games, interaction analysis, boundary critique, critical systems thinking


When standard codification methods are applied to the problem of analyzing actor interactions, both the sense and direction of the conversation are lost. As a way of dealing with this problem this paper proposes the use of the boundary games method (Velez-Castiblanco, 2011, 2012a) for the analysis of interactions. This method facilitates a description of actors’ actions in terms of the effects of their communicative expressions over the boundary, encompassing the assumptions considered relevant to the discussion. This method draws upon boundary critique theory and language pragmatics. Specifically, boundary games are underpinned in the Midgley and Ulrich boundary critique, Wittgenstein’s language games and the Sperber and Wilson relevance theory. It is argued that this method allows the identification of interaction patterns, actor intervention approaches, points of view that fuel the debate and the pivotal proposals that mediate these views. All of these factors allow us to represent sequences of events or trajectories for interactions. The data analyzed comes from observations of a top management team (Sura TMT) responsible for the corporate strategy of a Colombian multi-business firm, Suramericana S.A. The main purpose of this research is to understand the ways in which managerial knowledge is deployed in the management of a multi-business firm. The data were first analyzed through the grounded theory codification process in order to describe the parts of the system under study. The data then feeds the boundary games interactions analysis.

Author Biography

Luz Maria Rivas, EAFIT University

Assistant Professor 

Organization and Management Department

Business School

Eafit University 


PhD (C) student

Administration Doctorate

Eafit University with HEC of Montreal



How to Cite

Rivas, L. M. (2015). Using Boundary games to analyse actor’s interactions. Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the ISSS - 2014 United States, 1(1). Retrieved from



Critical Systems Theory and Practice