A Third Context Framework

Research output: Contribution to conference without publisher/journalPaper without publisher/journalResearch


The purpose of this paper is to examine the explanatory power of The Third Context, and investigate the implications of perceiving University-Industry collaboration as learning processes, for optimizing the knowledge development processes between organizational contexts. The paper is based on a theoretical outline of The Third Context, and a qualitative study of a newly established long-term collaboration between Aalborg University, Denmark and Bang & Olufsen. The objective of the collaboration is to increase the number of research activities and furthermore support organizational capacity building. The findings show that the university and company researchers try to develop an understanding of the AAU-B&O collaboration that remove the feeling of perplexity, which is based on the common experience, organizational rationales, and objectives The research reveals that perplexity is removed by finding easy explanations instead of exploring the reason behind the perplexity through reflective thinking; hence, the collaboration continues to flow on the surface. The findings also show that adding a pragmatic Third Context framework to UI collaboration provides an ontological foundation useful in asking the question ’how can we transfer knowledge and enhance the output of research?’ The research indicates the importance of extending the focus on UI collaboration from mere results and final output to include organizational contexts and collaboration as learning processes. Further, the research reveals the need for an operationalization of The Third Context. Sparse research has addressed the explanatory power of The Third Context, and the implications of UI collaboration as learning processes.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date25 Apr 2019
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 25 Apr 2019
EventOrganizational Learning, Knowledge Capabilities - The University of Sussex, Brighton, United Kingdom
Duration: 25 Apr 201926 Apr 2019


ConferenceOrganizational Learning, Knowledge Capabilities
LocationThe University of Sussex
CountryUnited Kingdom


  • University-Industry collaboration
  • the Third Context
  • learning processes
  • pragmatism
  • knowledge development

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    Thomassen, A. O. (2019). A Third Context Framework. Paper presented at Organizational Learning, Knowledge Capabilities, Brighton, United Kingdom.