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Rediscovering Handoffs

by Brian T. Pentland, Jan Recker, and George Wyner 

While handoffs are usually defined as a transfer of something between people or things, we define handoffs as a relationship of similarity and difference between activities or events. By using the narrative network to operationalize this relational perspective, we discover a wider and more meaningful spectrum of handoffs and make it available for analysis, interpretation, and theorizing. We illustrate this approach using data from a US banking call center, where we discover that the stereotypical handoff between people is much less common than other types of handoffs. While handoffs are usually thought of as indicators of change, our perspective allows us to see them as indicators of stability, as well. Paradoxically, handoffs provide a novel perspective on coherence in patterns of organized action.

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