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Who talks to whom about what? How interdisciplinary communication and knowledge of expertise distribution improves in integrated R&D labs

Heinzen, M., Cacciatori, E., Zoller, Frank A and Boutellier, Roman (2018). Who talks to whom about what? How interdisciplinary communication and knowledge of expertise distribution improves in integrated R&D labs. Ergonomics, 61(8), pp. 1139-1153. doi: 10.1080/00140139.2018.1449254

Abstract

Although several studies have examined the impact of open workspaces, there is still an on-going debate about its advantages and disadvantages. Our paper contributes to this debate by shedding light on three issues: the effect of open workspaces on (1) the flow of communication along and across hierarchical lines; (2) the content of communication; and (3) the specificities of open integrated laboratories. Our findings derive from a longitudinal case in a large pharmaceutical company that has relocated some R&D teams from enclosed to multi-space offices and labs. The relocation has resulted in (a) increased interdisciplinary communication, particularly at lower hierarchical levels, (b) a shift of the location of discussions and the content of conversations and (c) an improved knowledge about expertise distribution. Practitioner Summary Communication is essential in knowledge-driven organisations. This article examines the impact of a relocation of R&D employees from enclosed to multi-space offices and labs on communication patterns. We explain how the new environment fosters interdisciplinary communication, shifts the location of discussions and increases the knowledge of expertise distribution.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Ergonomics on 06 March 2018, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/00140139.2018.1449254.
Publisher Keywords: Knowledge work, workspace, integrated laboratory, face-to-face communication, distribution of expertise
Departments: Cass Business School > Management
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/19383
[img] Text - Accepted Version
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