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Doors and walls: physical barriers and knowledge sharing

Nowinska, A. ORCID: 0000-0003-1914-5544 & Pedersen, T. ORCID: 0000-0001-7541-9365 (2023). Doors and walls: physical barriers and knowledge sharing. Industry and Innovation, 30(5), pp. 585-606. doi: 10.1080/13662716.2022.2141611


The extant literature has demonstrated that physical distance negatively affects knowledge sharing, even within the same building. Moreover, the impact of physical barriers, such as doors and walls, has been flagged as an important avenue for research. We contribute to the micro-geography literature by unpacking the effects of physical barriers on knowledge sharing and moderators of that relationship. Based on micro-level, single-firm observational data on employees’ knowledge-sharing dyads, we find that physical barriers impede knowledge sharing after accounting for distance. Simultaneously, we theorise on and find evidence of several moderators of the negative relationship between physical barriers and knowledge sharing at the dyadic and individual levels: strong ties, participation in coordination mechanisms across departments, job autonomy, and location in an office near a printer room. The study has implications for managers in charge of office allocation and the physical layout of offices.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Industry and Innovation on 11 Nov 2022, available at:
Publisher Keywords: Knowledge sharing, physical barrier, distance, ties, coordination, autonomy
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Departments: Bayes Business School
Bayes Business School > Management
SWORD Depositor:
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