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Geographical dispersion and spontaneous interaction in an R&D environment

Listed author(s):
  • Rognes, Jon


    (Dept. of Business Administration, Stockholm School of Economics)

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    This study investigates how spontaneous interaction in an R&D environment is affected by temporary absence form the work site. Previous studies has shown the central importance of spontaneous interaction in R&D activities, but not how this is linked to the amount of co-presence. By using work diaries to collect data on time spent on spontaneous interaction, two groups are studied, one working form a remote location for part of the time, and one working at the central location all the time. The assumption is that spontaneous interaction is either constant during time of co-presence, or it is saved until time of presence. In the later case this would result in more spontaneous interaction when present. The results from the study show that the spontaneous interaction is directly linked to the amount of time the person is present, and that no compensation is made for the time of absence. Spontaneous interaction takes place when opportunities occur, and lost opportunities are not compensated for by more spontaneous interaction when opportunity is given later. This has implications for geographical dispersion in environments where spontaneous interaction is vital such as in R&D settings and in managerial roles. Part-time geographical separation will decrease the amount of spontaneous interaction in the group, which is likely to influence the outcome.

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    Paper provided by Stockholm School of Economics in its series SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Business Administration with number 2002:2.

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    Length: 16 pages
    Date of creation: 03 Apr 2002
    Handle: RePEc:hhb:hastba:2002_002
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    1. Mokhtarian, Patricia L. & Salomon, Ilan, 1997. "Modeling the desire to telecommute: The importance of attitudinal factors in behavioral models," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 35-50, January.
    2. Elwood S. Buffa & Michael Scriabin & Roger C. Vergin, 1976. "Communication," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 23(1), pages 104-105, September.
    3. Richard L. Daft & Robert H. Lengel, 1986. "Organizational Information Requirements, Media Richness and Structural Design," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 32(5), pages 554-571, May.
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