Creating collaboration opportunity: Designing the physical workplace to promote high-tech team communication

James B. Stryker, Michael D. Santoro, George F. Farris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Despite the increasing use of electronically mediated communication when team members are not collocated, research continues to underline the importance of face-to-face (F2F) communication for the successful accomplishment of complex team tasks. Although a crucial aspect of F2F communication is the physical proximity of participants, studies that have explored the relationship between the design of the physical workplace and F2F communication have produced conflicting findings. The results of this field study conducted at two R&D sites of a large Midwestern U.S. pharmaceutical company suggest that the typical space planning solution of simply moving people from closed offices to open cubicles does not, in and of itself, increase F2F communication. We found that the visibility of the work environment and the amount of collaboration opportunity, defined as formal and informal space available for meetings and collaboration, are related to F2F communication. The implications of our findings for theory, future research, and management practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6075245
Pages (from-to)609-620
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Transactions on Engineering Management
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Strategy and Management
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


  • Innovation management
  • R&D management
  • team collaboration
  • team communication
  • workplace design


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