Facilitating Face-to-Face Communication in High-Tech Teams

  • Stryker J
  • Santoro M
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Despite the increasing use of electronically mediated methods for team communications, research continues to underline the importance of face-to-face (F2F) communication for the successful accomplishment of complex, high-tech team tasks. Although a crucial aspect of F2F communication is the physical proximity of team members, studies that have explored the relationship between the design of the physical workplace and F2F communication have produced conflicting findings. This paper reports the results of a field study conducted at two R&D sites of a large U.S. high technology and life sciences company; the results 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. Rather, the level of F2F communication depends on the location of team members' workstations within the overall configuration of the space and the amount of space provided to support collaboration opportunities, including both formal and informal spaces. Based on the results of the study, we offer suggestions for the layout and design of R&D workstations to foster productive F2F encounters. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]

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  • James B. Stryker

  • Michael D. Santoro

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