This paper examines co-location as an important solution to design workspaces in research and development (R & D). It argues that co-locating R & D units in multi-space environments serves knowledge creation by leveraging knowledge sharing across boundaries.
This study is based on a co-location project of the knowledge-intensive, multi-national company Novartis. To compare communication and collaboration patterns, we interviewed and observed employees before and after co-location into the “co-location pilot” and investigated a control group that was not co-located. The use of data and method triangulation as a research approach underlines the inherent dynamics of the co-location in this study.
The study suggests findings leveraging knowledge sharing in two different ways. Co-location of dispersed project team members increases unplanned face-to-face communication leading to faster and more precise flows of knowledge by transcending knowledge boundaries. Co-location to an open multi-space environment stimulates knowledge creation by enabling socialization, externalization and combination of knowledge.
This study provides managerial implications for implementing co-location to achieve greater knowledge sharing across functions. The design of the work environment provides the framework for successful co-location.
This paper reports the findings of an empirical case study conducted within the “co-location pilot” of the pharmaceutical company Novartis. This study contributes to an in-depth understanding of the phenomena on a qualitative and micro-level.
Coradi, A., Heinzen, M. and Boutellier, R. (2015), "Designing workspaces for cross-functional knowledge-sharing in R & D: the “co-location pilot” of Novartis", Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 19 No. 2, pp. 236-256. https://doi.org/10.1108/JKM-06-2014-0234Download as .RIS
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