Coworking: assessing the role of proximity in knowledge exchange

Abstract

This article contextualises the rising phenomenon of coworking in the theoretical framework of proximity and knowledge exchange. We present an empirical study through which we were able to assess if the physical co-presence of coworkers in these shared environments stimulates knowledge exchange among them. After identifying two different configurations of coworking spaces from the perspective of the forms of proximity that they involve, we designed a research project aimed at isolating geographical proximity and studying its role in facilitating the transmission of knowledge. The qualitative study of these two configurations of spaces underlined the importance of elements of organisational and social proximity in stimulating collaboration among coworkers and in promoting exchange of other forms of knowledge.

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Acknowledgements

The author is grateful to Serena Vicari Haddock, Marianna d’Ovidio, Marisol García Cabeza and Marc Pradel Miquel for their support and advice during the research process. Thanks also to the reviewers and the Editor for their constructive comments and to James Brady for the precious help in the language review of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Lucia Parrino.

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Parrino, L. Coworking: assessing the role of proximity in knowledge exchange. Knowl Manage Res Pract 13, 261–271 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1057/kmrp.2013.47

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Keywords

  • coworking
  • proximity
  • organisational platform
  • knowledge exchange
  • knowledge flows