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Is distance dead? Face-to-face communication and productivity in teams

Battiston, Diego and Blanes i Vidal, Jordi and Kirchmaier, Thomas (2017) Is distance dead? Face-to-face communication and productivity in teams. CEP Discussion Papers, CEPDP1473. Centre for Economic Performance, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.

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Identification Number: CEPDP1473

Abstract

Has technology made face-to-face communication redundant? We investigate using a natural experiment in an organisation where a worker must communicate complex electronic information to a colleague. Productivity is higher when the teammates are (exogenously) in the same room and, inside the room, when their desks are closer together. We establish face-to-face communication as the main mechanism, and rule out alternative channels such as higher effort by co-located workers. The effect is stronger for urgent and complex tasks, for homogeneous workers, and for high pressure conditions.We highlight the opportunity costs of face-to-face communication and their dependence on organisational slack.

Item Type: Monograph (Discussion Paper)
Official URL: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/
Additional Information: © 2017 The Authors
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Sets: Departments > Management
Research centres and groups > Centre for Economic Performance (CEP)
Series: Working Papers > CEP Discussion Papers
Date Deposited: 21 Jul 2017 09:50
Last Modified: 21 Jul 2017 09:50
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/83603

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