Horizontal and Vertical Distance and Knowledge Sharing

Agnieszka Nowinska, Torben Pedersen

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review


Extant literature has successfully demonstrated that horizontal and vertical distance among employees, respectively, location at a distance of the same horizontal space and location on different floors within the same building, negatively affect the sharing of knowledge. Although scholars dedicated some attention to the relation between vertical and horizontal distance and knowledge sharing, they have not yet investigated underlying psychological mechanisms. We aim at filling in this gap with a mixmethod approach. We first analyze micro-level data on 796 knowledge-sharing dyads of employees located in the same five floor building featuring multi-person offices. We then provide evidence of underlying mechanisms with the use of a randomized survey implemented in a lab. We theorize that, while, holding walking distance constant, being located on a different floor decreases the likelihood of knowledge sharing between two employees, this relation will be weaker for employees that walk down, as opposed to walking up the stairs. We expect that the negative effect of horizontal distance materializes substantially more outside of the boundaries of one’s own office. We find consistent evidence of our theorizing. We further that the effects of distance are driven by employees’ subjective perception of space and an in-group bias.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2019
Number of pages29
Publication statusPublished - 2019
EventDRUID19 Conference - Copenhagen Business School, Frederiksberg, Denmark
Duration: 19 Jun 201921 Jun 2019
Conference number: 41


ConferenceDRUID19 Conference
LocationCopenhagen Business School
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