Collaboration in Coworking Spaces: How to Navigate the New Office Landscape

Manuel Thomsen

Student thesis: Master thesis


This paper explores the collaborative and co-creational processes taking place in coworking spaces. A case study of four coworking spaces across three countries is undertaken in order to understand the environments that coworking spaces provide, the networks that are formed in them, and how these factors influence the collaborative practices among the coworkers. The paper combines existing innovation and network theory with the emerging academic literature on coworking spaces. As a result of the analysis, five key dimensions differentiating coworking spaces are suggested: (1) Access requirements, (2) physical separation of sub-groups, (3) average length of membership, (4) size, and (5) degree of systematisation. All five dimensions have major implications for the ways in which the coworkers network and collaborate. The case study shows that temporary and transactional collaboration is very common in coworking spaces. Widespread co-creation, however, could only be observed in one of the four coworking spaces. In order for cocreation to truly thrive, a coworking space should (1) put in place access requirements that target entrepreneurs and ensure professional homogeneity, (2) provide physically separated areas for companies in different life cycle stages, (3) limit the length of a membership in order to ensure a constant flow of new expertise and ideas, (4) be large enough to let its members be truly explorative, and (5) have a high degree of systematisation. Keywords: Coworking Spaces, Co-Creation, Network Theory, Innovative Environments, Office Design.

EducationsMSc in Management of Innovation and Business Development, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2016
Number of pages87