Want to Be More Collaborative? Sit In a Circle.
July 16, 2013 by Bruce Jones, Senior Programming Director, Disney Institute
New research from the University of British Columbia suggests that more collaborative meetings happen outside of the boardroom.
The study, conducted by the Sauder School of Business, shows the impact of seating arrangements on the way people think. “The geometric shape of a seating arrangement can act as a subtle environmental cue for people, by priming their fundamental need for inclusiveness or individuality,” says Sauder Assistant Professor Juliet Zhu.
Volunteers were asked to sit in circular or angular (boardroom-style) seating arrangement to evaluate advertisements. The volunteers seated in a circular arrangement reacted more favorably to advertisements featuring groups of family members or friends — advertisements that conveyed a sense of belonging. In contrast, volunteers sitting in angular seating arrangements more closely identified with advertisements portraying “maverick” types — individuals.
The findings suggest that circular seating arrangements may make for more collaborate meetings because of the sense of belonging it creates. At Disney, we know that removing the fear of sharing ideas is critical to collaboration — each participant must recognize that his or her idea is separate from their personal identity.
Describe your most collaborative meeting, what sparked the conversation?
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Posted in Business Excellence
Tagged Collaborative Culture, Team Building, Communication Skills, Cross-Functional Collaboration, Bruce Jones