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Measuring spatial and temporal features of physical interaction dynamics in the workplace

Lopez De Vallejo, I.; (2010) Measuring spatial and temporal features of physical interaction dynamics in the workplace. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Human behavior unfolding through organisational life is a topic tackled from different disciplines, with emphasis on different aspects and with an overwhelming reliance on humans as observation instruments. Advances in pervasive technologies allow for the first time to capture and record location and time information behavior in real time, accurately, continuously and for multiparty events. This thesis concerns itself with the examination of the question: can these technologies provide insights into human behavior that current methods cannot? The way people use the buildings they work in, relate and physically interact with others, through time, is information that designers and managers make use of to create better buildings and better organisations. Current methods’ depiction of these issues - fairly static, discrete and short term, mostly dyadic - pales in comparison with the potential offered by location and time technologies. Or does it? Having found an organisation, where fifty-one workers each carried a tag sending out location and time information to one such system for six weeks, two parallel studies were conducted. One using current manual and other methods and the other the automated method developed in this thesis, both aiming to understand spatial and temporal characteristics of interpersonal behavior in the workplace. This new method is based on the concepts and measures of personal space and interaction distance that are used to define the mathematical boundaries of the behaviors subject of study, interaction and solo events. Outcome information from both methods is used to test hypotheses on some aspects of the spatial and temporal nature of knowledge work affected by interpersonal dynamics. This thesis proves that the data obtained through the technology can be converted in rich information on some aspects of workplace interaction dynamics offering unprecedented insights for designers and managers to produce better buildings and better organisations.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Measuring spatial and temporal features of physical interaction dynamics in the workplace
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification:
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/20233
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