Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Open plan, open sharing

Passing my OUBS student colleague he stopped me to ask about the QAA meeting today. One of the other students at that meeting doesn't come in too much but works at home on his laptop. He doesn't like it that he has to work in an open plan office in the new Jenny Lee building. But someone else says that now they know who is in, they don't mind saying hello in passing, whereas before, to knock on a closed door had to be done deliberately.

My OUBS colleague wouldn't have known about the QAA meeting if we hadn't been in an open plan office and regularly share bits of information in an unplanned and informal fashion. This sharing has built up the OUBS student community. At the QAA meeting three out of the ten students there came from the full time OUBS community.

I read of research that showed that if strangers were put together knowing that they would have to work together in the future, then they were likely to exchange personal information, whereas if they didn't think they would ever meet again, they shared less. Sharing personal information helped reduce uncertainty. So the OUBS students share information on an informal and unplanned basis and then when we have a need, we have each other to ask.

Berger & Bradac, 1982, Language and social knowledge, page 16

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