UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering


Spatial Configuration, Organisational Change and Academic Networks


7 September 2012

This paper analyses the relationship between spatial configuration, organisational change and collaboration networks of academics by investigating results from an empirical case study of a single academic department at three points in time. Previous research has often excluded academia as an organisational and spatial context or has not brought the study of networks to bear. The paper discusses in great depth and with use of simple as well as sophisticated analysis methods including Space Syntax how the organisation changed spatially and organisationally over the years, and how these changes can be reflected in structures of academic collaboration networks. This approach allows disentangling the influences of space and organisation to a higher degree than typically possible in single case studies and therefore provides interesting insights into the multiplex ways in which organisation and space condition each other. It is concluded that both spatial and organisational influences shape the structures and evolution of academic collaboration networks and that the strength of the impact of space varies for organisational, group-related and individual behaviours. Further methodological conclusions are drawn for the future of studying complex, shifting and changing organisations.

Spatial Configuration, Organisational Change and Academic Networks. Presented at: Applied Social Network Analysis Zurich, Switzerland.

Sailer, K., Penn, A., Marmot, A. (2012)