Zone Overlap and Collaboration in Academic Biomedicine: A Functional Proximity Approach to Socio-Spatial Network Analysis

37 Pages Posted: 12 Jan 2013

See all articles by Felichism Kabo

Felichism Kabo

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Institute for Social Research (ISR)

Yongha Hwang

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - A. Alfred Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning

Margaret C. Levenstein

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Survey Research Center; The Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, Business Economics and Public Policy

Jason Owen-Smith

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor

Date Written: January 1, 2013

Abstract

Spatial layouts can have significant influences on the formation and outcomes of social relationships. Physical proximity is thus essential to understanding the elemental building blocks of social networks, dyads. Situating relationships in space is instrumental to formulating better models of collaboration and information-sharing in organizations and more robust theories of networks and their effects. We propose, develop, and test a concept, the functional zone, which effectively captures Festinger et al’s (1950) classic description of ‘functional distance’ as pertains to social interactions. We operationalize our functional zone concept with measures of path and areal zone overlap. At two biomedical research buildings with different layouts (compact versus linear), regression analyses of collaboration rates show that increasing path overlap increases collaboration in both buildings. In contrast more traditional distance measures only influence collaboration in the more linear building. The functional zone concept improves our ability to understand relationships and their attendant organizational outcomes.

Keywords: physical proximity, social networks, scientific collaboration, functional distance, relationship formation

JEL Classification: O32, I23, C81

Suggested Citation

Kabo, Felichism and Hwang, Yongha and Levenstein, Margaret C. and Owen-Smith, Jason, Zone Overlap and Collaboration in Academic Biomedicine: A Functional Proximity Approach to Socio-Spatial Network Analysis (January 1, 2013). Ross School of Business Paper No. 1184, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2199570 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2199570

Felichism Kabo (Contact Author)

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Institute for Social Research (ISR) ( email )

Ann Arbor, MI 48106-1248
United States

Yongha Hwang

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - A. Alfred Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning ( email )

2000 Bonisteel Boulevard
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
United States

Margaret C. Levenstein

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Survey Research Center ( email )

500 S. State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
United States
734-615-9088 (Phone)
734-647-1186 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www-personal.umich.edu/~maggiel

The Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, Business Economics and Public Policy

Ann Arbor, MI 48109
United States
734-764-8336 (Phone)

Jason Owen-Smith

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor ( email )

Ann Arbor, MI
United States

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