System Understanding and Sub-System Utopia through Design Project Design Integration and Optimisation (SUSSUDIO)


Work is a social process, with collaboration and teamwork at the heart of most contemporary organizations. Sharing information and knowledge, and doing so at the right times, and with the right people, is essential to effective teamwork, innovation, performance, and morale.

The layout, organization and design of the workspace are factors that have been shown to influence informal communication channels in the workspace (Oldham & Brass, 1979). In this research, we sought to understand how employees interact with different workspace characteristics and configurations (such as pods, open plan working spaces, and collaboration zones), and how this can influence the ways that they seek and share advice with one another.

Research overview

The overall aim of this research was to understand the role that workspace characteristics affect informal advice behaviours, and the influence that this can have on the work of design engineering teams. We undertook network analyses, interviews, and surveys at multiple time-points to benchmark and track behaviours.

The research was undertaken within a larger multi-disciplinary project that examined the implementation of a new business process in one of the world’s leading aerospace engineering companies, and was funded by Innovate UK and Rolls-Royce within a much larger project (overall project value £19.5m).

Publications and outputs

Visit The Future Workplace and Adapting Offices for the Future of Work for related outputs.

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Further information

If you are interested in hearing more about SUSSUDIO or would like to discuss opportunities for developing the research please contact Dr Helen Hughes.