Coworking: A Transdisciplinary Overview

Waters-Lynch, Julian; Potts, Jason; Butcher, Timothy; Dodson, Jago and Hurley, Joe (2016). Coworking: A Transdisciplinary Overview. SSRN.



The purpose of this working paper is to introduce the concept of ‘coworking’ to an academic audience. It argues that coworking is a complex social phenomenon that can be differentiated from other spatial concepts that relate to work, learning and social interactions. The paper provides an historical account of the origins of coworking and reviews the existing scholarly and popular literature, offering a theoretical distinction between coworking spaces and serviced offices that hinges upon the degree of social collaboration versus the importance of location and facilities of the office environment. An overview of recent data on the number and location of coworking spaces across the world is provided, including a few examples that demonstrate the spatial distribution of coworking spaces within cities. It also provides some data on typical coworking profiles, and links coworking to the broader contextual debates on non-standard and creative work. Finally the paper suggests some future research directions by linking relevant extant theory with key questions across the fields of economic geography, urban planning economics and organisational studies.

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