Standing up gets groups more fired up for team work
Standing during meetings boosts the excitement around creative group processes and reduces people’s tendency to defend their turf, according to a new study
The study asked participants to work together in teams for 30 minutes to develop and record a university recruitment video.
The teams worked in rooms that either had chairs arranged around a table or with no chairs at all.
After making the videos, research assistants rated how the team worked together and the quality of the videos, while the participants rated how territorial their team members were in the group process.
The participants wore small sensors around their wrists to measure “physiological arousal” – the way people’s bodies react when they get excited.
When a person’s arousal system becomes activated, sweat glands around the feet and hands release bursts of moisture.
The sensors pass a small current of electricity through the skin to measure these moisture bursts.
Researchers found that the teams who stood had greater physiological arousal and less idea territoriality than those in the seated arrangement.
Members of the standing groups reported that their team members were less protective of their ideas; this reduced territoriality led to more information sharing and higher quality videos.
“Seeing that the physical space in which a group works can alter how people think about their work and how they relate with one another was very exciting,” said Andrew Knight of the Olin Business School at Washington University.
Knight encourages organisations to experiment with their office spaces. Removing chairs and adding whiteboards are low-cost options that encourage brainstorming and collaboration, he suggests.
The study was published in the journal Social Psychological and Personalty Science.