Who sits beside you speaks for you
Be it a high-powered dinner or a seminar, make sure you take your seat beside the person that matters as a study has confirmed that people who sit near you are more likely to support your agenda.
Toronto: Be it a high-powered dinner or a seminar, make sure you take your seat beside the person that matters as a study has confirmed that people who sit near you are more likely to support your agenda.
Where a person is located influences who they interact with and who they would turn to in order to build support for their own agenda.
For the powerful, however, seating arrangements do not make much of a difference. “That is because the people they need support from usually come to them,” said Christopher Liu, an assistant professor of strategic management at the University of Toronto.
The researchers took the Canada Senate as "a window into how people rally support for their initiatives”. The researchers analysed co-sponsorship patterns for bills proposed between 1979 and 2001 and compared them with seating charts kept for the same period.
The study found that co-sponsorship of a senator’s bill was more likely to come from those sitting near them. Senators sitting close together were also more likely to co-sponsor the same bills.
The findings have implications for organisations that are trying to better understand the importance of where their employees are located and how to foster interactions between them. "Geographic location is a managerial lever," said Liu. "You cannot force people to work with one another. But you can make them share a bathroom, or pass one another in the hall,” he noted.
The study is to appear in the Strategic Management Journal.