Pre-school teachers have been right all along: sitting in a circle is the best way to encourage sharing, even among 30- or 50-year old professionals.
The round table approach may work to foster collaboration for corporate boards, at workplace meetings or at restaurants, new research from two Canadian business school professors shows. By contrast, those who sit in an angular arrangement—think Donald Trump’s The Apprentice—display more maverick, self-centered attitudes.
The research is applicable to situations where communication matters, from family gatherings to restaurants and airports, according to Juliet Zhu, an assistant professor at the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business.
In the study, about 350 undergraduates were asked to sit down in one of seven chairs and evaluate advertisements and other things. Those who sat in a circle reacted favorably to ads that showed groups of friends or family members, and conveyed a sense of belonging. Those sitting in rectangular formations favored ads portraying go-getters and cutthroats.
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