Largely missing in the study of knowledge management has been examination of the role the physical environment of the workplace plays in creating opportunities and barriers that influence the development and flow of a variety of types of information and knowledge. This article introduces the concept of organizational ecology as a frame of reference for thinking about the workplace as a complex web of interdependent social and organizational factors that, in combination, influence informal communication, interaction, and learning patterns. Specifically, it proposes the concepts of "dynamic constraint" and "dynamic harmony" to explain why organizational interventions involving manipulation of only social or physical factors often fail to achieve their desired objectives. It also examines how the spatial aspects of an organization's ecology can contribute to more effective communication and interaction patterns that support informal learning.
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