EMPIRICAL RESEARCH ON CO-WORKING SPACES | CO-WORKING RESEARCH
Empirical Research on Coworking Spaces Contemporary coworking spaces originated in 2005 in San Francisco. These were places where the “third way” of working was found: a balance between the “standard” work life within a traditional, well-delimited workplace in a community-like environment, and an independent work life as a freelancer, characteristic of freedom and independence, where the worker is based at home in isolation.
Nevertheless, it should be mentioned that as the co-working space concept appeared only in 2005, it has developed really fast over the past 11 years and has become a management innovation . There is not a lot of research in the sphere of coworking spaces as it is a brand-new concept. In addition, most of the quality research was based on interviews, which cannot be the only way of exploring a phenomenon. There are two perspectives on coworking spaces: that of the users and the hosts. The needs of both these sides are completely varied, even though their goal—to be successful—is the same.
Different scholars have defined various elements of co-working spaces. Leforestier identified the following co-working space operating elements: community, advice, support, promotion, mentor, and coworker. In addition, Kojo et al. identified service factors for strategy operations through user experiences such as a “Sense of welcome”, “Possibilities for multi-use of the building and spaces”, “Informality and ease”, “Inspiration and facilitation”, and “Constant narrative of spaces”. Seo et al. found important elements of coworking spaces such as “Co-working management”, “Membership management” and “Supporting management” (the research was conducted with 60 hosts of co-working spaces by using the analytic hierarchy process.
For application in co-working space research, two levels of the AHP model have been designed. This model was suggested by Seo et al ; see Figure . The elements were collected from advanced papers.
The model uses both users and providers’ perspectives. The first level presents key management criteria that include coworking management, membership management, and supporting management. The second level captures sub-attributes of the first level’s criterion. Coworking management is related to relationship facilitation, networking event and party, and community and communication. Membership management is a key criterion of service diversity and price plan, promotion and public relations, and alliance and partnership. Space and interior, facility and device solution, and mentoring and education are sub-attributes of supporting management.
The AHP survey data were collected from users and hosts separately. The respondents of this research are 60 co-working space hosts in 23 cities of South Korea and 64 users of coworking spaces from main cities such as Seoul, Busan, Daejeon, and Daegu. The survey was conducted over five months; we obtained 49 responses from hosts and 56 from users after verification of the consistency ratio (CR) value (CR ≤ 0.1). CR ≤ 0.1 indicates that responses to the AHP questionnaire are satisfactory in terms of consistency.
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