Despite its prevalence, there is a lack of understanding regarding the effect of telework on an organization’s knowledge base. Recognizing the enabling role of electronic communication media, this article therefore addresses the interaction effects of media synchronicity and temporal as well as spatial separation among colleagues on sharing in knowledge networks. Special attention is paid to knowledge awareness (a form of metaknowledge representing “who knows what”) as well as homogeneous and heterogeneous knowledge sources to further explicate the relationship between coworker separation and knowledge sharing. Multiple surveys were placed between two smaller ethnographic investigations and combined with whole network data to form an in-depth study of 64 knowledge workers at a medium-sized European research and advisory organization. The results reveal that spatial separation directly reduces the frequency of knowledge sharing between colleagues, whereas temporal separation affects knowledge sharing through reduced knowledge awareness, resulting in lower job and proactive performance. The use of asynchronous media can serve to mitigate most of the negative effects of spatial separation on knowledge sharing but may also exacerbate the negative effect of temporal separation on teleworkers’ knowledge awareness of colleagues with identical expertise.

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Keywords innovation, media synchronicity theory, performance, structural social capital, telework
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Journal Journal of Information Technology
van der Meulen, D, van Baalen, P.J, van Heck, H.W.G.M, & Mülder, S. (Sipko). (2019). No teleworker is an island: The impact of temporal and spatial separation along with media use on knowledge sharing networks. Journal of Information Technology. doi:10.1177/0268396218816531