To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below:

A model of environmental control and effective work

Michael J. O'Neill (Knoll, Inc., Delafield, Wisconsin, USA)


ISSN: 0263-2772

Article publication date: 2 March 2010




The purpose of this paper is to present a model of “environmental control”. Environmental control can be provided through: furnishings and work tools that can be modified or manipulated, choice of time and location of work, organizational policies for flexible work programs, training, and computing and communications technologies that extend control. This paper seeks to propose that enhanced environmental control is related to improved individual, group and organizational performance.


A conceptual model is presented of environmental control coupled with a review and analysis of relevant literature that support the model and identify areas that require further development and research.


The literature review and analysis show support for the model of environmental control. The research reviewed reveals a consistent relationship between workplace capabilities that provide control, and positive behavioral and business performance outcomes for individuals, teams and business units. The review identifies gaps in the empirical support for the model and provides directions for future research.

Practical implications

Ultimately, environmental control is proposed as a means for providing choice about where, when and how to work, which can be used to improve the performance of people and organizations. Thus, environmental control is a crucial capability in which organizations should invest, by optimizing choice through workspace, policies, and technology. By leveraging control as a central component of workplace strategy, organizations may enhance their competitive advantage.


Much of the research described in the paper, and methods employed, are appropriate for exploratory research and theory‐building.



O'Neill, M.J. (2010), "A model of environmental control and effective work", Facilities, Vol. 28 No. 3/4, pp. 118-136.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Related articles