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Sustainable cultures: Engaging employees in creating more sustainable workplaces and workstyles

Catherine Greene (Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design, Royal College of Art, London, UK)
Lottie Crumbleholme (Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design, Royal College of Art, London, UK)
Jeremy Myerson (Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design, Royal College of Art, London, UK)

Facilities

ISSN: 0263-2772

Article publication date: 28 April 2014

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Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to describe a design research project which looked at how to support facility managers engage employees in behaviour change to create more environmentally sustainable workplaces and work styles.

Design/methodology/approach

The multi-disciplinary research team used ethnographic and user-centred design methodologies to get employees’ perspectives on environmental sustainability in the workplace. This involved in-depth interviews and workplace observations to understand employees’ views on sustainability in their organisation; workshops to explore attitudes towards sustainability; and design provocations to explore how employees might be motivated to act more sustainably.

Findings

The research demonstrated the different understandings people have of what sustainability in the workplace should mean and whose responsibility they think it should be. The results were developed into a model of four different sustainability cultures, pragmatist, libertarian, housekeeper and campaigner, based upon people’s perception of the cost of sustainability to both company and employees. This model can be used to provide insight into the predominant sustainability culture of an organisation as well as the attitudes of individual employees.

Originality/value

The research has been compiled into a toolkit, “The Sustainable Cultures Engagement Toolkit”, aimed at FM and workplace managers, which uses this model as the basis to provide information about how best to communicate with employees about environmental sustainability in the workplace and how to motivate behavioral change. This research demonstrates a user-centred design approach to address these challenges.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank Johnson Controls Global Workplace Innovation for their support in this project.

Citation

Greene, C., Crumbleholme, L. and Myerson, J. (2014), "Sustainable cultures: Engaging employees in creating more sustainable workplaces and workstyles", Facilities, Vol. 32 No. 7/8, pp. 438-454. https://doi.org/10.1108/F-03-2013-0020

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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