This paper aims to examine short-distance firm relocations, the most frequent form of relocation, to better understand how employees as individuals experience those relocations.
This study was a multiple-case study with five organisations that had relocated within the same metropolitan area during the previous 18 months. To understand why and how the relocation was carried out, 15 semi-structured interviews were conducted with company representatives who were actively involved in making decisions and executing the relocation of their organisation. Subsequently, to study the employees’ experience and perception of the process, 17 employees who did not have an assigned role in the process were also interviewed.
The findings show that even within the same organization, people experience relocation differently; therefore, the employees should not be treated as one object of change but as several individuals who experience change. Further, it was identified that relocation included both location and workplace change aspects.
The study is of qualitative nature and, therefore, the findings should not be generalized to individuals outside of the context of study. Instead, the value lies in the description and the themes developed in the specific context. The findings show that emphasis needs to be put on how the relocation process is managed, and that relocation change management efforts should include both location and workplace changes.
This study provides new insight on how individual employees experience the relocation process and augments the previous body of knowledge on employee experiences and satisfaction with various elements in the work environment and/or with new ways of working, and the previous studies on relocation that focus on comparing employees’ experiences of the old office with the new one.
The authors wish to acknowledge Tekes – The Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation and the other sponsors of the Repbu-project for their support.
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