The purpose of this paper is to re-examine the role of fit in the relationship between the design of working spaces and organizational culture.
The research is based on a set of two case studies compared on two levels of analysis (company and work group level). Empirical results are based on triangulated data involving observations, as well as interviews with the users, managers and designers of spaces in two organizations.
The results suggest that the overall “fit” of space and culture are not sufficient to engender positive outcomes (such as job performance and employee satisfaction). In particular, the results point to the moderating factors on the work group level of analysis (such as the type of job and employees’ personalities), as well as on the company level (implementation of the change management process), as crucial drivers of job satisfaction and productivity.
The authors demonstrate that a singular focus only on the fit between space and organizational culture leads to equivocal results in terms of cultural change outcomes. A more fine-grained analysis on the work group level considering the match between space, type of job, personality and seniority of the users of that space reconciles these differences.
The authors are grateful to the Swiss Confederation for awarding the Swiss Government Excellence Scholarship for Foreign Scholars to Monika Maślikowska for conducting her research.
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