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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Editorial From: Facilities, Volume 32, Issue 13/14
The final issue of Facilities in this year contains seven papers, with three of them focussing on workplace issues. The topics of the rest cover project culture, job design, school facilities and value of facilities management.
The first paper about workplace issues, which is from Plijter, van der Voordt and Rocco, reports on an exploratory study. Involving an extensive literature review, a series of interviews with the representatives of multinationals on corporate real estate strategies and workplace characteristics and a multiple case study of two multinational firms, the study revealed that all the interviewed companies had their real estate portfolio significantly aligned to the local national culture. The involvement of local people in workplace design led to differences in workplace characteristics. The authors suggested that additional empirical research covering more, different national cultures is needed.
Another paper centred on workplace matters is from Pascale, Achour, Price and Polverino. Based on a literature review and 76 case studies from Italy and the USA, the authors identified the important factors in defining emergency department (ED) space requirements, namely, attendance variability, vulnerable groups and mass casualty events. A major conclusion of the study is that the current design guidelines and approaches need to be updated to meet with the current and future demand by taking into account design performance. Moreover, the US EDs are in a better position, than the Italian EDs, to increase capacity when needed.
The third paper of the workplace group, prepared by Cole, Oliver and Aiste, pinpointed at workplace culture. Aimed at understanding the influence of the blurring of the distinction between the domains of “work” and “leisure” on the notion of workplace culture, the work reported in the paper is drawn upon concepts, theories and ideas in workplace, information and communications technology and green building literatures. The possible implications for the changing nature of the workplace in current green building practice are among the main findings of the work.
Taking a case study approach, Xia, Zuo, Zhao and Zillante carried out questionnaire surveys, interviews and a review of project documents to investigate the impacts of project culture on the performance of two public hospital projects in Australia. Project culture was found to be important for achieving harmonious relationships between project participants and better project outcomes. Such findings my help project teams to understand how to deal with cultural issues at the project level.
In Singapore, Ling and Toh attempted to identify the job characteristics that would boost the personal and work outcomes of facilities managers. Based on the survey data of 34 managers, 23 out of the identified job characteristics were found to be significantly present in the jobs of the managers. Job characteristics that are significantly correlated with personal and work outcomes of the managers were also revealed. The authors recommended that those significant job characteristics should be incorporated into the jobs of facilities managers.
The Plan Ceibal in Uruguay is to provide every public primary school child with a free laptop. The study of Cardellino and Leiringer, by obtaining data from a multiple case study of five public primary schools, examined the impact of the Plan on the existing school infrastructure. The study showed the important role of facilities and asset management in the diffusion of new technology and in the achievement of effective learning environments. More knowledge about how to operate, maintain, improve and adapt the school facilities towards a supporting environment is needed.
The last paper, which is written by Jensen, van der Voordt, Coenen and Sarasoja, comes from Europe. Based on reflections on the content of the book “The Added Value of Facilities Management” and the related studies, added value is expected to be crucial to the future development of facilities management. In particular, it is necessary to have a better understanding of alignment between facilities management (FM) and core business, performance measurement methods and how models such as the FM Value Map can be of value to the involved stakeholders.
Joseph H.K. Lai, Co-Editor