The purpose of this paper is twofold: first, the relationship between crowding perceptions (i.e. employees’ perceptions of insufficient personal space due to offices’ physical constraints) and deviant workplace behaviors (DWBs) directed at both the organization as a whole (DWB-O) and individuals (DWB-I); and second, privacy invasion from supervisors and peers as a mediator.
Data were collected from 299 respondents working in open-plan offices at four medium-to-large sized IT-based companies. Drawing on conservation of resources theory, the paper suggests that under crowding conditions employees can perceive the physical workspace as a space-related resource that is threatened leading them to engage in DWBs out of a conservation strategy.
Structural equation modeling results significantly supported main effects of employees’ crowding perceptions on the two types of DWBs, with privacy invasion from supervisors and peers as full mediator.
The study could suffer from mono-method/source bias, and specificities of the studied IT-based companies and their work can raise concerns about the generalizability of the results.
The findings indicate that a proper physical office arrangement can be a useful tool for managers in combating employee DWB.
To date, the origin of workplace deviance has mainly been investigated in terms of the psychosocial work environment; however, the physical labor conditions (i.e. the layout of buildings, furniture, workspace, air conditioning, workplace density, etc.) have received little systematic attention.
Zoghbi-Manrique-de-Lara, P. and Sharifiatashgah, M. (2019), "The emergence of deviant behaviors in the physical work environment: A study of workers in open offices", International Journal of Manpower, Vol. 40 No. 5, pp. 1012-1026. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJM-09-2018-0307
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