The study aims to provide insight on the relationship between a newly implemented workplace concept, its intentions, the actual use and ultimately its ability to function as a strategic tool. By addressing the intended and unintended consequences of planned spatial arrangements, the interest lies in studying underlying factors affecting the concepts’ ability to function as a strategic tool.
The case study builds on semi-structured interviews and observational studies from a larger Norwegian organisation that recently implemented an activity-based workplace concept. Concept descriptions and architectural drawings have also been important sources to study how the concept was interpreted and used by different groups.
Taking a socio-material perspective, the findings illustrate that spatial aspects and different concept structures, together with issues such as employee mobility and time spent in the office, different work processes, management style and departmental cultures influenced the way the activity-based workplace concept was perceived and taken into use.
The findings indicate that social and cultural aspects may play a more significant role in the adaptation process than previously emphasised. The article further provides knowledge on how organisations, in planning and implementation of such concepts, may address the right issues to overcome challenges and achieve the higher strategic ends.
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