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Coping strategies and perceived productivity in open-plan offices with noise problems

Rianne Appel-Meulenbroek (Department of the Built Environment, Eindhoven University of Technology, Eindhoven, The Netherlands)
Sven Steps (Department of the Built Environment, Eindhoven University of Technology, Eindhoven, The Netherlands)
Remy Wenmaekers (Level Acoustics and Vibration BV, Eindhoven, The Netherlands)
Theo Arentze (Department of the Built Environment, Eindhoven University of Technology, Eindhoven, The Netherlands)

Journal of Managerial Psychology

ISSN: 0268-3946

Article publication date: 19 October 2020

Issue publication date: 27 April 2021

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Abstract

Purpose

To study effects of different sources of noise in office environments on perceived productivity, how different types of employees cope with different noise sources, and the perceived effect of different coping strategies on individual productivity.

Design/methodology/approach

Data on coping behavior and noise perception was collected through a survey among 150 employees of 3 organizations with an office in the Netherlands. These were analyzed with X2-tests and the lift-ratio.

Findings

When coping with noise, people are most inclined to either “Make even a greater effort” or “Discuss the noise problem with colleagues,” despite the expectation that this does not have a major positive effect on their productivity. Overall, approach coping strategies were chosen less often than the avoidance coping strategies. There are clear preferences for specific coping strategies when exposed to specific noise sources. Personal differences did not appear to relate to the perception of noise sources but did show differences in coping behavior as well.

Originality/value

This study adds insights about preferred coping strategies for specific noise sources, differences in these preferences related to specific personal characteristics, and how successful these strategies are perceived to be with regard to support of individual productivity.

Keywords

Citation

Appel-Meulenbroek, R., Steps, S., Wenmaekers, R. and Arentze, T. (2021), "Coping strategies and perceived productivity in open-plan offices with noise problems", Journal of Managerial Psychology, Vol. 36 No. 4, pp. 400-414. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMP-09-2019-0526

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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