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Article

This paper aims to review the latest management developments across the globe and pinpoint practical implications from cutting-edge research and case studies.

Abstract

Purpose of this paper

This paper aims to review the latest management developments across the globe and pinpoint practical implications from cutting-edge research and case studies.

Design/methodology/approach

This briefing is prepared by an independent writer who adds their own impartial comments and places the articles in context.

Findings

There are relatively minor disagreements such as whether to put milk in cups before or after the hot tea (answer: before). There are more serious disagreements such as Brexit, which has split the UK down the middle. But when it comes to sheer, visceral, instantaneous vitriol, nothing comes close to the reaction people have when someone turns the air conditioning up or down in an open plan office. One can predict that while one half of the room are eternally grateful for the “blessed relief”, the other half will turn apoplectic with anger at the worsening conditions. There rarely seems to be a happy medium.

Practical implications

Provides strategic insights and practical thinking that have influenced some of the world’s leading organizations.

What is original/value of paper?

The briefing saves busy executives and researchers hours of reading time by selecting only the very best, most pertinent information and presenting it in a condensed and easy-to-digest format.

Details

Human Resource Management International Digest , vol. 27 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0967-0734

Keywords

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Article

Lee D. Parker

This study aims to critically evaluate the COVID-19 and future post-COVID-19 impacts on office design, location and functioning with respect to government and community…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to critically evaluate the COVID-19 and future post-COVID-19 impacts on office design, location and functioning with respect to government and community occupational health and safety expectations. It aims to assess how office efficiency and cost control agendas intersect with corporate social accountability.

Design/methodology/approach

Theoretically informed by governmentality and social accountability through action, it thematically examines research literature and Web-based professional and business reports. It undertakes a timely analysis of historical office trends and emerging practice discourse during the COVID-19 global pandemic's early phase.

Findings

COVID-19 has induced a transition to teleworking, impending office design and configuration reversals and office working protocol re-engineering. Management strategies reflect prioritisation choices between occupational health and safety versus financial returns. Beyond formal accountability reports, office management strategy and rationales will become physically observable and accountable to office staff and other parties.

Research limitations/implications

Future research must determine the balance of office change strategies employed and their evident focus on occupational health and safety or cost control and financial returns. Further investigation can reveal the relationship between formal reporting and observed activities.

Practical implications

Organisations face strategic decisions concerning both their balancing of employee and public health and safety against capital expenditure and operation cost commitments to COVID-19 transmission prevention. They also face strategic accountability decisions as to the visibility and correspondence between their observable actions and their formal social responsibility reporting.

Social implications

Organisations have continued scientific management office cost reduction strategies under the guise of innovative office designs. This historic trend will be tested by a pandemic, which calls for control of its spread, including radical changes to the office at potentially significant cost.

Originality/value

This paper presents one of few office studies in the accounting research literature, recognising it as central to contemporary organisational functioning and revealing the office cost control tradition as a challenge for employee and community health and safety.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 33 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

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Article

Alfons Van Marrewijk and Leonore Van den Ende

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the relation between the spatial intervention of open-plan offices in a university, the consequential change in work practices…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the relation between the spatial intervention of open-plan offices in a university, the consequential change in work practices of faculty members and how these practices appropriate the designed space.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors executed a two-year longitudinal ethnographic study following the case of the science faculty, which moved from a traditional office setting to open-plan offices. The authors studied the space and interviewed staff before, during and after the introduction of open-plan offices.

Findings

Findings show that the new spatial setting triggered staff members to attribute certain meanings and practices of adaptation which were, partly, unintended by the design of the open-plan offices.

Research limitations/implications

This paper contributes empirically grounded insights into the (un)intended consequences of a spatial intervention in terms of how staff members, far from being passive, attribute meaning and alter their work practices leading to unprecedented organizational changes.

Practical implications

For change consultants, facility managers and university managers the outcomes of this paper are highly relevant.

Social implications

Large budgets are spent on new office concepts at universities but the authors do know little about the relation between spatial (re)design and organizational change.

Originality/value

The introduction of new office concepts, spatial redesign and co-location is for many academics highly emotional.

Details

Journal of Organizational Change Management, vol. 31 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0953-4814

Keywords

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Article

This paper aims to review the latest management developments across the globe and pinpoint practical implications from cutting-edge research and case studies.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to review the latest management developments across the globe and pinpoint practical implications from cutting-edge research and case studies.

Design/methodology/approach

This briefing is prepared by an independent writer who adds their own impartial comments and places the articles in context.

Findings

This research paper aims to extract strategy lessons and key objectives from office space redesign projects undertaken by accounting firms in Canada, the UK, and Ireland. Such projects can be structured over four distinct stages: 1) Imagining, 2) Testing, 3) Stabilizing, and 4) Reifying. The results revealed that the consultation element of such projects is a key vehicle for engaging employees to such an extent that they accept the new space and inherent working practices. Supported by design professionals, office redesign projects are therefore a usefully influential, scalable mindset-shifting tool for achieving organizational change.

Originality/value

The briefing saves busy executives, strategists and researchers hours of reading time by selecting only the very best, most pertinent information and presenting it in a condensed and easy-to-digest format.

Details

Strategic Direction, vol. 36 no. 10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0258-0543

Keywords

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Article

Jette Ernst

The purpose of this paper is to examine the role of organizational space in attempts at practice redesign and innovation that involve a break with the traditional…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the role of organizational space in attempts at practice redesign and innovation that involve a break with the traditional professional boundaries in a recently established Danish hospital department.

Design/methodology/approach

Organizational ethnography combined with Bourdieusian theorization. The data used for this paper are derived from 13 months of ethnographic fieldwork. The author performed participant and meeting observations combined with interviews and the reading of internal and external documents.

Findings

Despite the department’s attempts at pursuing practice redesign and innovation by breaking with the institutionalized professional boundaries as well as role hierarchies, and emphasizing collaboration between nurses and doctors, the paper demonstrates how the attempts at change meet invisible impediments in practice and how organizational space plays an important yet, overlooked part in reproducing field tradition.

Originality/value

By virtue of Bourdieusian theorization in combination with organizational ethnography, the paper contributes with unique insights into a seldom studied part of hospital organization, which is how organizational space, rather than being a backdrop for organizational life, is constructed and used by professionals whose habitus renders this space an active component in delimiting professional work as well as the scope of change.

Details

Journal of Organizational Ethnography, vol. 6 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-6749

Keywords

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Article

Lee D. Parker

The purpose of this paper is to examine the phenomenon of activity-based working (ABW), an office design and management system that has emerged in the past 20 years. It…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the phenomenon of activity-based working (ABW), an office design and management system that has emerged in the past 20 years. It investigates its manifest and underlying agendas with a view to determining its degree of cost management focus and scientific management foundations.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper uses historical and website analysis methodologies for investigating historical office management philosophies and practices, as well as contemporary office design and management philosophies and related ABW practices and discourse. These are examined through the theoretical lenses of governmentality and impression management theories.

Findings

Despite a rhetoric of staff empowerment, ABW’s dominant agenda is overhead cost reduction and operating cost management. This reflects scientific management principles of early twentieth-century office design and management. Cost efficiencies and productivity emerge as key ABW output foci. While ABW adopters and advocates present ABW as a desirable staff satisfaction and operations facilitator, the cost agenda nonetheless commands centre stage.

Research limitations/implications

Accounting research into the office and its processes is much needed. This has been largely neglected in favour of line management and factory floor costing and accountability systems. In a world dominated by service industries, the office as a centre of organisational and economic activity merits researchers’ greater attention.

Practical implications

Contemporary office design and functioning developments merit greater recourse to and acknowledgement of their historic roots. Then, practitioners can better design and implement systems that build on past knowledge and learnings. While such innovations as ABW may carry potential for improved organisational performance, care is needed with respect to their balancing of agendas and suitability for their institutional and cultural environments.

Social implications

Organisational work has become a dominant part of social life in most economies today. Such innovations as ABW must be considered in terms of the societal culture into which they are introduced: how they reflect and adapt to that culture and what impacts they may also have on the culture itself. This includes dimensions such as organisational and self-control, as well as personal and organisational accountability.

Originality/value

This study presents itself as one of the very few refereed research studies of ABW currently available in the accounting, management or property research literatures. It also represents one of the very few studies of the office in the accounting research literature internationally.

Details

Journal of Accounting & Organizational Change, vol. 12 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1832-5912

Keywords

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Book part

Gertjan Schuiling

This chapter describes the change efforts and action research projects at a Dutch multinational which, over a period of 25 years, produced in one of its businesses a…

Abstract

This chapter describes the change efforts and action research projects at a Dutch multinational which, over a period of 25 years, produced in one of its businesses a zigzag path toward collaborative leadership dynamics at the horizontal and vertical interfaces. The chapter also identifies the learning mechanisms that helped achieve this transformation. Changing the patterns at the vertical interfaces proved to be a most tricky, complex, and confusing operation. The data show that organizations need hierarchical interfaces between levels, but are hindered by the hierarchical leadership dynamics at these interfaces. The data furthermore show that competitive performance requires more than redesigning horizontal interfaces. A business can only respond with speed and flexibility to threats and opportunities in the external environment when the leadership dynamics at agility-critical vertical interfaces are also changed.

Details

Research in Organizational Change and Development
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78350-312-4

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Article

Andrew Laing

The office as a workplace has reached a critical point in itsevolution. The requirement of the conventional office would appear to beholding back the near applications of…

Abstract

The office as a workplace has reached a critical point in its evolution. The requirement of the conventional office would appear to be holding back the near applications of IT and organisational creativity, which aim to promote a much freer and more dynamic relationship between space and time for the office workplace. Henry Ford′s mass production of the 1920s laid the foundations of the modern office as we know it, but “post‐Fordism” is challenging the rigid patterns then ordained, especially the traditional notions of work time and space. To this end not only must the office be redesigned but also the nature of work itself must be redefined.

Details

Facilities, vol. 9 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0263-2772

Keywords

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Article

Kung‐Jen Tu and Vivian Loftness

Despite discussions about the universal work station, there is increasing workplace dynamics in US organisations. These dynamics include space configuration changes, space

Abstract

Despite discussions about the universal work station, there is increasing workplace dynamics in US organisations. These dynamics include space configuration changes, space enclosure changes, changes in occupant density and increasing equipment density. At the same time, building infrastructures have not evolved to meet these demands, with little flexibility in the heating, ventilation and air‐conditioning (HVAC), lighting, or electrical/telecommunication systems of new or existing office buildings. This paper examines the effects of organisational workplace dynamics and building infrastructure flexibility on the environmental and technical quality of offices. Resulting from extensive field studies in US buildings, the authors contend that there are numerous statistically significant issues for the design and management of buildings for the dynamic organisation. The study identified numerous factors that affect thermal, air, lighting and technical quality in offices. In relation to infrastructure, for example, occupants who work in office areas provided with greater cooling capacity and more supply air volume, and combined with smaller HVAC zones, appeared to have higher levels of thermal satisfaction. Those who work in areas with higher outlet densities gave higher technical quality ratings; and those provided with relocatable outlets (raised floor and furniture based) gave significantly higher technical satisfaction ratings than those provided with least‐first‐cost ‘tombstones’. In relation to organisational dynamics, increasing occupant densities in existing buildings are related to more thermal and air quality complaints, more complaints about outlet accessibility, as well as more complaints about inadequate light levels on work surfaces. This paper will outline the major findings of a study linking organisational dynamics with building infrastructure, moving towards the definition of innovations in facility design that will more effectively support dynamic organisations.

Details

Journal of Corporate Real Estate, vol. 1 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-001X

Keywords

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Article

Kusal Tharinda Nanayakkara, Sara Jane Wilkinson and Sumita Ghosh

Office layout arrangements have a significant influence on many important aspects of organisations, and design firms need to liaise with the client to determine the most…

Abstract

Purpose

Office layout arrangements have a significant influence on many important aspects of organisations, and design firms need to liaise with the client to determine the most appropriate design process. The purpose of this paper is to explore the factors design firms consider when designing new office layouts and the nature of future offices from the design and workplace strategist firms’ perspectives.

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative study comprising interviews with leading international and nation design firms and workplace strategy consultant firms in Australia. Qualitative data was analysed using a thematic approach, which adopted within case, and across case, analyses.

Findings

Research identified major factors considered when identifying appropriate workplace strategies. These included the existing and preferred culture of the organisation, the level of flexibility required, functionality and technology requirements, acoustic strategies, sense of community and generation gap between employees. Participants believed future offices would be technology driven, community oriented, sustainability, health and well-being focussed, smaller in size with satellite offices, such as co-working and office spaces.

Research limitations/implications

This research has implications for industry and academics, as it provides an in-depth understanding of workplace specialists’ and design firms’ perceptions of clients’ contemporary and future requirements from office spaces. It also illustrates what they look at when designing office spaces for large corporates.

Practical implications

Research demonstrates how the office environment should match with the physical and psychological needs of the organisation and its employees. Findings have practical applications to professionals in human resource management and the design, management, development and valuation of office buildings.

Originality/value

This paper provides in-depth insights into how design firms and workplace strategists meet organisations’ changing demand for physical spaces, their main considerations in developing new workplace strategies, process followed and nature of future workplace in Australian context.

Details

Journal of Corporate Real Estate , vol. 23 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-001X

Keywords

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