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Article

Rafi Santo, Dixie Ching, Kylie Peppler and Christopher Hoadley

This article makes the case that the education community can learn from professional learning and innovation practices, collectively called “Working in the Open” (or …

Abstract

Purpose

This article makes the case that the education community can learn from professional learning and innovation practices, collectively called “Working in the Open” (or “Working Open”), that have roots in the free/open source software (F/OSS) movement. These practices focus on values of transparency, collaboration and sharing within communities of experimentation. This paper aims to argues that Working Open offers a compelling approach to fostering distributed educational professional networks that focus on co-constructing new projects and best practices.

Design/methodology/approach

Insights presented here are based on three sources: expert perspectives on open source work practices gleaned through interviews and blog posts, a qualitative case analysis of a collaborative project enacted by a group of informal learning organizations within the Hive NYC Learning Network, a community of over 70 youth-facing organizations in New York City, as well as an overview of that network’s participation structures, and, finally, knowledge-building activities and discussions held within the Hive NYC community about the topic in situ. From these sources, the authors derived general principles to guide open work approaches.

Findings

The authors identify five practices deemed as central to Working Open: public storytelling and context setting, enabling community contribution, rapid prototyping “in the wild”, public reflection and documentation and, lastly, creating remixable work products. The authors describe these practices, show how they are enacted in situ, outline ways that Hive NYC stewards promote a Working Open organizational ecosystem and conclude with recommendations for utilizing a Working Open approach.

Originality/value

Drawing from the F/OSS movement, this article builds on standard practices of professional learning communities to provide an approach that focuses on pushing forward innovation and changes in practice as opposed to solely sharing reflections or observing practices.

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Article

Mary Weir and Jim Hughes

Introduction Consider a hi‐fi loudspeaker manufacturing company acquired on the brink of insolvency by an American multinational. The new owners discover with growing…

Abstract

Introduction Consider a hi‐fi loudspeaker manufacturing company acquired on the brink of insolvency by an American multinational. The new owners discover with growing concern that the product range is obsolete, that manufacturing facilities are totally inadequate and that there is a complete absence of any real management substance or structure. They decide on the need to relocate urgently so as to provide continuity of supply at the very high — a market about to shrink at a rate unprecedented in its history.

Details

International Journal of Manpower, vol. 6 no. 1/2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-7720

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Article

Eileen Drew

The subject of part‐time work is one which has become increasingly important in industrialised economies where it accounts for a substantial and growing proportion of…

Abstract

The subject of part‐time work is one which has become increasingly important in industrialised economies where it accounts for a substantial and growing proportion of total employment. It is estimated that in 1970, average annual hours worked per employee amounted to only 60% of those for 1870. Two major factors are attributed to explaining the underlying trend towards a reduction in working time: (a) the increase in the number of voluntary part‐time employees and (b) the decrease in average annual number of days worked per employee (Kok and de Neubourg, 1986). The authors noted that the growth rate of part‐time employment in many countries was greater than the corresponding rate of growth in full‐time employment.

Details

Equal Opportunities International, vol. 9 no. 3/4/5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0261-0159

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Article

Ana Chadburn, Judy Smith and Joshua Milan

The purpose of this paper is to analyse the drivers that allow for enhanced personal productivity of knowledge-based workers in Central London focusing on the physical and…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyse the drivers that allow for enhanced personal productivity of knowledge-based workers in Central London focusing on the physical and social environment as well as worker’s individual preferences.

Design/methodology/approach

A closed-ended questionnaire was sent to employees of eight professional companies (Consultancy, Financial and Media Services) based in Central London. Of the 500 questionnaires sent, 213 were successfully completed and returned, representing a response rate of 42.6 per cent.

Findings

The findings from this trial study show that comfort, convenience, IT connectivity, good design and working to a specific time scale were strong drivers of personal productivity. Knowledge workers prefer a flexible range of office settings that enable both a stimulating open and connected work environment, knowledge sharing, collaboration, as well as quiet concentration locations, free of distractions and noise. It was also found that moves of knowledge workers into open-plan office space (and especially fee earners) is normally met with initial resistance. However, there is normally greater acceptance of open space after experiencing an actual move into open-plan, with benefits improving teamwork and communication being highlighted. The research also stresses that office design considerations need to be closer aligned with knowledge worker’s overall well-being and individual psychological needs.

Research limitations/implications

Limited to Central London offices and self-assessed evaluation of productivity drivers within the knowledge worker’s office environment.

Practical implications

Corporate real estate managers and office occupiers, designers and facilities managers can use the findings as part of their workplace strategy by providing a range of flexible workplaces that allow the knowledge worker a place for greater personal productivity through the provision of a well-designed collaborative office environment alongside private and quiet working spaces. Developers and landlords should also be aware of these requirements when taking their decisions.

Originality/value

This paper focuses specifically on the high-productivity knowledge-based work environment, demonstrating that there is a need to consider the collaborative physical and social environment and the individual preferences of knowledge workers to ensure enhanced personal productivity and well-being within the office. This can be achieved through the provision of a well-designed office space that allows for open, connected and comfortable work environments, as well as opportunities to use dedicated concentration spaces that are free of distraction. It was also shown that hot-desking was unanimously disliked by knowledge workers.

Details

Journal of Corporate Real Estate, vol. 19 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-001X

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

Barry Haynes, Louise Suckley and Nick Nunnington

Open-plan office environments are considered to offer workplace productivity benefits because of the opportunities that they create for interaction and knowledge exchange…

Abstract

Purpose

Open-plan office environments are considered to offer workplace productivity benefits because of the opportunities that they create for interaction and knowledge exchange, but more recent research has highlighted noise, distraction and loss of privacy as significant productivity penalties with this office layout. This study aims to investigate if the purported productivity benefits of open plan outweigh the potential productivity penalties.

Design/methodology/approach

Previous research suggests that office environments are experienced differently according to the gender and age of the occupier across both open-plan and enclosed configurations. Empirical research undertaken with office occupiers in the Middle East (N = 220) led to evaluations to establish the impact different offices had on perceived productivity. Factor analysis was used to establish five underlying components of office productivity. The five factors are subsequently used as the basis for comparison between office occupiers based on age, gender and office type.

Findings

This research shows that benefits and penalties to workplace productivity are experienced equally across open-plan and enclosed office environments. The greatest impact on perceived workplace productivity however was availability of a variety of physical layouts, control over interaction and the “downtime” offered by social interaction points. Male occupiers and those from younger generations were also found to consider the office environment to have more of a negative impact on their perceived workplace productivity compared to female and older occupiers.

Originality/value

The originality of this paper is that it develops the concept of profiling office occupiers with the aim of better matching office provision. This paper aims to establish different occupier profiles based on age, gender and office type. Data analysis techniques such as factor analysis and t-test analysis identify the need for different spaces so that occupiers can choose the most appropriate space to best undertake a particular work task. In addition, it emphasises the value that occupiers place on “downtime” leading to the need for appropriate social space.

Details

Journal of Corporate Real Estate, vol. 19 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-001X

Keywords

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Article

Heidi Rasila and Peggie Rothe

The purpose of this paper is to understand how the youngest generation at work perceives problems that are linked to open‐plan offices. They are the future users of the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to understand how the youngest generation at work perceives problems that are linked to open‐plan offices. They are the future users of the work environments and thus it is important to understand how they perceive different office solutions. The paper looks at one specific type of job and one group of office employees: generation Y – those born in the 1980s and early 1990s – working in a contact centre environment.

Design/methodology/approach

The research was carried out as a case study. In total, 20 thematic interviews were conducted among the representatives of generation Y from three different sites of one big Finnish telecommunications company. The themes of the interviews were outlined by a thorough literature review concerning problems that are often linked to open office solutions.

Findings

The findings suggest that in this case, the generation Y employees in fact liked their open‐plan office. They acknowledged most of the issues or “problems” that the literature suggests, but they did not necessarily see these purely in a negative way. Instead, they often perceived these issues as fair trade‐offs for some greater good. This result supports the idea that open‐plan offices are complex and interrelated systems where all parts affect the others.

Research limitation/implications

The main limitation of this research is the small sample size. The results cannot be generalized to all young office employees; rather, they are intended to give a first in‐depth insight into the experiences of one specific group of users in the complex interrelated open‐plan office system.

Originality/value

The paper's findings add to the understanding about how generation Y perceives their work environment. The research also highlights a limitation in earlier open‐plan offices and suggests that future research needs to take a broader perspective on this complex system.

Details

Property Management, vol. 30 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0263-7472

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Article

Natalya Monaghan and Oluremi Bolanle Ayoko

Research on the physical work environment and employee territorial behavior in the field of organizational behavior is limited. In particular, while the prevalence of…

Abstract

Purpose

Research on the physical work environment and employee territorial behavior in the field of organizational behavior is limited. In particular, while the prevalence of territorial behaviors in organizations is not new, little is known about how the physical work environment (e.g. open-plan offices) may influence the enactment, interpretation and reactions to territoriality. The purpose of this paper is to explore the connection between the physical environment of work (e.g. open-plan office), employee territorial behaviors (including infringement) and affective environment.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were collected by means of in-depth-interviews from 27 participants from two large Australian public organizations involved in recruitment, marketing, consulting and education.

Findings

Results revealed that employees’ personalization in the open-plan office is driven by the nature of their tasks, appointment, duration of time spent on their desk, level of adaptation to the open-plan office configurations and the proximity of desks to senior managers, hallways and passers-by. Additionally, affective environment has a critical effect on employee personalization and the enactment and perception of territoriality and infringements in open-plan offices. Additionally, the authors found that the affective environment is dynamic and that employees in open-plan offices experienced emotional contagion (positive and negative).

Research limitations/implications

Due to the demographic make-up of one of the participating organizations, less than a third of participants were male. While the data did not suggest any disparity in the territorial behaviors of male and female, future research should include an even representation of male and female participants. Similarly, the authors did not examine the impact of ethnicity and cultural background on employees’ territoriality. However, given that the workforce is increasingly becoming multicultural, future research should explore how ethnicity might impact the use of space, work processes and productivity in open-plan office. Additionally, scholars should continue to tease out the impact of affective environment (positive and negative) on team processes (e.g. conflict, communication, collaboration and the development of team mental models) in the open-plan office.

Practical implications

The results indicate some practical implications. Noise and distraction are indicated in the results. Therefore, human resource managers and organizational leaders should work with employees to develop some ground rules and norms to curb excessive noise in the open-plan office. Additionally, the authors found in the current study that the affective environment is dynamic and that employees in open-plan offices experienced emotional contagion (positive and negative). Managers should watch out for how individuals react to the prevailing emotions and moods in the open-plan office with the intention of diffusing negative emotions as quickly as possible, for example, by changing the topic under discussion in the open-plan office. The results speak to the need for more active collaboration and engagement between policy makers, workspace architects, designers and employees especially prior to the building of such workspaces.

Social implications

The results suggest that effective employee interactions in open-plan office may be enhanced by positive emotional contagion and office affective environment.

Originality/value

So far, little is known about the impact of the physical work context (e.g. open-plan offices) on the enactment, interpretation and reactions to territoriality. The current paper explores the connection between the physical environment of work (e.g. open-plan office), employee territorial behaviors (including infringement) and affective environment. The findings demonstrate for the first time and especially in an open-plan office that ownership and personalization of objects and workspaces are more likely to be driven by the amount of time spent at one’s desk, the nature of employees’ appointments and tasks. Additionally, the present research is one of the first to report on affective environment dynamism in the open-plan office.

Details

International Journal of Manpower, vol. 40 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-7720

Keywords

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Article

Paula Ungureanu, Carlotta Cochis, Fabiola Bertolotti, Elisa Mattarelli and Anna Chiara Scapolan

This study investigates the role of collaborative spaces as organizational support for internal innovation through cross-functional teams and for open innovation with…

Abstract

Purpose

This study investigates the role of collaborative spaces as organizational support for internal innovation through cross-functional teams and for open innovation with external stakeholders. In particular, the study focuses on collaborative spaces as tools for multiplex (i.e., simultaneous internal and external boundary management in innovation projects).

Design/methodology/approach

The authors conducted a qualitative study in a multi-divisional organization that set up in its headquarters a collaborative space for collaborative product development. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews and participant observations.

Findings

Findings highlight that the relation between expectations and experiences about the collaborative space impact on employees' ability to perform boundary work inside and outside the organization. In addition to the collaborative space's affording role for expectations about hands-on collaborative innovation (space as laboratory), the study also highlights a set of collaboration constraints. These latter are generated by perceived boundary configurations (i.e. degree of boundary permeability and infrastructure in internal and external collaborations) and by discrepancies between expectations (space as laboratory) and actual collaboration experiences in the space (i.e. space as maze, cloister, showcase and silo). We show that space-generated constraints slow down internal and external boundary work for innovation and generate a trade-off between them.

Originality/value

Using the process-based perspective of boundary work, the paper connects studies on cross-functional teaming and open innovation through the concept of “multiplex boundary work.” It also contributes to the literature on boundary work by showing the challenges of using collaborative spaces as organizational support tools for multiplex boundary spanning.

Details

European Journal of Innovation Management, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1460-1060

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Article

Megan Divett

This paper aims to evaluate perceptions of leaders and team members on productivity, satisfaction and leader-led team dynamics within an activity-based, flexible…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to evaluate perceptions of leaders and team members on productivity, satisfaction and leader-led team dynamics within an activity-based, flexible environment compared to an open plan workplace.

Design/methodology/approach

This study uses cross-sectional (N = 1,275) and longitudinal survey data (N = 138) collected from three offices in Australia. Baseline responses were collected 3–12 months prior to the transition into a new environment and comparison responses were collected after at least three months of working in the new environment. Paired sample t-tests and linear regression were used.

Findings

Team members were more satisfied and felt more productive within the activity-based working (ABW) environment compared to the open plan workplace. Leaders were more satisfied and felt team productivity improved, yet individual productivity for leaders remained the same. Occupants felt the key drivers of productivity were team Interaction and decision-making.

Research limitations/implications

This study focused on one activity-based building based in Australia that was consciously designed for individual focus, team working and cross-team collaboration. This style of workplace may not be representative of all activity-based environments.

Originality/value

Most research into ABW has relied on cross-sectional data. This study also adopts a within group, longitudinal approach to directly compare the perceptions of the same individuals over time. Activity-based environments are changing the way we think of leaders and the way they encourage productivity. This study showed that despite relinquishing an office, leaders were more satisfied and equally productive within an activity-based environment. The study also showed that teams realise greater productivity by focussing on team interaction and effective decision-making.

Details

Journal of Facilities Management , vol. 18 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1472-5967

Keywords

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