Changing academic work places: the introduction of open-plan offices in universities

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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 – We 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. We 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.
Originality/value – Large budgets are spent on new office concepts at universities but we know little about the relation between spatial (re)design and organizational change. Therefore, 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.
LanguageEnglish
Pages1119-1137
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Organizational Change Management
Volume31
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 13 Aug 2018

Fingerprint

Open-plan office
Academic work
Work place
Staff
Organizational change
Work practices
Design methodology
Longitudinal study
Redesign

Keywords

  • Change
  • Office redesign
  • Open-plan office
  • Organizational space
  • University campus

Cite this

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title = "Changing academic work places: the introduction of open-plan offices in universities",
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Changing academic work places : the introduction of open-plan offices in universities. / Van Marrewijk, Alfons; Van den Ende, Leonore.

In: Journal of Organizational Change Management, Vol. 31, No. 5, 13.08.2018, p. 1119-1137.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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