New ways of working (NWW): work space and cultural change in virtualizing organizations

Sytze Kingma*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

This study offers a grounded theory of ‘new ways of working’ (NWW), an organizational design concept of Dutch origin with a global relevance. NWW concern business solutions for flexible workspaces enabled by digital network technologies. Theoretically, NWW are analysed with reference to Lefebvre’s theory on the ‘production of space’ and are defined along three dimensions: the spatiotemporal ‘flexibilization’ of work practices, the ‘virtualization’ of the technologically pre-defined organization, and the ‘interfacialization’ of meaning making in the lifeworld of workers. Empirically, NWW are explored in a case study of an insurance company which in 2007 radically implemented NWW. The case study consists of a longitudinal – before and after implementation – research based on ethnographic fieldwork, conducted in 2007 and 2010. The article contributes with a conceptual framework for the analysis and management of NWW, and highlights contradictions and ambiguities in the implementation and appropriation of this innovative organizational design.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)383-406
Number of pages25
JournalCulture & Organization
Volume25
Issue number5
Early online date26 Jan 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Funding

The fieldwork for this research was largely carried out by two MA-students Organization Sciences at VU-Amsterdam, Karin Bosman (first phase in 2007), and Naomi van Dam (second phase in 2010). Previous versions of this paper were presented at EGOS in Barcelona in July 2009, and the Organization Studies Workshop at Rhodes in June 2012. Many thanks to Karin, Naomi, the participants to the workshops, and to the anonymous reviewers of C&O.

FundersFunder number
MA-students Organization Sciences
Naomi van Dam

    Keywords

    • flexible workspace
    • grounded theory
    • Lefebvre
    • new technologies
    • Organizational design

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