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Lived Experience of Activity Based Working: An explorative study of the change of workspaces at IKEA to an activity-based environment
Linnaeus University, School of Business and Economics, Department of Organisation and Entrepreneurship.
2017 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 80 credits / 120 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Backgroud: This master thesis is about discovering the concept of ‘Activity- Based Working (ABW)’ and its application to the specific case of IKEA. ABW is a phenomenon in office design and management. From a physical perspective, it discards private offices, desks and desktop computers assigned for individual’s permanent use (Parker, 2016). Instead, the office space is rearranged with various areas tailored for different work tasks, such as hubs for teamwork, meeting areas, cubicles, phone booths, workshop areas and more (Parker, 2016; Ditchburn, 2014).

The application of ABW involves in the behavioral environment in addition to the physical one. The behavioral environment is aimed to encourage collaboration, creativity, team work and flexible working (Koetsveld & Kamperman, 2011). The concept of ABW is yet under-researched. The existing literature presents the driving factors of open-plan and partially activity-based workspaces from an organizational perspective. The driving factors and expected outcomes of ABW are steered by the work-related needs by the practitioners and scholars. The needs identified by scholars, which are leading companies to take an action towards ABW are mainly organizational needs. The empirical studies reveal positive and negative outcomes of activity- based way of working, affecting physical and behavioral environments of employees, without building a relationship between the work-related needs and the outcome. In addition, these studies are very limited and they do not cover the reflections of driving factors on employees.

Addressing this gap, I want to add to the literature on office space by presenting an empirical case of IKEA, which combines the rationales and experiences of employees shortly after their workspace has been transformed to ABW. My purpose is not to point out the positive or negative experience, but to reveal employees’ interpretation of the new workspace and how they experience it.

Research question: How do employees interpret the rationales around the transformation of their office space into ABW and how do they experience the ABW environment?

Purpose: To investigate the lived experience of IKEA employees in a physically and behaviorally changing workspace and to problematize the relationship of the rationales and experiences of employees.

Method: This research is an explorative case study. The data presented in findings is collected through semi-structured interviews. Thirteen interviews conducted in three different locations of IKEA.

Conclusion: The study concluded as the lived experience of employees is not mainly parallel to the rationales of organization towards changing to an activity-based environment. The findings revealed a tension between the driving factors and the lived experience. Driving factors reflect what is planned by the organization; whereas the lived experience do not directly show the impact of driving factors on the outcome. The lived experience brings the attention to the social needs of employees to be considered in workspace.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. , p. 99
Keywords [en]
activity-based working, office types, open-plan, space, office space, lived experience
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-67373OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-67373DiVA, id: diva2:1135440
External cooperation
IKEA of Sweden
Subject / course
Business Administration - Other
Educational program
Innovation through Business, Engineering and Design - Specialisation Business, Master Programme, 120 credits
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2017-08-25 Created: 2017-08-23 Last updated: 2017-08-25Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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