Skip to main content
×
×
Home

The spatial context of organizations: A critique of ‘creative workspaces’

  • Donatella De Paoli (a1), Erika Sauer (a2) and Arja Ropo (a3)
  • Please note a correction has been issued for this article.
Abstract

This paper examines office design as a spatial context of organizations. Organizations increasingly invest in designing workspaces to support employee creativity, foster company innovation and communicate a positive company image. This paper takes a critical view of this ‘hype’ by describing and analysing images of the headquarters of allegedly ‘creative workspaces’ published on the internet across a broad range of industries and corporations. Our analysis shows how their design follows standardized or stereotypical approaches to nurturing creativity: playfully or artistically designed open spaces, environments reminiscent of home, sports and play, nature, past/future technologies, or culturally aligned symbols. We discern underlying connections between office spaces and creativity, suggesting that creativity flourishes in happy, relaxed and playful communities within close-knit teams. We then identify three contradictions in relation to the existing literature on creativity and workspaces: individually versus collectively produced creativity; professionally designed workspaces versus workspaces created through participation; and planned versus emerging creativity.

Copyright
Corresponding author
Corresponding author: Donatella.d.paoli@bi.no
References
Hide All
Allen, T. J. (1977). Managing the flow of technology. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Allen, T. J., & Henn, G. W. (2007). The organization and architecture of innovation: Managing the flow of technology . London: Elsevier.
Alvesson, M., & Sandberg, J. (2011). Generating research questions through problematization. Academy of Management Review, 36(2), 247271.
Alvesson, M., & Sköldberg, K. (2009). Reflexive methodology: New vistas for qualitative research. London: Sage.
Amabile, T. M. (1996). Creativity in context: Update to the social psychology of creativity. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.
Amabile, T. M. (2012). Componential theory of creativity (Harvard Business School Working Paper No. 12-096), Oslo. Retrieved April 12, 2016 from http://www.hbs.edu/faculty/Publication%20Files/12-096.pdf.
Amabile, T. M., Conti, R., Coon, H., Lazenby, J., & Herron, M. (1996). Assessing the work environment for creativity. Academy of Management Journal, 39, 11541184.
Amabile, T. M., Schatzel, E. A., Moneta, G. B., & Kramer, S. J. (2004). Leader behaviors and the work environment for creativity: Perceived leader support. Leadership Quarterly, 15, 532.
Appel-Meulenbroek, R. (2013). Managing intellectual capital through a proper building configuration. International Journal of Learning and Intellectual Capital, 10(2), 137150.
Appel-Meulenbroek, R., Groenen, P., & Janssen, I. (2011). An end-user’s perspective on activity-based office concepts. Journal of Corporate Real Estate, 13(2), 122135.
Balogun, J., & Johnson, G. (2005). From intended strategies to unintended outcomes: The impact of change recipient sensemaking. Organization Studies, 25(26), 15731601.
Barad, K. (2003). Posthumanist performativity: Toward an understanding of how matter comes to matter. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 28(3), 801831.
Bisadi, M., Mozaffar, F., & Hosseini, S. B. (2012). Future research centers: The place of creativity and innovation. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 68, 232243.
Bilton, C. (2007). Management and creativity. From creative industries to creative management. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing.
Cain, S. (2012). Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking. London: Penguin Books.
Carlile, P., Nicolini, D., Langley, A., & Tsoukas, H. (Eds.). (2013). How matter matters: Objects, artifacts and materiality in organization studies. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Carlsen, A., Clegg, S., & Gjersvik, R. (Eds.). (2012). Idea work. Oslo: Cappelen Damm Akademisk.
Caves, R. E. (2000). Creative industries: Contracts between art and commerce. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Clegg, S., & Kornberger, M. (Eds.). (2006). Space, organizations and management theory. Malmö: Liber & Copenhagen Business School Press.
Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2007). Implications of a systems perspective for the study of creativity. In R. J. Sternberg (Ed.), Handbook of creativity (pp. 313335). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Csikszentmihalyi, M., & Sawyer, K. (1995). Shifting the focus from individual to organizational creativity. In C. M. Ford, & D. A. Gioia (Eds.), Creative action in organizations: Ivory tower visions & real world voices (pp. 6771). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Dale, K. (2005). Building a social materiality: Spatial and embodied politics in organizational control. Organization, 12(5), 649678.
Dale, K., & Burrell, G. (2008). Spaces of organization and the organization of space. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Dale, K., & Burrell, G. (2010). ‘All together, altogether better’: The ideal of ‘community’ in the spatial reorganization of the workplace. In A. van Marrewijk, & D. Yanow (Eds.), Organizational spaces: Rematerializing the workaday world (pp. 1940). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
Dale, K., & Burrell, G. (2015). Leadership and space in 3D: Distance, dissent and disembodiment in the case of a new academic building. In A. Ropo, P. Salovaara, E. Sauer, & D., De Paoli (Eds.), Leadership in spaces and places (pp. 217241). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
Davis, M. C., Leach, D. J., & Clegg, C. W. (2011). The physical environment of the office: Contemporary and emerging issues. In G. P. Hodgkinson, & J. K. Ford (Eds.), International review of industrial and organizational psychology (pp. 193237). Chichester: Wiley.
De Paoli, D., Røyseng, S., & Wennes, G. (2017). Embodied leadership in a digital age – What can we learn from theatres? Organizational Aesthetics, 6(1), 99–115.
Derks, D., & Bakker, A.B. (2013). The psychology of digital media at work. London and New York: Routledge.
Doorley, S., & Witthoft, S. (2012). Make space: How to set the stage for creative collaboration. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
Dul, J., & Ceylan, C. (2011). Work environments for employee creativity. Ergonomics, 54(1), 1220.
Elsbach, K. D., & Pratt, M. G. (2007). The physical environment in organizations. The Academy of Management Annals, 1(1), 81224.
Emmitt, S., & Ruikar, K. (2013). Collaborative design management. London: Routledge.
Florida, R. (2002). The rise of the creative class: And how it is transforming work, leisure, community and everyday life. New York, NY: Basic Books.
Gagliardi, P. (Ed.). (1990). Symbols and artifacts: Views of the corporate landscape. New York, NY: Gruyter.
Hacking, I. (1999). The social construction of what? Cambridge, MA and London: Harvard University Press.
Haner, U. (2005). Spaces for creativity and innovation in two established organizations. Creativity and Innovation Management, 14(3), 288298.
Hartley, J. (2004). Creative industries. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing.
Hennessay, B.A., & Amabile, T.M. (2016). Creativity. Annual Review of Psychology, 61, 569598.
Howkins, J. (2001). The creative economy: How people make money from ideas. London: Penguin.
Kallio, T., Kallio, K., & Blomberg, A. J. (2015). Physical space, culture and organisational creativity: A longitudinal study. Facilities, 33(5/6), 389411.
Kampschroer, K., & Heerwagen, J. (2005). The strategic workplace: Development and evaluation. Building Research & Information, 33(4), 326337.
Kreiner, K. (2010). Afterword. Organizational spaces: From ‘matters of fact’ to ‘matters of concern’. In A. van Marrewijk, & D. Yanow (Eds.), Organizational spaces: Rematerializing the workaday world (pp. 200211). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
Kristensen, T. (2004). The physical context of creativity. Creativity and Innovation Management, 13(2), 8996.
Lefebvre, H. (1991). The production of space. Oxford: Blackwell.
Lewis, M., & Moultrie, J. (2005). The organizational innovation laboratory. Creativity and Innovation Management, 14(1), 7383.
Lindahl, G. (2004). The innovative workplace. Facilities, 22(9/10), 253258.
Locke, K., & Golden-Biddle, K. (1997). Constructing opportunities for contribution: Structuring intertextual coherence and problematizing in organizational studies. Academy of Management Journal, 40, 10231062.
Locke, K., Golden-Biddle, K., & Feldman, M. (2008). Making doubt: Generating rethinking the role of doubt in the research process. Organization Science, 19(6), 907918.
Lundström, A., Savolainen, J., & Kostiainen, E. (2016). Case study: Developing campus spaces through co-creation. Architectural Engineering and Design Management, 12(6), 409426.
Maarleveld, M., Volker, L., & van der Voordt, T. J. M. (2009). Measuring employee satisfaction in new offices: The WODI toolkit. Journal of Facilities Management, 7(3), 181197.
Magadley, W., & Birdi, K. (2009). Innovation labs: An examination into the use of physical spaces to enhance organizational creativity. Creativity and Innovation Management, 18(4), 315325.
Martens, Y. (2011). Creative workplace: Instrumental and symbolic support for creativity. Facilities, 29(1/2), 6379.
McCoy, J. M. (2005). Linking the physical work environment to creative context. Journal of Creative Behaviour, 39(3), 169191.
Mumford, M. (Ed.). (2012). Handbook of organizational creativity. London: Elsevier.
Mumford, M. D. (2003). Where have we been, where are we going? Taking stock in creativity research. Creativity Research Journal, 15, 107120.
Mumford, M. D., & Gustafson, S. B. (1988). Creativity syndrome: Integration, application and innovation. Psychological Bulletin, 103, 2743.
Oldham, G. R., & Cummings, A. (1996). Employee Creativity. Personal and contextual factors at work. Academy of Management Journal, 39(3), 607634.
Orlikowski, W. (2007). Sociomaterial practices: Exploring technology at work. Organization Studies, 28, 14351448.
Pallasmaa, J. (2014). Space, place, and atmosphere: Peripheral perception in existential experience. In C. Borch (Ed.), Architectural atmospheres: On the experience and politics of architecture (pp. 1841). Basel, Germany: Birkhäuser.
Panayiotou, A., & Kafiris, K. (2010). Firms in film: Representations of organizational space, gender and power. In A. van Marrewijk, & D. Yanow (Eds.), Organizational spaces: Rematerializing the workaday world (pp. 174199). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
Prahalad, C. K., & Ramaswamy, V. (2004). The future of competition: Co-creating unique value with customers. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.
Rafaeli, A., & Vilnai-Yavetz, I. (2004). Instrumentality, aesthetics and symbolism of physical artifacts as triggers of emotions. Theoretical Issues in Ergonomics Science, 5(1), 91112.
Ropo, A., Salovaara, P., Sauer, E., & De Paoli, D. (Eds.). (2015). Leadership in spaces and places. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
Ropo, A., Sauer, E., & Salovaara, P. (2013). Embodiment of leadership through material place. Leadership, 9(3), 378395.
Sailer, K. (2011). Creativity as social and spatial process. Facilities, 29(1/2), 618.
Salovaara, P. (2014). Video leadership in spaces and places. Organizational Aesthetics, 3(1), 79.
Shalley, C. E., & Gilson, L. L. (2004). What leaders need to know: A review of social and contextual factors that can foster or hinder creativity. Leadership Quarterly, 15, 3353.
Shalley, C. E., Zhou, J., & Oldham, G. R. (2004). The effects of personal and contextual characteristics of creativity. Where should we go from here? Journal of Management, 30(6), 933958.
Strati, A. (1992). Aesthetic understanding of organizational life. Academy of Management Review, 17, 568581.
Strati, A. (2007). Sensible knowledge and practice-based learning. Management Learning, 38(1), 6177.
Styhre, A., & Sundgren, M. (2005). Managing creativity in organizations: Critique and practices. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Tuan, Y.-F. (1977). Space and place: The perspective of experience. Minnesota, MN: University of Minnesota Press.
van Marrewijk, A. (2011). Aesthetic experiences of designed organisational space. Journal of Work Organization and Emotion, 4(1), 6177.
van Marrewijk, A., & Yanow, D. (Eds.). (2010). Organizational spaces: Rematerializing the workaday world. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
Viljoen, M. (2010). Embodiment and the experience of built space: The contributions of Merleau-Ponty and Don Ihde. South African Journal of Philosophy, 29(3), 306329.
Vilnai-Yavetz, I., Rafaeli, A., & Schneider-Yaacov, C. (2005). Instrumentality, aesthetics and symbolism of office design. Environment and Behavior, 37(4), 533551.
Vischer, J. C., & Zeisel, J. (2008). Process management: Bridging the gap between research and design. Design & Health Scientific Review: Evidence-Based Design. Retrieved April 10, 2016 from https://fenix.tecnico.ulisboa.pt/downloadFile/3779577351816/EBD%20Vischer%20Zeisel%20in%20WHD-08.pdf
Vithayathawornwong, S., Danko, S., & Tolbert, P. (2003). The role of the physical environment in supporting organizational creativity. Journal of Interior Design, 29(1/2), 116.
Warren, S. (2002). ‘Show me how it feels to work here’: Using photography to research organizational aesthetics. Ephemera, 2(3), 224245.
Williams, A. (2009). Creativity syntax: An emerging concept for creativity in the workspace. Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, 3(5), 193202.
Yanow, D. (2010). Giving voice to space: Academic practices and the material world. In A. van Marrewijk, & D. Yanow (Eds.), Organizational spaces: Rematerializing the workaday world (pp. 139158). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Journal of Management & Organization
  • ISSN: 1833-3672
  • EISSN: 1839-3527
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-management-and-organization
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords

Type Description Title
WORD
Supplementary materials

De Paoli et al supplementary material
De Paoli et al supplementary material 1

 Word (24 KB)
24 KB

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed