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Title: The influence of open plan work-environments on the productivity of employees: the case of engineering firms in Cape Town
Authors: Kok, W 
Meyer, M 
Titus, S 
Hollis-Turner, Shairn 
Bruwer, Juan-Pierré 
Keywords: office environment;work-environment;employee productivity;open plan office;private office;employee satisfaction
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: Business Perspectives
Source: Kok, W., Meyer, M., Titus, S., Hollis-Turner, S. & Bruwer, J-P. 2015. The influence of open plan work-environments on the productivity of employees: The case of engineering firms in Cape Town. Problems and Perspectives in Management, 13(2):51-56.
Abstract: More large organizations are moving away from traditional private offices and adopting open plan work-environments. This is mainly done to save space and money since office space is limited in both size and usability. Prior research suggests that large organizations in the United States of America and the United Kingdom make use of open plan work-environments as emphasis is placed on cost-effectiveness, but not necessarily on employee satisfaction. Since the advantages of open plan work-environments (e.g. sharing ideas, improved communication, etc.) largely outweigh the disadvantages of open plan work-environments, it provides justification for the global ‘trend’ of open plan workenvironments. Notwithstanding the above, organizations should be mindful as to how open plan work-environments may impact on its employees’ morale and the overall effectiveness of its employees, among other areas. This research study was conducted with the main intent to determine how employees, in a South African dispensation, are influenced by open plan work-environments, particularly in relation to employees’ productivity and job satisfaction. This research study was empirical in nature and followed a mixed methods approach whereby data were collected from 32 respondents situated in two engineering firms, in Cape Town, through means of questionnaire-tools. All respondents had to adhere to a strict set of delineation criteria in order to constitute a valid response. It was found that the majority of respondents who were situated in open plan work-environments preferred private offices as opposed to open plan offices, especially since it had an adverse influence on employees’ concentration, privacy and emotional well-being.
Appears in Collections:BUS - Journal Articles (not DHET subsidised)
Dr. Juan-Pierré Bruwer

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