Organizational Spaces

Organizational Spaces

Rematerializing the Workaday World

Edited by Alfons van Marrewijk and Dvora Yanow

This insightful book poses interesting theoretical and methodological questions for the processes of spatial design and the treatment of workspaces in organizational settings of various kinds. The contributors expertly answer the need for practical field research on spatial settings and materiality in organizations of various sorts.

Chapter 8: Virtual Worlds for Organizational Spaces

Mark Mobach

Subjects: business and management, critical management studies, organisation studies, research methods in business and management, research methods, research methods in business and management, social policy and sociology, sociology and sociological theory


Mark Mobach The study of organizational space deals with the mutual influences of the physical environment and human behaviour. It can be seen as the place where organization and space analytically meet face to face (Dale and Burrell 2008). In many cases organizational space studies focus on the effects that architectural structures have on social structures and behaviour. As such, organizational space combines organizational design with architectural design. Organizational design entails the constructing and changing of an organization’s structure in order to achieve the goals of the organization (Bowditch and Buono 2005), and, in the particular case of organizational space, architectural design deals with the constructing and changing of buildings and related physical structures for organizational purposes (Handler 1970). However, analysis of organizational space is not limited to organizational and architectural design. Organizational spaces produce meaning and may therefore also be regarded as an expression of organizational identity (Rapoport 1982), and changes in such spaces can be seen as a reflection of intended change processes (Van Marrewijk 2009). When plans for new organizational spaces are discussed, at least two professions will always meet: the manager and the architect. The collaboration of these two roles is central to this chapter. Managers and architects try to influence the aesthetic experience of employees in organizations (Kornberger and Clegg 2004). In a process of aestheticization, organizational goals and organizational identity are transferred to the employee in a process akin to psychological transference processes (Dale and Burrell 2008). This is what they share; but there...

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