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Promise, Application and Pitfalls
Edited by John Storm Pedersen and Adrian Wilkinson
Edited by Arja Ropo, Perttu Salovaara, Erika Sauer and Donatella De Paoli
In this chapter I argue that places exert leadership, because space influences action. Concentrating on two megacities, New York and Jakarta, I study how the cities lead the people. City residents are driven not only by their own personal needs and daily routines, but, for example, by the city’s grid, traffic arteries and public transport. Research on aesthetic leadership and space explores the symbolic meanings and inherent power issues reflected in spaces and places. The relationship between leadership and space is twofold: physical places form and shape leadership constructions, while simultaneously leadership produces social, experienced spaces.
There is little doubt that globalization – the integration of markets, capital, nation states and technologies – represents a major paradigm shift that impacts corporations and their managers, and that multinational corporations have to face several new challenges. One is the challenge of developing a (global) corporate culture, a set of values that are understood and acted upon across the subsidiaries around the globe. However, Telenor, a Norwegian multinational, represents a rare case where office design has deliberately been used as a strategic tool in order to transfer the company’s values and leadership philosophy to its Asian subsidiaries. Based on the Telenor case, I have come to two (preliminary) conclusions. First, even though Telenor thinks that implementing its open-space office solutions in a ‘take it or leave it’ style has been quite successful, it is uncertain whether a more ‘soft’ implementation, leaving room for local adaptions, would have been even better. Second, looking at spatial solutions in order to create a more coherent culture across MNCs should definitely be part of the international human resource management (IHRM) toolbox. Today, IHRM is still concerned with traditional activities such as staffing, compensation, performance appraisals and so forth.
Managerial and Social Implications
This chapter looks at customers’ perceptions of space in a case when the space is the service. Self-service hotels provide an illustration of this phenomenon. A classical theatre metaphor is used to describe a self-service hotel as a service performance where customers are replacing the actors on a stage. A few customers shared their experiences on overnighting in a self-service hotel. Six themes emerged from these customers’ narratives: the need for front stage employees in service encounters, virtual back stage employees, perceptions of hospitality, sensuous experiences, the meaning of co-customers, and a target group of a self-service hotel. This study contributes to designing services in a case when the space is the service. The study is explorative in nature. Hence, it gives a number of ideas for future research.