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Activity-based work and its implications for the academic work environment

Activity-based work and its implications for the academic work environment The aim of the current interview study was to investigate how the university staff and their immediate managers perceived the academic work environment after a transition to activity-based workplaces (ABW).Design/methodology/approachInterviews were conducted with 11 university lecturers/researchers and 12 academic middle managers, that is, heads of departments or units in a Swedish university.FindingsThe qualitative content analysis revealed four central themes indicating how the academic environment had been affected: challenges related to decision-making and implementation of ABW, interpersonal relations and communication, consequences for academic identity and issues related to the physical work environment.Research limitations/implicationsThe non-purposive sampling of participants coming from a single university is a limitation of the current study. More studies are needed to deepen the knowledge and to further corroborate the transferability of the findings.Practical implicationsThe savings the universities expect to achieve in terms of reduced costs for premises, when introducing ABW, may lead to other kinds of costs, such as jeopardizing employee performance, comfort and well-being. It is therefore important that the academic staff is empowered and involved during the planning and implementation process of new offices.Originality/valueThe study contributes new knowledge concerning implementation of ABW and its consequences for the academic work environment. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education Emerald Publishing

Activity-based work and its implications for the academic work environment

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
2050-7003
DOI
10.1108/jarhe-02-2020-0046
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The aim of the current interview study was to investigate how the university staff and their immediate managers perceived the academic work environment after a transition to activity-based workplaces (ABW).Design/methodology/approachInterviews were conducted with 11 university lecturers/researchers and 12 academic middle managers, that is, heads of departments or units in a Swedish university.FindingsThe qualitative content analysis revealed four central themes indicating how the academic environment had been affected: challenges related to decision-making and implementation of ABW, interpersonal relations and communication, consequences for academic identity and issues related to the physical work environment.Research limitations/implicationsThe non-purposive sampling of participants coming from a single university is a limitation of the current study. More studies are needed to deepen the knowledge and to further corroborate the transferability of the findings.Practical implicationsThe savings the universities expect to achieve in terms of reduced costs for premises, when introducing ABW, may lead to other kinds of costs, such as jeopardizing employee performance, comfort and well-being. It is therefore important that the academic staff is empowered and involved during the planning and implementation process of new offices.Originality/valueThe study contributes new knowledge concerning implementation of ABW and its consequences for the academic work environment.

Journal

Journal of Applied Research in Higher EducationEmerald Publishing

Published: Jun 7, 2021

Keywords: Academic work environment; Activity-based workplaces (ABW); Managers; Researchers; University teachers

References