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The purpose of this paper is twofold: first, the relationship between crowding perceptions (i.e. employees’ perceptions of insufficient personal space due to offices’ physical constraints) and deviant workplace behaviors (DWBs) directed at both the organization as a whole (DWB-O) and individuals (DWB-I); and second, privacy invasion from supervisors and peers as a mediator.Design/methodology/approachData were collected from 299 respondents working in open-plan offices at four medium-to-large sized IT-based companies. Drawing on conservation of resources theory, the paper suggests that under crowding conditions employees can perceive the physical workspace as a space-related resource that is threatened leading them to engage in DWBs out of a conservation strategy.FindingsStructural equation modeling results significantly supported main effects of employees’ crowding perceptions on the two types of DWBs, with privacy invasion from supervisors and peers as full mediator.Research limitations/implicationsThe study could suffer from mono-method/source bias, and specificities of the studied IT-based companies and their work can raise concerns about the generalizability of the results.Practical implicationsThe findings indicate that a proper physical office arrangement can be a useful tool for managers in combating employee DWB.Originality/valueTo date, the origin of workplace deviance has mainly been investigated in terms of the psychosocial work environment; however, the physical labor conditions (i.e. the layout of buildings, furniture, workspace, air conditioning, workplace density, etc.) have received little systematic attention.
International Journal of Manpower – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jul 18, 2019
Keywords: Workplace deviance; Open-plan office; Physical work environment; Crowding perceptions; DWBs; Privacy invasion
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