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“Mijn werkplek, dat is wie ik ben” - De rol van werkplekpersonalisatie voor medewerkers in organisaties.

Kanne, Kristina (2011) “Mijn werkplek, dat is wie ik ben” - De rol van werkplekpersonalisatie voor medewerkers in organisaties.

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Abstract:Aim of the study The aim of this study is to examine the relevance of “Personalization of the workplace” for employees. Research on workplace personalization has to date only been conducted in a quantitative manner. The prevailing opinion of the literature on workspace personalization states that personalizing the workspace has a positive influence on the employees’ attitude. This research has been conducted to examine this topic on a qualitative manner to study this topic more in depth. This has been done to analyze mutual influences between workplace personalisation and employees’ attitude. Furthermore it has been analyzed why employees take personal items to their workplace and what the functions of these items are. Second the relationship between workplace personalization and the attitude of employees was considered. Furthermore, it was examined how employees perceive rules and regulations dealing with workplace personalization. These rules and regulations include those officially stipulated by the organisation as well as inofficial regulations that are part of the organisation’s culture. Method The research at hand is of a qualitative nature. Data was gathered using face-to-faceinterviews with 20 participants. To take part in the research, participants had to meet two requirements. First, they had to work in an organization, meaning that self-employed persons without staff were not included. Second, participants had to have a workplace. During the interviews, use is made of an interview guideline. All interviews were audio recorded in order to guarantee an exhaustive and accurate processing of the data. Topics that were discussed in the interview were the development of personalization of the respondent’s working space. Furthermore, the respondents were asked whether or not there are unwritten rules about personalization in their company. Additionally, the respondents were asked about their motivation for personalization. Questions about the relation between personalization and attitude towards the job were asked at the end of each interview. Results The results indicate that people personalize their workplaces by means of different items. These items can be categorized into five groups: i. items related to important people ii. items that were intended to decorate the workplace, iii. work related items, iv. items related to one's passion, v. items placed randomly. The results show that the groups of items have different functions and that employees have different motivation to personalize their offices. Items from the first group, relation to important people, are chosen when employees want to display their own identity to the outside world and as a reminder of their life at home. Items to decorate the office shall create a comfortable, pleasant home-like working atmosphere for the employee him- or herself and visitors. Work related items were displayed as a reminder of successfully completed projects and to expose the individuals´ status. Moreover it shall impress clients and colleagues. Passion related items are placed in office to create an own territory and to get a reflection of nice moments. Finally randomly placed items can be found in many employees’ offices. One reason for this is the inability of some people to throw things away. Another reason is found in the feeling people to have an obligation of placing items. This is especially true when talking about presents. Furthermore, the results show that people, who are satisfied with their work and who can identify with their work, are more inclined to personalize their workplace than people who are not satisfied and can not identify with their work. Additional results indicate that workplace personalization only leads to more satisfaction with the work environment, and therefore with the work itself, when employees are already satisfied with their work situation in general. The study also reveals that employees disapprove of rules and regulations dealing with workplace personalization and that employees personalize their offices even when this is officially forbidden by the organisation they work for. In addition to the rules prescribed by the organisation, results indicate that the organisational culture may have a strong influence on people’s inclinations to personalize their workplace. Findings suggest that employees adapt themselves to the organisation’s culture, and therefore also to the specific ways of personalization. Conclusion The prevailing opinion of the literature on workspace personalization states that personalizing the workspace has a positive influence on the worker’s satisfaction with his work. This study shows that this is true under the condition that the respective employee is already basically satisfied with his work. By implication one can assume there is no personalization of workspace when there is no fundamental work satisfaction. Also in the literature a positive influence of personalisation on the affinity and identification of employees with their organisation is discussed. It has been stated that employees, who design their workplace according to their personal taste, feel more connected with their company than employees not personalizing their workspace. This research found out that the contrary is true. Only individuals who are already satisfied with their work and can identify themselves with their doing are inclined to personalize their workplace. This implies that the dissociation between working life and private life decreases when the individual is able to identify and be satisfied with his/her job. This study furthermore revealed that workspace personalization can be perceived as having power. Employees who have the freedom to design their workplaces according to their interests and taste are feeling more appreciated by their employers. They feel that trust is put into them and their work. On the other hand employees who are not allowed to personalize their workplace have the feeling that their personality is not appreciated and that their individuality is valued lesser. It appears they have the feeling of being but one of many.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:05 communication studies
Programme:Communication Studies MSc (60713)
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