What would happen if employees in an organization did not somehow see each other, didn’t talk to each other, did not cooperate with each other? The thought doesn’t seem very realistic today, there is simply no such organization! An organization without communication does not exist since the communication permeates all activities (see, among others, Putnam, Phillips & Chapman, 1996; McPhee & Zaug, 2000; Taylor, 1993; Weick, 2004). Hatch and Schultz (2009, p. 121) argues ”Top managers need to listen and respond to both internal and external stakeholders if they want to formulate a strategy that employees can and will deliver”. A question for academia and practitioners thus becomes how to promote a valuable communication within the organization.
One factor that has implications for communication in an organization is how you organize. The work environment is important for an organization since the business needs to attract and retain qualified personnel in a competitive world. The organization is dependent on employees who are motivated, productive and healthy. Despite the environmental effect on the staff, there are few scientific studies of how office types affect employees (Westerlund, nd). The coming posts will thus illuminate a theme that requires greater understanding, both from an organizational communicative perspective to foster communication that creates value and is meaningful for employees and for the organization, but also from a broader societal perspective, to provide more insight in areas such as architecture design, work environment and health psychology. The texts will discuss the open office landscape that reflects a trend in organizational environments which more and more organizations embrace (ibid). So, how can we understand the trend of open offices in organizations, and what are the implications on the communication?