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id ddss9489
authors Spreckelmeyer, Kent F.
year 1994
title The Symbolic Dimensions of Workplace Evaluations
source Second Design and Decision Support Systems in Architecture & Urban Planning (Vaals, the Netherlands), August 15-19, 1994
summary Post-Occupancy Evaluation (POE) techniques have been used during the past twenty years in a variety of workplace settings to measure specific occupant responses to the physical dimensions of the office environment. Typically, these measures have been used by environmental researchers and designers to improve instrumental aspects of the workplace, such as increased levels of occupant satisfaction with lighting, temperature, privacy, and office configuration. A growing body of evidence has begun to suggest that while instrumental approaches to workplace evaluation have produced improvements in specific office conditions, overall levels of worker satisfaction and perceptions of the general character of the office setting remain low. It has also been suggested that future pressures for reconfiguring the workplace -- increased use of individual communication technologies, working away from the office setting, rapid and continual changes in working patterns - will exacerbate these negative perceptions of workers. This paper will suggest ways in which POEs can be employed to identify and measure the less tangible aspects of office setting and how this information can be used to enhance the designers ability to address the cultural and social dimensions of the workplace. The central thesis of this paper is that POE theories and research methodologies must be focused on the symbolic dimensions of the workplace (i.e., office image, organizational culture, work purpose) in order to understand the ways in which the environment contributes to specific improvements in worker productivity, health, and satisfaction. Data will be presented from the author's recent POE studies of governmental offices and published supporting material found in Environment and Behaviour and The Journal of Architectu-ral and Planning Research. The author has conducted evaluation and programming studies for a number of private and governmental client groups in both office and health-care settings during the past fifteen years, and he will use evidence from this body of work as well as parallel studies of colleagues to support the thesis of the paper.
series DDSS
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