Preparing a dissertation, I would be interested in finding studies/articles concerning work conditions in open space offices.

Regarding what is expected and advocated by the benefits, I would currently hypothesize that this environment has a negative impact on long-term individual motivation, and it is more difficult to concentrate and to avoid preemption. If I find some clues in this direction, my first and current plan would be something like:

  1. The benefits wanted by companies in terms of group:

    • Team cohesion
    • Fluidity of communication (see theory of information processing) and knowledge sharing
    • Motivation (by collective emulation and cohesion and/or better hierarchical surveillance)
  2. Disadvantages

    • Leveling / erasing of people (intrinsic individual characteristics are flattened into a group mean, probably the resulting form of the most influential and extrovert behaviors)
    • Distraction: a single person can create a unplanned meeting (whatever personal/professional topics) or a game (for example starting throwing a single soft ball) that will degenerate into massive service interruption (because nobody is really in charge of that, and hierarchy may think it is part of cohesion)
    • Insecurity* and lack of autonomy, loosing ability to create a personal space of withdrawal) (* in this context, insecurity would be related to this quotes "These openings would foster a sense of insecurity related to the failure to exercise a comfortable grip on his/her personal space/sphere, especially in some situations where the distance with the hierarchical instance is lower." translated from one of my book)

Particularly, and for now, I would be interested by reading researchers that may have studied directly or indirectly any of:

  • open space drawbacks
  • productivity (before/after comparison)
  • knowledge sharing before/after (before/after comparison)
  • intimacy feeling/private sphere respect before/after (before/after comparison)
  • concentration/focus (before/after comparison)
  • spontaneous criticisms in small "human sized" desk (3-4 persons) versus "keep it for me" and have bad feelings concerning troublemakers because it may be herder to spot a problem in front of a bigger audience
  • accumulated distraction moments (before/after comparison)
  • etc.

I have some books in my native language but they are not related directly to these questions, and I find it hard to get some English literature.

Could you suggest some pointers or books or methodology on how you would find such articles ?


  • 1
    $\begingroup$ This is a very interesting topic, wonder why it hasn't received any attention in over one year. While I'm aware that in the meanwhile this may not be helpful to you any more, I will try to give at least a partial answer to your question (see below). $\endgroup$
    – user14074
    Apr 11, 2017 at 5:28

1 Answer 1


A partial answer to the question.

Literature about before/after comparisons may be found searching for the phrase "office redesign".

For example:

McElroy, J. C., & Morrow, P. C. (2010). Employee reactions to office redesign: A naturally occurring quasi-field experiment in a multi-generational setting. Human Relations, 63(5), 609–636.


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