Towards an effective workspace design by end-user emancipation

Herman Kok, Mark P. Mobach, Onno Omta

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingContribution to conference proceedingAcademicpeer-review


Purpose - This paper aims to identify whether employees’ organisational position affect their perceived quality of the workspace design. By providing possible explanations for the differences and discussing the implications, we aim to establish an effective workspace design process that satisfies different users of the commonly used work environment.
Design/methodology/approach – The present paper analyses the results of a national online survey among members of the Board of Directors (n=17), facility managers (n=76), education managers (n=211), and lecturers (n=1,755) of 18 Dutch Universities of Applied Sciences, using Mann-Whitney U tests.
Findings – The results show a clear misfit between the perceived quality of workspace design between Board members and facility managers on one hand and education managers and lecturers on the other. This possibly indicates a mismatch between which workspace design the organisation intends to provide and what users may require or expect.
Practical implications – Based on the research findings, we propose facility managers should act more closely to the primary process and work to recognize their needs. Therefore, lecturers and education managers as end-users have to become truly emancipated, involving them periodically in workspace design improvement and listening and responding to what they say.
Originality/value - This paper finds that the often presupposed support of facility management to the primary process seems rather weak, at least in the perception of end-users, and that facility managers should engage in participatory workspace design with end-users and challenge
themselves to be the linking-pin between Board and end-users.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvancing Knowledge in Facilities Management, 13th EuroFM Research Symposium
Subtitle of host publicationPromoting Innovation in FM
EditorsKeith Alexander
PublisherEuroFM: European Facility Management Network
ISBN (Print)978-94-90694-06-7
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Publication series

SeriesEuroFM journal: international journal of facilities management


  • gap analysis
  • workspace design
  • facilities management
  • participatory design
  • higher education


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