Nordic workplace concept development from office as a city to city as an office
Journal article, 2017
Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to describe, discuss and analyze forerunner cases from three different decades in workplace concept development in Sweden and Finland and discuss the transformation over time to better facilitate management of office development and disseminate Nordic experiences. Design/methodology/approach - The reflecting paper is discussing the development of workplace concepts. It is based on case studies collected from 1980s to the new millennium. The reflection is based on the perspective of Nordic culture. The characteristics of the Nordic culture used in the paper are low power distance and individualism. Findings - The evolution from "office as a city" to "city as an office" has taken place in both countries and Nordic cultural values have provided fruitful platform for them. However, the layer of organizational culture in the studied workplaces also has an impact on the development and implication of the concepts. Research limitations/implications - The selection of case studies is limited to two Nordic countries only. The comparison of all five Nordic countries could increase the understanding of Nordic culture and similarities and differences between the countries. The study could be deepened by a more thorough literature review including not only Nordic but also European cases. Practical implications - The dilemma of management when designing workspaces for the changing world is in that individuals increasingly choose where to work, when, with whom and how. Facilitating that freedom of choice is a balancing act in modern workspace design where people is a scarcer resource than space. It requires an active management that sees their facilities as a part of their system not as a costly box top put it in. Social implications - Easy access seems to be the key to the workspace of the future when decision power shifts from organizations to individuals. Simultaneously, individuals need to take more and more responsibility and action to get their job done: the cases illustrate how this has been done and that the integration and interaction between office concepts and office work will need to be on business agendas. Originality/value - The perspective of Nordic workplace concept development from 1980s provide the material for future development, without an understanding of the past one cannot understand the future.