Discussion: Place and Space

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Discussion: Place and Space

Discussion: Place and Space

Technology and new work arrangements have once again enabled an integration of work activities into every- day life. Technologies have made it possible for employees to do their work in their own homes, on the road, or at an alternative work space at times that accommodate home life and leisure activities.9 Paradoxically, however, employees often want to create a sense of belonging within the space where they work. That is, they wish to create a sense of “place,” which is a bounded domain in space that structures their experiences and interactions with objects that they use and other people that they meet in their work “place.” People learn to identify with these “places,” or locations in space, based on a personal sharing of experiences with others within the space. Over time, visitors to the place associate it with a set of appropriate behaviors.10 Increasingly “places” are being constructed in space with Web tools that encourage collaboration, allowing people to easily communicate on an ongoing basis, once again changing the nature of where work is done.

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The Information Systems Strategy Triangle, discussed in Chapter 1, suggests that changing information sys- tems (IS) results in altered organizational characteristics. Significant changes in IS and the work environments in which they function are bound to coincide with significant changes in the way that companies are structured and how people experience work in their daily lives. Chapter 3 explores how information technology (IT) influences organizational design. This chapter moves the focus to the way IT is changing the nature of work, the rise of new work environments, and IT’s impact on different types of employees, where and when they do their work, and how they collaborate. This chapter looks at how IT enables and facilitates a shift toward collaborative and virtual work. The terms IS and IT are used interchangeably in this chapter, and only basic details are provided on technologies used. The point of this chapter is to look at the impact of IT on the way work is done by individuals and teams. This chapter should help managers understand the challenges in designing technology‐intensive work and develop a sense of how to address these challenges and overcome resistance to IT in our rapidly changing world.

3 Gensler, Dialog 22, http://www.gensler.com/uploads/documents/Dialogue‐22.pdf (accessed August 25, 2015). 4 http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeannemeister/2013/04/01/flexible‐workspaces‐another‐workplace‐perk‐or‐a‐must‐have‐to‐attract‐top‐talent/. 5 http://csr.cisco.com/casestudy/flexible‐work (accessed May 30, 2015). 6 “Smashing the Clock,” Bloomberg News (December 10, 2006), http://www.bloomberg.com/bw/stories/2006‐12‐10/smashing‐the‐clock (accessed May 29, 2015). 7 The IRS is one example of these U.S. government programs. For more information, see http://www.irs.gov/irm/part6/irm_06‐800‐002.html (accessed May 29, 2015). 8 S. Barley and G. Kunda, “Bringing Work Back In,” Organizational Science 12, no. 1 (2001), 76–95. 9 S. Harrison and P. Dourish, “Re‐Place‐ing Space: The Roles of Place and Space in Collaborative Systems,” Proceedings of the 1996 ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work (1996), 67–76. 10 C. Saunders, A. F. Rutkowski, M. Genuchten, D. Vogel, and J. M. Orrega, “Virtual Space and Place: Theory and Test,” MIS Quarterly 35, no. 4 (2011), 1079–98.


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