Page 120 - WHERE WE WORK - Schlegelmilch
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Reconfiguring workplaces
 2006; Hertel et al., 2005; Hinds & Kiesler, 2002; Spinuzzi, 2012), we are, to our knowledge, the first to address workplaces at an overarching level by introducing the concept of workplace configurations. Workplace configurations reflect the complexity and dynamics of modern physical work arrangements. By viewing workplaces as part of a workplace configuration, rather than individually, we can observe the shift of the centers of organizing. We further identified dimensions to describe workplace configurations and capture changes along them. Specifically, we go beyond describing the workplace configurations using size and variety by identifying the dimensions of shared centrality, locational transparency, and negotiated legitimacy. This links to work by Khazanchi et al. (2018), who proposed a model of office dimensions and how they shape work relationships through communication. We complement their conceptual model, which focuses on a single location (the office), whereas we take a more overarching perspective with workplace configurations.
Furthermore, the configurations consist of spatial elements (the workplaces), but the three identified dimensions have a social nature. Thereby, we build on the work by Fayard and Weeks (2006) who emphasized the importance of considering the social aspects of physical workplaces. Their concept of social designation, which is the feeling of legitimacy to be in a place that stems from its “geography, architecture and function” (Fayard & Weeks, 2006, p. 623), relates to our workplace configuration dimension of negotiated legitimacy. A next step could be to study the dimensions more thoroughly across other changes.
The similarity in findings across contexts strengthens the argument to consider the social aspect of workplaces. Also, by conceptualizing workplace configurations as consisting of physical locations, we viewed digital technology as a moderator of how workplace influence work relationship (Khazanchi et al., 2018). However, our findings showed that employees shifted towards digital centers to maintain some of their work relationships. Therefore, future studies should take the digital space more prominently into account when studying workplace configurations, for example, by studying them as polycentric configurations.

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