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Physical workplace environment and employee engagement: A theoretical exploration by Madu, N. G., Asawo, S. P. and Gabriel, J.M.O.



This paper explores the association of physical workplace environment and employee engagement through theoretical and empirical review of literature. The theoretical foundation of the paper is the theory of Job Embeddedness, which provides insight on how employees can be driven into job engagement using acceptable physical working environment. The review reveals that conducive physical workplace environment predicts employee engagement, especially because one’s environment affects one’s cognitive, emotional and physical well-being. The paper concludes that a conducive and properly designed user-friendly physical workplace environment is central to employee engagement and consequently organizational success. The study therefore formulates hypotheses that suggests a significant positive relationship between the operational dimensions of physical work environment and the measures of employees’ engagement that will guide an empirical analysis of the identified association that holds that a well-designed physical workplace that is comfortable, flexible and aesthetic to the occupier will encourage mobility, concentration, sensory and physical connection to work roles and foster employee engagement.
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1Madu, Nnenna Gladys; 2S.P. Asawo (PhD); 3J.M.O. Gabriel (PhD)
1PhD Student, Department of Management, Rivers State University, Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
2Lecturer, Department of Management, Rivers State University, Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
3Senior Lecturer, Department of Management, Faculty of Management Sciences,
Rivers State University, Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
This paper explores the association of physical workplace environment and employee
engagement through theoretical and empirical review of literature. The theoretical foundation of
the paper is the theory of Job Embeddedness, which provides insight on how employees can be
driven into job engagement using acceptable physical working environment. The review reveals
that conducive physical workplace environment predicts employee engagement, especially
because one’s environment affects one’s cognitive, emotional and physical well-being. The
paper concludes that a conducive and properly designed user-friendly physical workplace
environment is central to employee engagement and consequently organizational success. The
study therefore formulates hypotheses that suggests a significant positive relationship between
the operational dimensions of physical work environment and the measures of employees’
engagement that will guide an empirical analysis of the identified association that holds that a
well-designed physical workplace that is comfortable, flexible and aesthetic to the occupier will
encourage mobility, concentration, sensory and physical connection to work roles and foster
employee engagement.
Keywords: Physical Workplace Environment, Employee Engagement, Office Design,
Environmental Conditions, Vigor, Dedication, Absorption
The pursuit of organizational success in today’s business world lies not only in an organization’s
ability to promptly respond to the unpredictable and fast changing environment or the
assemblage of a multi-skilled workforce, but also in having engaged employees who feel and
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connect physically, cognitively and emotionally to work roles and the work environment. With
the fast changing business environment, employee engagement has become increasingly vital to
business enterprises that seek to retain valued employees and has consequently received
heightened research attention. Accordingly, Mase & Tyokyaa (2014) studied resilience and
organizational trust as correlates of work engagement among health workers in Makurdi
Metroplis, Berry & Morris (2008) studied the impact of employee engagement factors on job
satisfaction on turnover intent while Ugwu, Onyeishi and Rodriguez-Sanchez (2014) studied the
role of psychological empowerment on organizational trust and employee engagement.
Similarly, other studies have highlighted the importance and benefits of employee engagement to
other organizational constructs such as customer satisfaction, workers’ productivity, employee
turnover and absenteeism (Harter, Schmidt, & Hayes, 2002), business growth, profitability and
performance (Markos & Sridevi, 2010). These research outcomes indicate that organizations
now place premium on the need to have employees who come to work energized, ready to
generate new ideas, create new strategies and make meaningful progress every work-day. An
engaged employee is believed to invest physical effort and demonstrate care, dedication,
enthusiasm, discretionary effort and vigor, and is more likely to be cognitively and emotionally
attached to work roles. These they exhibit because they feel proud to be part of the organization,
perceive meaningfulness and are accountable to the goals of the organization. Therefore, it seems
to be in the best interest of Organizations to seek ways of enhancing employee engagement in
order to guarantee that employees' act in ways that are consistent with their objectives and goals.
In view of this, Leblebici (2012), and Hammed and Amjad (2009) respectively noted that one of
such conditions that enhance employee engagement is a well-designed, user friendly and quality
workplace. The authors noted that employees' are at their best when they have personal control
of their work roles, perceive that the workplace is safe and comfortable and appropriate to their
According to Chandrasekhar (2011), and Sundstrom, Town, Rice, Osborn and Brill (1994), the
attention in the workplace environment is of rising concern because most employees spend at
least fifty percent of their lives within indoor environments which influences their cognitive and
emotional states, concentration, behavior, actions, and abilities and by extension performance.
This is also of more concern because employees at work need to focus, cooperate with each
other, socialize and learn throughout their time on the job. The environment, according to Ajala
(2012), is man’s immediate surrounding which he manipulates for his existence. Its wrongful
manipulation, the scholar averred, triggers hazards capable of impeding on employees'
performance and engagement at work. Since, physical workplace environment consists of
tangible components that are related to the office occupiers, which determine their abilities to
physically connect to their work roles (Haynes, 2008), the nature and quality of the physical
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work environment is considered impactful on how employees interact, perform their roles as well
as their mental, physical and emotional states (Sehgal, 2012, Oyetunji, 2014).
Studies have shown that a conducive physical workplace environment reduces absenteeism,
determines retention, enhances job performance, (Chandrasekar, 2011; Hammed and Amjad,
2009), increases job satisfaction and productivity (Samson, Waiganjo and Koima, 2015), ensures
employee engagement (Hammed and Amjad, 2009), and facilitates group cohesiveness (Public
Health England Report, 2015). Similarly, studies have been conducted in Africa on the predictive
role of the physical work environment. For instance, Samson, Waiganjo and Koima (2015)
studied the effect of workplace environment on the performance of commercial Banks in Nakuru
Town, Kenya, Ajala (2012) examined the influence of workplace environment on workers'
welfare, performance and productivity in Nigeria, while Taiwo (2010) examined the influence of
work environment on workers' productivity in Lagos, Nigeria. However, in spite of the
overwhelming importance of the physical work environment and employees’ engagement to
work organizations respectively studies that address the association between these constructs
appear fragmented. Does providing employees with a comfortable, appropriate, satisfactory
physical work environment increase their sense of self worth, engagement and value in the
organization? This is the underlying question that this theoretic paper on the predictive role of
work environment on employees’ work engagement seeks to examine. The paper aims at
reviewing extant literature with the view to generating testable hypotheses that will lead to an
empirical study.
This study is guided by the conceptual framework in figure 1.
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Figure 1: Conceptual Framework on Physical Work Environment
and Employees’ Engagement
Source: Researchers’ Conceptualization
Theoretical Framework: Job Embeddedness Theory
The baseline theory which guides this study is the Job Embeddedness Theory (JET). Scholars are
in convergence that JET was introduced into management literature by Mitchell, Holtom, Lee,
Sablynski and Erez (2001) to explain why employees' stay on their jobs or remain with an
organization or community (Nafei, 2015; Ringl, 2013; Zhang, Fried and Griffeth, 2012; Ng and
Feldman, 2010). The explanation, put forward by the proponents of the theory, was vis-a-vis, its
key components of Links, Fit and Sacrifice. The theory was introduced to incorporate non-job
factors such as attachment to the family, social group and on-the job factors such as attachment
to working groups, connection with colleagues, office facilities, goal congruence, etc to earlier
employee retention models, in view of the limitations of the traditional retention models of
organizational commitment and job satisfaction.
Physical Work Environment
Employees’ Engagement
Office Design
Environmental Condition
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Furthermore, this theory holds that the extent to which people have links to other people within
the organization or activities outside the organization, or are compatible or comfortable with
other interests in the community, influence their decision to remain on their jobs or with the
organization or community. It also proposes that the ease with which links or connections can be
broken also impacts on employees' decision to remain or leave an organization (Mitchell et. al.,
2001). Job Embeddedness highlights the idea that employees can become enmeshed on their jobs
or connected to their immediate environment in a way that it becomes difficult to separate or
disengage from work or the organization. This buttresses the salient point of Job Embeddedness
which (Mitchell et. al., 2001) described as a 'web or net which an employee can become stuck'
arising from a highly and closely connected knit or compatibility with the organization or
community. This, implies that, under same conditions, employees with highly and closely
connected ties to colleagues, office facilities etc. and or whose personal goals aligns with that of
the organization would remain or be more engaged on their jobs while those with less or fewer
loose ties are likely to be disconnected from their jobs.
Job Embeddedness has been demonstrated to influence work-related behaviors such as turnover,
performance, absenteeism, citizenship behaviors and employee engagement (Ng & Feldman,
2010, Ringl, 2013). The theory addresses three core dimensions or components, each of which is
conceptualized as both 'off and on-the-job factors which have been reported to create an
atmosphere of retaining forces that influence an employee’s decision to be embedded on the job
or remain with an organization or community (Ahaiuzu and Asawo, 2016; Nafei, 2015; Ringl,
2013; Zhang, Fried and Griffeth, 2012; Ng & Feldman, 2010; Mitchell et. al., 2001). These
retaining forces are Links, Fit and Sacrifice (Mitchell et. al., 2001). Therefore, when
organizations provide employees with a conducive physical work environment, employees
would be fully engaged and have the interests of the organization at heart. The implications of
Job Embeddeness Theory in this study are that, it supports employee engagement as an outcome
of the Link (connection) and fit (compatibility) employees’ have towards people within and
outside the workplace and other components of the physical workplace environment. It provides
the platform to explain why people remain with an organization/Community. For the purpose of
this research, two out of these three components would be discussed as follows:
According to Mitchell et al. (2001) links explains the extent to which employees are connected to
other employees in the organization and the community. It is characterized by formal or informal
connections or social relationships formed between or amongst employees such as subordinates,
supervisors and other members of the organization in course of working in the organization
(Mitchell, 2001). Empirical research have demonstrated that the more an employee develops
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a formal or informal social support network (links) within the organization, the more such an
employee would exert energy, exhibit discretionary efforts on the job and lean toward the goals
and objectives of the organization (Macey & Schneider, 2008). Ringl (2013) established that an
increased links or connections in the organization predict and promotes work engagement. This
means that the more an employee is connected or linked to members of the organization, the job
or the community, the more the tendency for the employee to be engaged on the job or with the
organization, thereby, the more difficult it would be for the employee to be disengaged on the job
or sever ties with the organization.
Fit is the degree to which an employee's personal goals or objectives are in alliance with that of
the organizations or other aspects of his/her life spaces, outside the work environment. Fit was
described as an employee's perceived compatibility or comfort level with the organization and its
environment (Ahaiuzu and Asawo, 2016; Nafei, 2015; Zhang, Fried and Griffeth, 2012; Young,
2012; Mitchell et al. 2001). A fit between an employee and the organization is believed to take
place when an employee's career goals, personal values, knowledge, skills, abilities are
compatible with the Organization, its culture, other aspects of the organization such as the
physical workplace environment, Human Resource systems, employees' interest outside the
workplace, such as recreation activities, family, vacation, the environment which includes the
climate, weather conditions, political climate, geographic location, religious beliefs etc. The
implication therefore, is that, when employees feel comfortable and compatible with the
organization and its surrounding, they intrinsically align their personal values, career goals etc. to
that of the organization. It is therefore, necessary for Human Resource Managers to ensure that
employees' personal values, career aspirations and plans for the future fit and align with the
organization and its environment so as to have more engaged employees who would lean
towards the goals and objectives of the organization and by so doing reduce the number of
disengaged employees, absenteeism, turnover rates and ill-behavior, and thus ensure higher
performance, profits, efficiency, effectiveness and positive public perception.
Meaning and Antecedents of Employee Engagement
Employee Engagement is about passion, commitment, and the willingness to invest oneself and
expend one’s discretionary effort to help the employer succeed. Engagement is defined by
scholars as high level of commitment and involvement an employee has towards the organization
(Saks, 2006), emotional and intellectual commitment to the organization (Truss, Soane, Edwards,
Wisdom, Croll and Burnett, 2006), discretionary effort exhibited by employees on their job
(Frank, Finnegan and Taylor, 2004), positive attitude held by the employee towards the
organization and its values (Robinson, Perryman and Hayday, 2004), positive fulfilling, work-
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related state of mind that is characterized by vigor, dedication and absorption (Schaufeli,
Salanova, Gonzalez-Roma and Bakker, 2002), and harnessing of organization members' selves to
their work roles, expressed physically, cognitively and emotionally (Khan, 1990). We are
inclined in this study to view employee engagement as a state of passionate disposition
employees attach to their work roles and organization beyond the employment contractual
agreement in an unrestricted effort to help the organization achieve its goals.
Literature reveals that employee engagement has different meaning and have been
conceptualized, operationalized and measured in many different ways too (Kular, Gatenby, Ress,
Soane and Truss, 2008; Truss et al., 2006). The implication therefore is that, there is no single
universally agreed definition. Thus, the meaning or interpretation of employee engagement
appear to have differed based on interest, value, personal circumstance or the personality of the
scholar. Nevertheless, there is a general consensus among scholars that employee engagement is
a work-related construct that is multifaceted, and concerns employee emotional and intellectual
commitment, involvement, passion for work, discretionary effort that is characterized by vigor,
dedication, and absorption while at work (Perryman and Hayday, 2004; Scahufeli et al., 2002;
Khan, 1990). Truss, Schantz, Soane, Alfes & Delbridge (2013) revealed that William Khan was
the first to introduce the concept and that (Khan, 1990) posited that employees use varying
degree of their selves, physically, emotionally and cognitively in the work roles they perform.
The Scholar, revealed that employee engagement occurs when employees know what is expected
of them, have what they need to do their work, have opportunities to feel an impact and
fulfillment in their work, perceive that they are part of something significant with co-workers
and have chances to improve and develop.
Scholars are of the view that employee engagement as a construct is built on the foundation of
earlier concepts like Satisfaction, Job Involvement and Employee Commitment but that it is
broader in scope, entails a two-way relationship between the employer and employee, has the
potential to bring employers and employees closer to the benefit of both, affords employees the
opportunity to experience a sense of oneness while at work, the space to express positive attitude
and be themselves, control or impact upon their environment and make positive contribution to
the goals of the organization (Hallberg and Schaufeli, 2006; Robinson, Perryman and Hayday,
2004; Schaufeli, Salanova, Gonzalez-Roma and Bakker, 2002). Similarly, Harter, Schmidt and
Hayes (2002), stated that employee engagement reflects extreme level of participation and zeal
from the employee than its antecedents such as job satisfaction, job involvement and
commitment, because these constructs lack the qualities commonly associated with engagement;
such as absorption, physical and emotional states, and self expression. Research findings have
indicated that employee engagement is closely linked with performance and that organizations
with engaged employees have higher employee retention, productivity, profitability, growth and
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customer satisfaction while those with disengaged employees suffer less commitment from
employees, face increased absenteeism, turnover, increased human error rate etc (Hammeed and
Amjad, 2009; Carnevale, 1992).
Measures of Employee Engagement
Employee engagement has been operationalized by Schaufeli, Salanova, Gonzalez-Roma and
Bakker (2002) who in their study, defined employee engagement as a positive, fulfilling work
related state of mind that is characterized by vigor, dedication and absorption. They mentioned
that engaged employees invest physical effort in their work, experience increased
meaningfulness on their job and thus are more likely to be cognitively and emotionally attached
to their work. The measures of employee engagement are therefore as follows:
Macey & Schneider, (2008), Schaufeli et al., (2002) described vigor as employee work situations
that are characterized by high levels of physical, mental energies and resilience exerted on the
job. Vigor is the willingness to invest effort in one’s work and persistence when faced with
difficulties at work. It is a positive state of mind exhibited by employees which propels them to
selflessly take on more work, exert extra energy when confronted by challenges or work pressure
in other to get work done. Employee vigor reflects a strong drive demonstrated through the
exertion of energy, time spent and concentration on the job or activities related to the
organization. Schaufeli and Bakker (2004) described vigor as the pace and focus which the
employee brings into the job as a result of increased morale, motivation, sense of duty and
connection to the goals of the organization. Employees who exhibit vigor at work are self driven,
result focus, and determined to complete given tasks within the specified time frame.
According to Schaufeli and Bakker (2004) and Schaufeli et al., (2002), employee dedication
reflects employees' sense of significance, passion, motivation and pride. Employees feel
dedicated when they are inspired by challenges on the job. Dedication is about employees'
persistence, consistency and continuity on the job aimed towards organizational goals. It is an
expression of employees' commitment to work-related goals which spurs him/her on the job.
Employees' who display high levels of dedication are believed to be highly involved on their job
roles and are seen to exert positive feelings towards the job and the organization. It therefore,
means that dedication is about employees being deeply devoted to their jobs as well as the goals
and objectives of the organization.
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This is characterized by being totally and happily immersed in one’s work and having difficulty
detaching oneself from it. It involves high levels of concentration, assimilation and
embeddedness at work to the extent that one finds it difficult to separate from the work.
Schaufeli et al. (2002) and Castellano (2015) noted that absorption is about how much an
employee is engrossed in a role and the intensity of his/her focus. The question then is, what are
the antecedent factors that result in the three measures of employee engagement, viz. vigor,
dedication and absorption? One of such precursors examined in this study is the physical work
The Meaning and Nature of Physical Work Environment (PWE)
Extant Literature indicates that physical work environment has received a lot of attention in
organizational and management studies in recent times (Oyetunji, 2014). This is because,
according to Chandrasekar (2011), Hammed and Amjad (2009), Sundstrom, Town, Rice, Osborn
and Brill (1992), most employees spend fifty percent of their lives in the office which affects the
way they think, comprehend, act, relate with colleagues and connect to their jobs. Sehgal (2012)
noted that the attention for a better physical workplace environment is on the premise that
comfortable people are more productive. This is because when employees' feel comfortable
(which is a state of mind that is dependent on both the physical states and emotional sensations),
they concentrate and connect better to their work roles. Thus a conducive physical workplace
environment have functionality, that is, the ability to facilitate an action, which could influence
employees’ behavioral or psychological states at work.
Achieving employee engagement or organizational goals are dependent on how employees
connect or align with the tangible components of the workplace amongst other factors. Sehgal,
(2012) and Chandrasekar, (2011) identified five major components of physical work
environment as furniture, noise, temperature, lighting and the spatial arrangement (workspace).
The authors averred that, these set of components impact on employee positively or negatively
which in turn predicts organizational outcomes in terms of productivity, engagement,
performance and creativity. According to Oyetunji, (2014), Davenport (2005) posited that the
physical workplace environment is the workspace or work stations where employees carry out
their duties or roles. Haynes (2008) conceptualized the workplace environment as the extent to
which employees perceive the immediate workplace surroundings as fulfilling their intrinsic,
extrinsic and social needs and as a reason for remaining or leaving an organization.
Dimensions of Physical Workplace Environment (PWE)
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Kohun (2002), drawing from the work of Samson, Waiganjo and Koima (2015) opined that the
physical workplace environment contextualizes components of the tangible workplace
environment that comprises of the office/spatial layout, design and functionality of the
immediate surroundings. In an attempt to relate the benefits of having a conducive physical
workplace environment to the business gains, some scholars, grouped the physical workplace
environment into two major categories: the spatial arrangement of office layout/comfort and the
suitability of the environmental conditions to work processes (Onyetunji, 2014; Chandrasekar,
2011; Hammad and Amjad, 2009; Sundstrom et al., 1994). Becker (2002) described the spatial
arrangement (work space) as the way office machineries, equipment, furniture and furnishings
are arranged, their size, shape and the spacing between the items. Thus the dimensions of the
physical work environment include:
Office Design
Office design describes the arrangement of the workspace to enable work be performed in the
most efficient way. It incorporates how the workspace and work tools used in the workplace can
be designed for comfort, efficiency, safety to enhance workflow, efficiency, effectiveness,
productivity and engagement (Hammed and Amjad, 2009). It takes into account a broad range of
issues such as creating a conducive workplace environment that impacts on employee behavior
which in turn drives satisfaction, performance, productivity and engagement. It also explains
how style of furnishings and other physical facilities serves a symbolic and aesthetic function.
Joroff et al.,(n.d) cited in Chandrasekar, (2011) contends that the tangible components of the
workplace is an integral part of work itself, in cognizance of the relationship between work, the
workplace and the work tools. Consequently, to gain an understanding of the role office design,
which includes the workspace, workstation and the environmental factors, play in a work setting
is vital. For instance, an understanding that the workplace is built on the identification that space
has diverse importance such as ease in mobility, accessibility, comfort, visibility, privacy, social
interaction, etc. would aid employees perform at their utmost. In a typical workplace
environment, employees' work individually or in teams, and they interact with each other and at
the same time, require different workplace design such as the open-plan and the single
closed/cellular office design to suit or complement the nature of their jobs. The workspace and
workstations are designed for comfort, visual appeal and adjustability. Gensler (2006) in a study
linking the physical workplace environment to performance, reported that office design revolves
around the open-plan and closed/cellular designs, flexible and adjustable workstations and the
relationship between these design types and the work processes. This means that workspaces and
workstations should be designed according to the nature or demands of a job.
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Oyetunji (2014), Sehgal (2012), and the Public Health England Report (2005) respectively noted
that different organizations have different office designs and preference for work stations,
workspace and other assisting facilities. Some organizations have preference for open-plan and
closed/ cellular office designs to accommodate their business customers, clients, or the type of
work they do. The open-plan office design as the name suggests is built without boundaries or
enclosures. It has separate workstation and chair for each occupier, a central storage facility, and
entry and exit pathways. Some scholars argue that the open-plan office designs give room for
communication flow, teamwork, social integration, ease of accessibility and reconstruction due
to organizational adjustments while others argue that the open-plan office design causes
distractions due to noise (Chigot, 2005), interruptions, erodes individual privacy, triggers health
challenges and as a result negatively impact on employees health and abilities (Sehgal, 2012;
Chandrasekar, 2011).
The single closed/cellular workspace design is built for private use with enclosures and assisting
facilities such as adjustable workstations, chairs and storage facilities with an entry and exit door
personal to the occupier. Davenport (2005), according to Oyetunji (2014) reported that the
closed/cellular office design affords employees some privacy, uninterrupted concentration,
boosts employees' status and gives them a sense of value. Becker (2002) noted that poorly
designed workstations, unsuitable furniture, lack of ventilation, inappropriate lighting and
excessive temperature or noise negatively affect employee performance and engagement at work.
The contemporary physical workplace environment according to Stoessel (2001), is
distinguished by technology, computers, hi-tech machines, ergonomic furniture, furnishings and
temperature/heat electric regulators (Samson, Waiganjo and Koima, 2015).
Environmental Conditions
The environmental condition of a workplace refers to the thermal comfort within the immediate
surroundings of a workplace. It is created through manipulation of the immediate environment to
achieve the right combination of temperature (hot/cold), airflow, humidity and acceptable noise
level. When these factors are in the right mix, physical comfort in the workplace is ensured.
Workplace environmental conditions include the temperature, lighting, ventilation, acceptable
noise level. These factors impact on employees’ wellbeing and work processes. An appropriate
lighting condition would bring about clear visibility, thereby reducing eye strain or its associated
health disorders. Charles, Reardon and Magee (2005) mentioned that a suitable workplace
temperature energizes an office occupier to work at his/her best. Every geographic location has
its peculiar and seasonal weather conditions - temperate, tropical, arid etc. Therefore, the
seasonal climatic conditions of a region or location are considered and accommodated when
designing workplaces. Properly designed office buildings are fitted with environmental
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conditioning systems to regulate and maintain an acceptable level of temperature, lighting and
airflow. For, research findings further indicate that the nature of the workplace environmental
conditions impact on employee health, comfort, performance, productivity and safety
perceptions (Ettner and Grzywacs, 2001; Gyekye 2006). In line with the purpose of this study to
highlight the predictive role of the physical work environment on employees’ engagement the
following section reviews literature in this regard.
Physical Work Environment & Employee Engagement
Evidences abound to the effect that a conducive physical workplace environment boosts
employees' engagement to the job and the organization (Hammeed & Amjad, 2009; Carnevale,
1992). A number of studies have focused on how a variety of job aspects affect employee
engagement (Shirom, Schaufeli and Salanova, 2007; Bakker and Demerouti, 2008; Schaufeli and
Bakker, 2004). Similalrly, satisfaction, productivity, performance, motivation, and the work
environment have all been shown to play a major role in the arousal of employee engagement
(Chandrasekhar, 2011; Hakanen, Bakker & Schaufeli, 2006). Still, there is some evidence that a
conducive physical work environment predicts employee engagement (Sehgal, 2012; Hakanen,
Bakker and Schaufeli, 2006; Hammed and Amjad, 2009), and this association accounts for the
level of employee's performance, productivity and satisfaction and also have some bearing on
employees' well-being, collaboration with colleagues, error rate level, innovativeness,
absenteeism and turnover rate (Sehgal, 2012; Hammed and Amjad, 2009; Sundstrom et al.,
1994). In the same vein, Cunnen (2006) opined that a positive workplace environment results in
less employee turnover, fewer cases of fraud as well as better safety practices, and this makes it
easier to attract and retain qualified employees and employees' comfort.
Corroborating this view, Taiwo (2010) and Chandrasekhar (2011) state that a favorable
workplace environment guarantees the comfort of employees and facilitates the exertion of
energy towards work roles which may translate to higher performance and engagement. Sehgal
(2012) also reported that a quality workplace environment impacts on employees' level of
commitment, involvement, motivation, engagement and subsequent performance. Further
research findings reveal that a good office design is built for the comfort and safety of
employees' or customers and that it facilitates absorption, team work between or amongst
employees (Hammed and Amjad, 2009), social interaction, attracts customers and employees',
enhances better results (Mike, 2010; Carnevale, 1992), boosts productivity, organizational
performance (Naharuddin and Sadegi, 2013; Hammed and Amjad, 2009; Uzee, 1999, Leaman
and Bordass, 1993) and reduces health and safety risks.
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Accordingly, Chandrasekar (2011), and Brill, Margulis, Konar and Bosti (1984) identified the
workspace, followed by the workstation (furniture and furnishings), environmental conditions
and other workplace assisting facilities such as storage cabinets, and interior decorations as
leading aspects of the physical workplace environment that influence employees' performance
and engagement at work. Brill et al (1984) however cautioned that a poor workplace spatial
arrangement and layout hinders employees mobility, means of effective work habits, and
engagement on the job, while a poor workstation negatively impact on employee muscular-
skeletal systems. They similarly argue that inappropriate or inadequate environmental conditions
impact on employees' physical, psychological well-being and results to discomfort, fatigue and
absenteeism. Based on the evidence form extant literature, as shown in the foregoing review, of
an association between the physical work environment and employees’ work engagement, the
following hypotheses are thus derived:
H1: There is a significant positive relationship between office design and employees’ vigor.
H2: There is a significant positive relationship between office design and employees’
H3: There is a significant positive relationship between office design and employees’
H4: There is a significant positive relationship between environmental conditions and
H5: There is a significant positive relationship between environmental conditions and
H6: There is a significant positive relationship between environmental conditions and
employees’ absorption.
This paper has distilled organizational studies literature on the impact of the physical work
environment on employees’ engagement and hypothesized that there is a significant positive
relationship between the operationalized dimensions of physical work environment, viz office
design and environmental conditions, and the measures of employees’ engagement, viz vigor,
dedication and absorption. Drawing from extant literature, this paper concludes that the nature of
the physical work environment in which employees' work determines their well-being, level of
engagement, pattern of interaction, and control over their work and consequently predicts the
overall status of the organization, in terms of success or failure. In this regards, the workplace
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should be designed to be comfortable, flexible and aesthetic to support employee engagement
and well-being, while taking into account the needs and limitations of employees who occupy
the facilities, more especially, as it relates to their health, safety and reduction of human error. In
addition, a conducive physical workplace environment is necessary and important as it gives a
pleasurable experience to employees, enables them actualize their abilities, controls their
behavior and connects them physically, cognitively, emotionally to their work roles and
ultimately builds up resistance to the thought of severing ties with the organization. Hence, the
long-term cost benefits of a properly designed, user-friendly physical work environment are
central to employee engagement and beneficial to the success of an organization.
Finally, going by the conceptual framework adopted in this paper and the hypotheses ensuing
from the review of literature, the study proposes an empirical examination of the association of
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Despite several changes in the workplace, women still face unique challenges with harmful effects on their well-being. Job resources are a crucial buffer between job demands and workplace well-being. The aim of this article is to present the findings of a qualitative study on women academics’ experiences of workplace well-being in relation to job resources. An exploratory and descriptive research design was used to investigate in what ways job resources contribute to women academics’ perceptions of workplace well-being. Purposive sampling was conducted at a top-rated university in South Africa. Data were gathered through twelve semi-structured interviews. Findings revealed that women academics value a variety of job resources associated with psychological, social, physical, and organisational resources. The study also revealed the inherent job resources creating strains on women’s well-being in the workplace. It is recommended that higher education institutions focus on workplace well-being from a practice, organisational, and policy perspective. Keywords: conservation of resources, job demands-resources model, strengths perspective, South Africa, job resources, well-being, women in academia
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This paper describes and assesses lecturers’ perceptions of open-plan office in selected tertiary institutions in Botswana. A structured questionnaire was used to collect data from 222 randomly selected lecturers who were occupants of open-plan office in three different private tertiary institutions in Botswana. The results showed that lecturers have a negative perception of open-plan office. Lecturers believed that open-plan office is not suitable for their research and academic work. The findings suggest that open-plan office affects lecturers’ dignity negatively. Among other things, it is recommended that management of the institutions covered by this study and other institutions with similar challenges in Africa should consider the provision of office design that is ideal for knowledge workers such as lecturers in higher institutions in order to improve their efficiency.
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This study examined the effect of Employee Voice on Workers Commitment in the Banking Industry in Nigeria. Seven research questions and seventeen hypotheses were proposed to test the relationship between Employee Voice and Workers Commitment. The quantitative research data was gathered with the aid of a five point likert scale questionnaire distributed to 357 employees, which is the corresponding sample size for the population of 5000 employees using Krejcie and Morgan’s Sample size determination. All the variables used for the study had a Cronbach Alpha above 0.7. With the aid of Statistical Package for Social Sciences Software, the Spearman Rank Order Coefficient was used to test fifteen out of the seventeen hypotheses. Multiple Regression Analysis was used to test the remaining two hypotheses. The results of the study revealed that Joint Consultation has a significant positive effect on workers Affective Commitment; Internal Attitude Survey and Suggestion Scheme has a significant positive effect on employee’s Continuance and Normative Commitment; while Quality Circle and Team Briefing has a significant Positive effect on employee’s Affective, Continuance and Normative Commitment
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The study reported here examined Job Embeddedness theory, as introduced by Mitchell, Holtom, Lee, Sablynski, and Erez (2001), which offers a method of discovering why people stay in an organization. Extension agents in two states (N=454) reported significantly different levels of job embeddedness during the study period. Regression analyses showed that job embeddedness was significantly correlated with and predicted unique variance in intent to stay.
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Purpose – Employee engagement has become a hot topic in recent years among consulting firms and in the popular business press. However, employee engagement has rarely been studied in the academic literature and relatively little is known about its antecedents and consequences. The purpose of this study was to test a model of the antecedents and consequences of job and organization engagements based on social exchange theory. Design/methodology/approach – A survey was completed by 102 employees working in a variety of jobs and organizations. The average age was 34 and 60 percent were female. Participants had been in their current job for an average of four years, in their organization an average of five years, and had on average 12 years of work experience. The survey included measures of job and organization engagement as well as the antecedents and consequences of engagement. Findings – Results indicate that there is a meaningful difference between job and organization engagements and that perceived organizational support predicts both job and organization engagement; job characteristics predicts job engagement; and procedural justice predicts organization engagement. In addition, job and organization engagement mediated the relationships between the antecedents and job satisfaction, organizational commitment, intentions to quit, and organizational citizenship behavior. Originality/value – This is the first study to make a distinction between job and organization engagement and to measure a variety of antecedents and consequences of job and organization engagement. As a result, this study addresses concerns about that lack of academic research on employee engagement and speculation that it might just be the latest management fad.
PREFACE Over the years, concerns have been raised about the dwindling economic fortunes of several African nations including Nigerian, and the attendant decline in several work organizations in these countries. For these countries and work organizations to experience a change in fortune, it is pertinent that all stakeholders appreciate the primacy of research in the advanced economies of the world. Consequently, emphasis has to be placed on the research curriculum as well as the teaching and training of research students. Teaching Research Methods to post graduate students at the Rivers State University of Science and technology and our involvement in consultancy and large scale research at the International Centre for Management Research and Training (CIMRAT), Port Harcourt have enabled us to have a deeper appreciation of the gaps that needs to be filled to advance research in Africa. One of such gaps that informed the structure of this text is the current practice of teaching research methods without laying the philosophical foundations that underpin those methods. This creates a sort of disconnect between design and research outcomes in many studies. Another gap that was apparent from our interactions with our graduate research students was the absence of texts that contextualized the theories of social research in Africa. Thirdly, the difficulty associated with data analysis and particularly the dearth of expertise in the application of computer programme for data analysis constitutes a gap in social research in Africa. Our attempt to resolve these and other issues led to our writing this text, which will serve as a useful material to students as they try to address some of the concerns that face researchers in Africa. This text, CIMRAT Lecture Manual: Advanced Social Research Methods, addresses the philosophical underpinning of social research such as the fundamental intellectual traditions and the baseline social theories that guide social research. The text also sites practical illustrations of research studies in Nigeria as a way of contextualizing research methods within the Nigerian socio-cultural milieu. Thus an important feature that makes this text distinctive is the practical application of social research with examples and cases that our students can relate to. Significantly, the text introduces students to some of the basic Computer Assisted programmes for quantitative research (SPSS and LISREL) and Qualitative Research (Nvivo). This text is structured into eight chapters: Chapter one is Basic Elements of the Theory and Philosophy of Knowledge; Chapter two is Baseline Social Theories; Chapter three is Approaches to Social Research; Chapter four is Fundamental Elements in Social Research; Chapter five is The Social Research Process; Chapter six is Fieldwork and Data Management; Chapter seven is Data Analysis and Reporting; and Chapter eight, which is adapted from The African Industrial Man (Ahiauzu, 1999), is the Type ‘A’ Method for Social Research in Africa. The text is concise and written in clear language and can be used for teaching students and training practitioners in the art and science of research. We are profoundly grateful to all our post graduate students in the M.Sc. and Ph.D. classes for their useful queries and to our colleagues in the Faculty of Management Sciences, Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Port Harcourt for the shared experiences over the years. We appreciate the staff and scholars of CIMRAT for continuously engaging with research and the members of our families for sanctioning and coping with the demands of our career path. Augustine. I. Ahiauzu Soye P. Asawo
This study began with the premise that people can use varying degrees of their selves. physically. cognitively. and emotionally. in work role performances. which has implications for both their work and experi­ ences. Two qualitative. theory-generating studies of summer camp counselors and members of an architecture firm were conducted to explore the conditions at work in which people personally engage. or express and employ their personal selves. and disengage. or withdraw and defend their personal selves. This article describes and illustrates three psychological conditions-meaningfulness. safety. and availabil­ ity-and their individual and contextual sources. These psychological conditions are linked to existing theoretical concepts. and directions for future research are described. People occupy roles at work; they are the occupants of the houses that roles provide. These events are relatively well understood; researchers have focused on "role sending" and "receiving" (Katz & Kahn. 1978). role sets (Merton. 1957). role taking and socialization (Van Maanen. 1976), and on how people and their roles shape each other (Graen. 1976). Researchers have given less attention to how people occupy roles to varying degrees-to how fully they are psychologically present during particular moments of role performances. People can use varying degrees of their selves. physically, cognitively, and emotionally. in the roles they perform. even as they main­ tain the integrity of the boundaries between who they are and the roles they occupy. Presumably, the more people draw on their selves to perform their roles within those boundaries. the more stirring are their performances and the more content they are with the fit of the costumes they don. The research reported here was designed to generate a theoretical frame­ work within which to understand these "self-in-role" processes and to sug­ gest directions for future research. My specific concern was the moments in which people bring themselves into or remove themselves from particular task behaviors, My guiding assumption was that people are constantly bring­ ing in and leaving out various depths of their selves during the course of The guidance and support of David Berg, Richard Hackman, and Seymour Sarason in the research described here are gratefully acknowledged. I also greatly appreciated the personal engagements of this journal's two anonymous reviewers in their roles, as well as the comments on an earlier draft of Tim Hall, Kathy Kram, and Vicky Parker.
The workplace environment plays a crucial role for the employees. Nowadays employees may have a large number working alternatives, then the environment in workplace becomes a critical factor for accepting and/or keeping the jobs. The quality of environment in workplace may simply determine the level of employee's motivation, subsequent performance and productivity. How well employees get along with the organization influence the employee's error rate, level of innovation and collaboration with other employees, absenteeism and ultimately time period to stay in the job. This paper presents the analysis of working environment of a foreign private bank in Turkey and examines the relationship between the workplace physical conditions and employee's productivity.