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The Impact of Organisational Aesthetics upon Innovation in the Public Sector: an exploration of employee perceptions of\ud changes to workplace design

By Guy Brown


This study considers the impact of two examples of the Working without Walls (WwW) design initiative in the public sector. The Working without Walls (WwW) (2003) and updated Working beyond Walls (WbW) (2008) papers describe the government’s initiatives in workspace redesign. These aim to encourage employee participation, relationship enhancement and improve communication, as well as to reflect organisational strategy and build team identities. These aims resonate with the public sector modernisation reforms aimed to create effective, responsive and accountable services.\ud \ud At the same time an increasingly common approach across sectors has been the adoption of learning organisation principles as a method of creating a culture of interactive behaviour, innovation and knowledge creation. \ud \ud Many public sector agencies are developing strategies to empower employees and create a culture of shared learning and decision making, moving away from the traditional functional and bureaucratic management styles.\ud \ud Within this emergent policy context, this thesis investigates the extent to which the WwW model has facilitated learning through workplace redesign. The study investigates literature from public sector management, organisation theory, learning organisation and workplace design disciplines in order to guide the investigation.\ud \ud Two case studies of organisations who piloted the WwW approach were investigated. The case studies highlight individuals' experience of working in these new working environments, whilst also reflecting the enablers and barriers that research participants have faced.\ud \ud Analysis demonstrates that the critical success factors for facilitating learning through workplace redesign include the removal of many features of bureaucratic organisation and implementation of detailed cultural change programmes. The study has enabled the development of a change strategy which is designed to guide other public sector organisations implementing workplace redesign initiatives as a facilitator of innovation

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