Change in relation to Innovative Ways of Working & Employee Experience
Abstract: Organizational change is a heavily debated area that can become a challenge for any organization. How well the change is received by the employees is one important factor that will determine the success of the implementation. In orderto account for the employee perspective of a change implementation,this study focuses on how the intentions of animplementation of Activity Based Working (ABW) at AstraZeneca Mölndal have been experienced by a group of employees in an early phase of the implementation. The intentions were in part practical in terms of cutting costs byfitting more persons in less space, but also to create an office environment that supports flexibility, collaboration and creativity with the aim to foster innovation capabilities in ways of working. At the start of this study, the employeesparticipating in this study had been working Activity Based for 2–5 months.This is a qualitative study where a processual perspective on change has been taken in order to create a more holistic viewof the progression. The processual perspective suggests that the context of where the change has taken place should be accounted for, as well as the decision and implementationprocess as they impact the experience of the employees, and thus the development of the change itself. Accordingly, thestudy commence with an indicative investigation of the corporate culture at AstraZeneca Mölndal, followed by the decision and implementation process explained by members ofthe managing project group of Activity Based Working. To understand the employee experience, 32 employees working Activity Based at the site participated in discussions andinterviews on their experience and perceptions of the new office environment. The design approach of contextualizing and sense-making was later applied. The study showed that the practical intent of fitting morepersons in less space was experienced as well functioning.The experience of flexibility as defined by the concept of ABW was not strengthened by this study, but argues for that some flexibility has been achieved through being ableto choose seat based on personal preferences. This study provides support for that the environment is experienced ascreating more visibility and flow, which has had an impact on more casual interactions that might promote more collaborationover time. The study showed that the concept is currently not experienced as promoting creativity. Key factors for what impacts actions and perceptions in the environmentwere identified as relatedness, association, relevance, personal space, clarity, social identity and place identity.
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