The impact of facilities on informal communication in workplaces

Rights statement
Awarding institution
  • University of Strathclyde
Date of award
  • 1997
Thesis identifier
  • T9114
Qualification Level
Qualification Name
Department, School or Faculty
  • Informal communication issues are much more significant to the success and effectiveness of an industrial organisation and worker’s well-being than previously. This study focuses on levels of informal communication in light industrial workplaces in the Middle East, and identifies the elements that affect it, one of which is the physical design features. In the concept of the total workplace, different elements contribute to enhance levels of informal communication such as the social and administrative setting, in addition to support services through elements of the physical environment including soft services, such as, vending machines. The interest of this study deals with the provision of physical design features which are geared towards creating greater opportunities for informal communication in work places. Therefore, this research hypothesised that the provision of desired physical design features would enhance the level of informal communication in the work place. In this study, theories of organisation have been tabulated and related to theories of communication to investigate the role of the physical environment in workplaces. Moreover, an adaptation was made of Campbell & Campbell’s (1988) model of informal communication and a replication of their study which they conducted in an educational setting was made in a light industrial settings in Saudi Arabia, this being the main focus of the study. In order to carry out the replication process a similar methodological process was implemented in this study by using a combination of methods and techniques including a field studies (direct observation), field experiment, and survey (interviews & questionnaires) techniques in testing the study sample. The findings of the study indicate that the level of informal communication correlates positively with the provisions of physical design features which is in agreement with Campbell & Campbell’s (1988) study findings in a Western educational setting. Therefore, duplicate studies need to be conducted in office and light industrial workplaces in a Middle Eastern as well as Western and Far Eastern setting, so that a generalisation of findings can be accomplished. Furthermore, the study findings suggest the need for further empirical research study in other aspects of the total work place concept, including the relationship of physical design features to the social setting and administrative setting. The quality of space in terms of its environmental, aesthetic values and the pattern of space design in which these physical elements are laid out should also be considered in relation to each other and the users of the space.
Advisor / supervisor
  • Alexander, Keith, 1949-
Resource Type