Närhet och distans : studier av kommunikationsmönster i satellitkontor och flexibla kontor
Sammanfattning: Today two major directions can be seen in organisation and work forms as far as distance and proximity are concerned. One trend involves geographic distribution of the companys operations, where information technology is the facilitator of maintaining contacts. The other trend involves achieving proximity between individuals who are expected to communicate with each other to perform their work effectively. Examples of this kind of organising can be seen in the form of team and design of environments which are to support cooperation. The overall theme in the thesis is communication patterns in new organisational forms. It consists of two studies with separate results.The first study takes up satellite offices which are an organisational form with a geographic distribution of operations within a section. The study resulted in a licentiate thesis (Moberg, 1993). The aim was to identify similarities and differences in communication patterns between the satellite office and the corresponding operations at the main office. Data was gathered using a communication diary and interviews. Three companies were discussed in the study, all with customer service as a function and distributed at different geographical locations while belonging to the same section. Communication between people at the main office and at the satellite office was performed mainly through the use of information technology. The study showed no great differences in communication patterns between main office and satellite offices. There was frequent exchange of information between the units, but also within the respective groups. Telework in this form seems to suit the type of operations that was studied, i.e. relatively simple work duties where much of the information exists in electronic form and where a large part of the work tasks consist of telephone contact with customers.The other study deals with flexible offices, i.e. open space approaches where several employees share office space. The concept is intimately connected with information technology and flexible work for the individuals. The aim of the study was to create an understanding of the affect of the flexible office on communication and cooperation and also of how individuals experience their working environment. A large part of the data gathering was in the form of questionnaire studies before and after the introduction of the new form of office. The effects of introducing the flexible office was perceived both positively and negatively. The open space approach both facilitates and impairs communication and a number of paradoxical effects were identified as regards communication and work performance. The effects on the work of groups were for the most part positive, while the effects for the individual were both positive and negative. The flexible office seems to be a suitable concept for a teamoriented way of working, when work tasks are relatively complex and include a large proportion of contact with colleagues. However, the work should not demand too much concentration.
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