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Embracing Eastern and Western principles: towards an intercultural office design framework

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dc.contributor.advisor Van Staden, Frederik Johannes
dc.contributor.author Thirion-Venter, Elizabeth Magdalena
dc.date.accessioned 2012-11-19T09:15:12Z
dc.date.available 2012-11-19T09:15:12Z
dc.date.issued 2012-09
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10500/8040
dc.description.abstract An employed individual will spend between a quarter and a third of his or her waking life at the workplace. An estimated 40% of those in South Africa who are employed full-time work in offices. With the amount of time spend in buildings, the physical conditions in the workplace are important determinants of satisfaction, comfort, well-being, and effectiveness and can even play a role in mental health. The physical environment in offices should therefore be carefully planned, designed, and managed. This qualitative study, sought to develop an inter-cultural office design framework for South Africa combining Eastern and Western design principles. Specifically, it sought to obtain a better insight into design principles which can enhance the well-being of office workers; inter-cultural, gender neutral and age neutral design principles which can be applied in a South African context. To be able to answer these questions an intensive literature review was undertaken investigating both the Eastern design principles as expressed in feng shui and Western design principles as expressed in Environmental Social Science. The design principles of these two traditions were compared and all aspects where the two traditions did not support each other were included in the in-depth interviews. Twenty-five in-depth interviews were conducted By relying on various design cultures (e.g. Eastern and Western) an environment can be created which are pleasing and can enhance the well-being of the users. Underlying design principles are universal, but the symbolic expression thereof can differ from culture to culture. One of the conclusions from this study is that three quarters of design principles are v universal. There is no one size fits all solution and compromise is necessary from all involved. The compromise applies to the roughly a quarter of design aspects where subgroup differences have been detected. Any design should take individual and group difference into account. The only way to do this is to get proper input from all stakeholders at all stages of the design. It is critically important that the input starts before the design process commences. There are many design principles which can be implemented to improve the quality of work life of office workers in the South African context. Design can for example play a very important role in encouraging and facilitating formal and informal interaction in the workplace – bridging the gap between heterogeneous groups. Without forcing relationships, design can assist in naturally integrating heterogeneous groups. The physical environment must support the image and identity which needs to be communicated, facilitate communication and enable task accomplishment. Most of all it must become a place with which employees can identify and where they can develop a sense of place. From this study it can be concluded that not only form follows function but also that aesthetics follow function – a principle that design should be based on the primary purpose of the building, the workspace based on the needs of the stakeholders and from this starting point aesthetics will flow. en
dc.format.extent 1 online resource (xvi, 388 leaves : ill. (some col.)
dc.language.iso en en
dc.subject Design psychology en
dc.subject Environmental psychology en
dc.subject Physical office design en
dc.subject Aesthetics en
dc.subject Well-being and wellness of office workers; en
dc.subject Feng shui en
dc.subject Improved productivity en
dc.subject Sense of place en
dc.subject Inter-cultural office design framework en
dc.subject Office design development en
dc.subject Guidelines for optimal office design en
dc.subject.ddc 155.9
dc.subject.lcsh Environmental psychology
dc.subject.lcsh Work environment
dc.title Embracing Eastern and Western principles: towards an intercultural office design framework en
dc.type Thesis en
dc.description.department Psychology en
dc.description.degree D. Litt. et Phil. (Consulting Psychology)


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