An office fitout contributes to an organisation’s culture because it determines how people physically interact. It sets the boundaries between staff working in cubicles, dictates status/hierarchy through the opulence of executive offices and controls privacy through the use of glass or opaque partitions.
It follows that question about whether an organisation should have cubicles, private offices or open-plan hubs. These are not just aesthetic matters, they affect how efficiently the organisation works.
Let’s look at organisational cultures, and how an office fitout can be tailored to suit each type.
Four types of organisational culture
An influential approach to organisational culture is the Competing Values Approach to Organisational Effectiveness framework, which divides culture into four types:
Keep in mind that complex organisations can also have all four types sharing the same office.
The collaborative approach
Consider a charity organisation or a not-for-profit group. Rather than competition, the emphasis is on collaboration to achieve long-term goals. There may also be a degree of creativity involved, such as when promoting a worthy cause.
An open plan office dominated by an informal meeting table that invites discussion and accommodates varying numbers of people suits this culture type. Welcoming spaces with cheerful colours and a laid-back, homey decor reflect the culture.
An office fitout for the creative organisation
The creative culture type is about people coming together ad hoc to collaborate on a short-term goal, but there’s competition and a drive for innovation that a purely collaborative culture lacks.
Once the short-term goal is met – filming a TV commercial, designing a better toaster – members disband into other creative pods.
This culture is playfully synonymous with office bean bags and ping pong tables. The best office fitout cleverly installs collaborative nooks inside a large space like a warehouse. Privacy is available, but not regimented by design.
The controlled organisational culture
Hierarchy, incremental change and compliance are the hallmarks of controlled organisational culture. Within these organisations, risk assessment and compliance with regulations inform every move. A superannuation fund investing billions of dollars on behalf of members is a good example.
Meetings are held behind closed doors and each person needs a private space. When collective decisions are necessary, large meeting rooms emphasise security and privacy with soundproof walls and lockable doors.
Fitouts to match a competitive culture
Focused on individual targets, competitive culture is found in sales departments everywhere. There’s also an element of the hierarchical, controlled culture – you get a bigger office if you make bigger sales.
Status matters, so the fitout needs to provide the senior manager with a big office and high-quality finishes. A handful of middle management offices then surround a cubicle farm for junior sales staff that drives the competitive pecking order.
To find out how to match your office fitout to your organisational culture, contact Formula Interiors. Based on your culture, we can help provide a fitout that keeps your staff motivated and your organisation on track!