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Space: managing organizational dynamics

2003,

PhD in management sciences, Doctoral dissertation at the Centre de Recherche en Gestion, Ecole Polytechnique, Paris, 2003.
Cote : eae401.

| Academic work

It is often difficult to inscribe space management in the decision-making process of firms: overlaps in organizational and spatial issues obscure the basic questions at stake in their articulations, and knowledge brought to bear in the planning stage proves to be partial, notably in the face of change. But malfunctioning and the efforts of occupants to adapt to a workplace have their cost, which executives rarely take into account.

Working from a question: "How can we analyse the contribution of space management in the pursuit of objectives of organization?", and from the field: a department undergoing change in a firm, our research attempted to address this difficulty. The observation of work-place design intended to respond to a managerial project, of the subsequent uses and changes in managerial orientations, and of the new interpretations that follow show the evolution of relations between organization and space, the changes and breaks as well as the uninterrupted elaboration of representations. Informed by the cognitive approach of organized bodies, the concepts used to analyse the field study enable us to apprehend the reciprocal nature of exchanges between resources and the elaboration of compromises between the various objectives pursued and the means made available in the course of a collective action. Space thus appears as a resource that can make a very positive contribution to the construction and negotiation of meaning in collective action. It is in this spirit that we propose the concept of figuration whereby space carries, by way of representation, a sum of knowledge that is directly or indirectly linked to the appropriateness between the action addressed and the physical facilities. The management of spatial resources, apart from adjusting physical facilities and organization according to the objectives pursued, thus includes negotiation with the "real" in the course of action. We may thus envisage the question of space on one hand as a continuity moving to and fro between the objectivization of representations and their inscription in form, and on the other hand as a figuration, which consists in situating action.

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