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      Turning the Mirror on the Architects: A Study of the Open-Plan Office and Work Behaviors at an Architectural Company

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          Following the rising cost of real estate and a desire to increase collaboration and communication among employees, the open-plan office has been trending over the past decades. Research about the impact of the open-plan office on humans is equivocal in endorsing this trend. The mixed results are further confounded following the specific job requirements, such as the need for privacy in jobs requiring a high level of concentration or, in contrast, the need for open workspace in jobs benefitting from team work and knowledge sharing. This study aims to understand the relationship between perceptions of three characteristics of the open-plan office (acoustical privacy, visual privacy, and office density), and the impact they yield on employees' judgment as well as affect-driven behaviors. The study benefits from the data from 456 employees located in 20 regional office locations within the same architectural firm. The restriction to employees of a design firm enables examinations of participants, who are already sensitive to the impacts of space by the nature of their work. The variables of interest included employee perception of the workspace (privacy, office density, and fit into workspace), employee rating of social relationships, self-reported mood (irritability) and optimal functioning (number of limited ability days), and work impacts (job satisfaction, work engagement, and job performance). The Model of behavior in an open-plan office setting based on affective events theory is adopted. Mediation roles of irritability and perception of fit into the workspace are examined. Structural equation modeling is applied to test the joint significance of the association between independent and dependent variables (direct effect) and the association between independent variables, mediator, and dependent variables (indirect effect). Nested structure of the data is accounted for by adjusting the standard errors for clustering. The significance of indirect and total effects is evaluated by the bootstrapping method. Our results show that working in the open-plan office limits the experience of privacy and intensifies the perception of intrusion among employees of an architectural company, mostly architects and designers. Additionally, employees' perception of lack of privacy and high office density negatively affect job satisfaction, work engagement, and internal work relation as well as increases the number of limited ability days. Interestingly, the lack of privacy and high office density seem to positively affect expressive personal relations among coworkers and job performance. We find supporting evidence for mediation roles of negative emotions, that is, irritability and perception of fit into the workspace.

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          Most cited references 40

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          Reporting practices in confirmatory factor analysis: an overview and some recommendations.

          Reporting practices in 194 confirmatory factor analysis studies (1,409 factor models) published in American Psychological Association journals from 1998 to 2006 were reviewed and compared with established reporting guidelines. Three research questions were addressed: (a) how do actual reporting practices compare with published guidelines? (b) how do researchers report model fit in light of divergent perspectives on the use of ancillary fit indices (e.g., L.-T. Hu & P. M. Bentler, 1999; H. W. Marsh, K.-T., Hau, & Z. Wen, 2004)? and (c) are fit measures that support hypothesized models reported more often than fit measures that are less favorable? Results indicate some positive findings with respect to reporting practices including proposing multiple models a priori and near universal reporting of the chi-square significance test. However, many deficiencies were found such as lack of information regarding missing data and assessment of normality. Additionally, the authors found increases in reported values of some incremental fit statistics and no statistically significant evidence that researchers selectively report measures of fit that support their preferred model. Recommendations for reporting are summarized and a checklist is provided to help editors, reviewers, and authors improve reporting practices.
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            Alternative ways of assessing model fit

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              Privacy at Work: Architectural Correlates of Job Satisfaction and Job Performance.


                Author and article information

                Front Psychol
                Front Psychol
                Front. Psychol.
                Frontiers in Psychology
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                20 November 2018
                : 9
                1Sustainability and Health Initiative (SHINE), Department of Environmental Health, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard University , Boston, MA, United States
                2Department of Environmental Health, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard University , Boston, MA, United States
                Author notes

                Edited by: Badri Bajaj, Jaypee Institute of Information Technology, India

                Reviewed by: Assaad El Akremi, Toulouse 1 University Capitole, France; Valtteri Hongisto, Turku University of Applied Sciences, Finland

                *Correspondence: Dorota Węziak-Białowolska doweziak@

                This article was submitted to Organizational Psychology, a section of the journal Frontiers in Psychology

                Copyright © 2018 Węziak-Białowolska, Dong and McNeely.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                Page count
                Figures: 1, Tables: 4, Equations: 0, References: 50, Pages: 13, Words: 9938
                Original Research


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