Public defence in Industrial Engineering and Management, M.Sc. (Economics) Niina Andrade-Asikainen

Title of the doctoral thesis is: "Supporting well-being in workplace transformations - Critical sociomaterial components and their evaluation in a knowledge-intensive organization"

Niina Andrade-Asikainen’s dissertation “Supporting well-being in workplace transformations – Critical Sociomaterial components and their evaluation in a knowledge-intensive organization” examines how to plan, implement, and evaluate workplace transformations in a well-being supportive way.

During the past few years, the global pandemic has forced organizations and individuals to re-think the workplace and ways of working. Often, workplace transformations are driven by expectations that reducing the amount of office space will lead to more interaction between co-workers, and it will increase productivity by knowledge sharing, while also reducing the facility costs. However, it is not clear whether companies reach these goals. Also, the employees might not share the management mindset, as was the case in Andrade-Asikainen’s research.

The dissertation contributes to workplace research by demonstrating that three key mechanisms drive and impact employee experiences and the success or failure of the entire transformation already from the preparation phase of the workplace transformation. These mechanisms are the expected value of the workplace transformation, the latent tensions of activity-based organizing and the sociomaterial support for well-being before, during and after the workplace transformation.

Andrade-Asikainen’s research shows that during the preparation stage of an opposed workplace transformation, employees considered the workplace change to have a negative value; meanwhile, management and workplace experts anticipated positive outcomes, and the differing expectations cause tensions between the parties. The study recognizes four tensions of activity-based organizing which - if they go unnoticed – augment the risk of workplace transformation failure. These are the tensions of cost efficiency vs. well-being, centralized vs. participatory decision-making, collaboration vs. solo work, and change vs. stability.

The underlying mechanisms impacting the experienced well-being support from the change receivers’ point of view have not been extensively researched within the field of workplace design. This research produces new information on the topic and shows that the ability to generate desired work outcomes, a feeling of mastering the new work environment, participation and autonomy support, and warmth of the social climate all contribute to the experiences of a work environment that is supportive of well-being.

Opponent: Adjunct Professor Suvi Nenonen, Tampere University, Finland

Custos: Professor (emer.) Matti Vartiainen, Aalto University School of Science, Department of Industrial Engineering and Management

Contact details of the doctoral candidate: [email protected]

The public defence will be organised on campus (Maarintie 8, lecture hall AS1) and in Zoom.  Link to the event

The dissertation is publicly displayed 10 days before the defence in the publication archive Aaltodoc of Aalto University

Electronic thesis

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