Workplace Territorial Behaviors: A Conceptual Model of the Impact of Employees’ Territorial Behaviors on Conflict and Outcomes in Diverse Teams
31 Pages Posted: 10 Dec 2009
Date Written: June 15, 2009
Workplace territoriality, while a subject of on-going inquiry in environmental psychology, has been relatively ignored in conflict research. For example, we know that contemporary organizations spend millions redesigning workspaces, and incur more millions in damage as a result of the need to manage conflict, negative emotions, and counterproductive behaviors caused by workplace territoriality. This issue can be especially acute in an open-plan office (e.g., no physical barriers such as walls or doors to create a transparent fluid space), especially when the workforce is diverse. We address this issue in a conceptual model of the impact of office design on conflict and its effects on outcomes in diverse teams over time. Specifically, our model depicts features of the office space (e.g., layout, noise) as leading to employees’ territorial behaviors, conflict, and outcomes. We also propose that these effects can be ameliorated by specific moderators such as conflict training that is especially focused on managing territorial behaviors. Implications for theory, research and practice discussed.
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