WORKPLACE FUTURES: A Case Study of an Adaptive Scenarios Approach to Establish Strategies for Tomorrow’s Workplace
Document Type Theses, Ph.D
Successfully submitted for the award of Doctor of Philosopy (Ph.D) to the Dublin Institute of Technology, 2012.
Workplace change and innovation will become critical to the organisation’s future in a dynamic, knowledge-based economy and society. As such, anticipating and managing future change is fast becoming a vital dimension underpinning the successful transition – to new work styles, patterns and locations; yet traditional workplace planning methods are rather limited in their ability to fulfil this task. This research, therefore, examines how the potential application of Futures Studies, and more specifically the Prospective
Through Scenarios process, can address this issue in order for the workplace to be actively sustained to stay effective for the organisation in the long-term.Using a case study methodology, this research: explores the changing context and nature of the workplace from past and present perspectives and scans the potential changes of the future workplace; reflects the need to create conditions for excellence, promote innovation and manage risk at the workplace provision level; examines how the future is constructed in workplace planning; appraises the future studies field and employs a scenario planning approach in a real world context to establish strategies for tomorrow’s workplace. To achieve these objectives, a combination of research methods
are employed, namely documentary review, semi-structured in-depth interviews, horizon scanning, strategic conversations, futures workshops, illustration, and web forum discussions. The results of the case study gives rise to the development of a futures framework for
workplace planning, based on the Prospective Through Scenarios process, designed to assist property and facilities professionals in: anticipating future user demand requirements as well as what cannot be expected; understanding the complexities of the workplace environment; and, developing a mechanism for communication and collaboration between stakeholders in the workplace provision process. Ultimately, this
research enables the creation of a new transformative mindset, based on awareness, responsibility, creativity and knowledge development, in order to change how the physical environment of work adds value for organisations.