The Faces Behind the Furniture: Herman Miller Design Yard Cultural Analysis

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Isolde Anderson, Hope College

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In this study, interviews were used to analyze employees’ sense of culture at Herman Miller’s Design Yard facilities. Twelve employees were interviewed (out of 300 employees total) that work at the Design Yard, including a customer experience manager, design facilitation employee, corporate workplace strategist, corporate communications consultant, concierge work team member, work place knowledge consultant, environmental health and safety specialist, writer/editor of brand marketing and two interns. Patterns within the interview data suggest the culture of Herman Miller functions as a root metaphor. Themes of innovative design, a strong historical foundation and shared values, both written and unwritten make Herman Miller’s culture unique. Previous studies of Herman Miller have focused on the founders’ perspectives of the organization’s culture, but this analysis provides insight from employees who have worked at the company from a range of thirty years to five months. Understanding what these employees agree on and where the ambiguity resides will provide great insight for Herman Miller.

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