You Are in My Space, but That’s Okay: Sustaining an Innovative Culture in the Workplace

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Isolde Anderson, Hope College

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This study explores the group culture of the Global Design team of Haworth Inc. Haworth Inc is a global leader in the design and manufacturing of organic workspaces, including raised floors, movable walls, systems furniture, seating, storage and wood and case goods. Previous studies on creativity and innovation in organizations primarily focused on identification of factors affecting innovation within an organization as a whole. This study uses ethnographic methods to examine how elements within the Global Design team keep them and their products innovative. Data include observer’s participation, formal and informal interviews, meeting notes, and document analysis. Two main contributors were found to group culture development: Workspace characteristics (proximity to team members, multi-functionality, and advanced technology) and interpersonal and computer-mediated interactions. As companies strive to make profits through harsh economic times, the results of this study provide suggestions on how to sustain innovativeness as a group and through products or services.

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