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Journal cover: Facilities


ISSN: 0263-2772

Online from: 1983

Subject Area: Built Environment

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A preliminary study of cognitive failures in open plan offices

Document Information:
Title:A preliminary study of cognitive failures in open plan offices
Author(s):Brian Purdey, (Institute of Sustainable Development and Architecture, Bond University, Gold Coast, Australia), David Leifer, (School of Architecture, Design and Planning, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia)
Citation:Brian Purdey, David Leifer, (2012) "A preliminary study of cognitive failures in open plan offices", Facilities, Vol. 30 Iss: 11/12, pp.472 - 487
Keywords:Cognitive, Evaluation, Noise, Office management, Open plan offices, Performance measurement, Workplace
Article type:Research paper
DOI:10.1108/02632771211252315 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to describe the application of a new method using instruments with increased ability to objectively assess and quantify the performance impacts on office workers in built environment settings.

Design/methodology/approach – A Distractibility Index (DI) was calculated for sample employees, who then used a computer-based instrument in two settings to evaluate cognitive impairment

Findings – There was measured cognitive impairment in higher distracting work environments. There is potential to use DI to predict performance detriments and aid better workplace design/management.

Research limitations/implications – The study employed only a small sample size. The level of noise and other distractions in the settings studied need to be measured objectively. There is a need to differentiate between various sources of distraction in terms of their impact on cognitive impairment.

Practical implications – The findings of this paper can help to improve workplace performance, with less reliance on physical design solutions.

Originality/value – Workplace performance evaluations typically use subjective measures and self-assessments. Modern work is increasingly cognitive, and hence new computer-based and more objective tools are required. The tool used in this research has been highly validated in other applications.

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