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IACM 2023

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The Link Between Workspaces, Workers’ Territorial, and Conflict Behaviours

We empirically examine how workers’ territorial behaviours may elicit conflict behaviours in open plan offices (OPOs). We also examine co-workers’ various perceptions of the territorial individual and how these forms of perceptions may trigger conflict. Data were collected from 233 workers located in OPOs in Australian organizations. In line with predictions, concerns over reduced privacy, personal control, and identity in OPO were positively related to employees’ engagement in territorial and conflict behaviours. Additionally, we isolated four ways in which employees might perceive the territorial individual (i.e., negative perceptions, positive perceptions, perceptions of motives and perceptions of negative impact of territoriality in teams). Conflict emerged when territorial boundaries were intruded upon by other employees, and when co-workers perceived the territorial individual negatively. Also, territoriality (i.e., reactionary defences) mediated the link between OPO concerns and conflict (task, process). The implications of our results for theory and practice are discussed.

Oluremi B. ( Remi ) Ayoko
The UQ Business School, The University of Queensland

Aurelia Connelly
The University of Queensland


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