Is perception of leadership influenced by office environment?

Christina Bodin Danielsson, Cornelia Wulff, Hugo Westerlund

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


This explorative study aims to examine the impact of office type on employees' perception of managerial leadership, a largely unexplored area. A gender perspective is applied to examine whether women and men perceive leadership differently in different office types.

Cross-sectional study is based on 5,358 office employees from the Swedish Longitudinal Occupational Study of Health in 2010. The employees worked in the seven different office types identified in contemporary office design: cell-offices, shared-room offices, small open plan offices, medium-sized open plan offices, large open plan offices, flex-offices, and combi-offices. Cell-office was used as reference in the analysis.

Poorer ratings of leadership were found in shared-room offices, and better in medium-sized open plan offices. A tendency towards a gender difference in perceived leadership was found only in small open plan offices, which appear to be better for men and worse for women.

Practical implications
The results suggest that the office environment has an influence on perceived managerial leadership. This means office design should be considered in relation to leadership style in order for an organization to be successful.

To the authors' knowledge, no other study has investigated the relationship between office environment and managerial leadership.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)194-212
JournalJournal of Corporate Real Estate
Issue number3/4
Publication statusPublished - 2013-Sept-09
Externally publishedYes

Swedish Standard Keywords

  • Psychology (501)


  • Gender differences
  • Workplace
  • Leadership
  • Employees
  • Office environment
  • Office type


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