Work In The 21st Century: A Study In Organizational Adaptation To Alternative Work Arrangements

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Graduate group
alternative work arrangements
remote work
desk sharing
organizational change
information technology
Business Administration, Management, and Operations
Business Analytics
Human Resources Management
Organizational Behavior and Theory
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The concept of alternative work arrangements (AWAs) represents a growing trend within many organizations to shift once-common models of working to newer paradigms. Among many options, this includes models where employees may work from somewhere other than a primary physical office space (remote work), or no longer possess a personal desk at their office (desk sharing). Both remote work and desk sharing often require employees to adapt to a mode of “working” far different than they are accustomed to, yielding a range of conflicting opinions, pros and cons, and unique experiences along the way. The research question becomes: How do employees make sense of their organization’s shift towards alternative work arrangements? This capstone explores the transition from the perspective of a higher-education information technology organization (HEITO) in the midst of its journey in adopting and adapting to AWAs, initially presenting the historical circumstances that led to the organization’s current state. A literature review and secondary research is used to explore AWAs and several sub-topics related to the change, and a recent survey of HEITO’s employees is used to gather quantitative and qualitative data on the organization’s transition. This capstone concludes with an analysis of the research data, and thoughts pertaining to further studies on AWAs.

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Submitted to the Program of Organizational Dynamics, College of Liberal and Professional Studies in the School of Arts and Sciences in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science in Organizational Dynamics at the University of Pennsylvania Advisor: Janet Greco
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