Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Organizational Studies

Reader 1

Jeffrey Lewis

Reader 2

Barbara Junisbai

Rights Information

© 2019 Stephanie Lin


In this thesis, I discuss how office design such as desk layouts interacts with organizational culture. Several questions motivate my study: 1) how office layout affects human interaction and work relationships; 2) how the physical setting affects the psychological and communicative aspects of work; 3) does the layout express or define culture. Physical design is bound together with organizational culture in an extricable and reciprocal relationship. The layout of the office fosters and encourages the cultural behavior of workers within the organization by the physical proximity of employees, while the organizational culture largely dominates the design and layout of the office. This interconnection ultimately affects how employees interact and communicate with one another. I explore the relationship between design and culture in steps, by explaining the progression and formation of culture, by showing that culture legitimizes layout and design, and by exploring how the culture and design foster and support organizational members’ behaviors. Office design and purpose have evolved over time because the nature of the members tasks and responsibilities are fluid and ever-changing; thus, the demand for interaction and communication changes, as well.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.