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First Impressions of Office Reception Spaces: Communicating Symbolic Meanings through Design Elements and Furnishing Arr...


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FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF OFFICE RECEPTION SPACES: COMMUNICATING SYMBOLIC MEANINGS THROUGH DESI GN ELEMENTS AND FURNISHING ARRANGEMENTS By JAHAE PARK A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF INTERIOR DESIGN UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2005

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Copyright 2005 by Jahae Park

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would first like to thank my supervisory committee chair (Dr. M. Joyce Hasell) for her continued support and guidance throughout my study. I would also like to thank my other committee member (Dr. Margaret Portillo) for her support and invaluable knowledge base. Special thanks go to Visual Reference Publications, Retail Reporting Corporation, and The Switzer Group for granting permissions to use office reception area photographs from books published by their respective companies. These photographs were instrumental in my study. Moreover, I would like to thank Dr. Debra Harris, Marlo Ransdell, and Yun Zhu for participating in the process of selecting the final 8 photographs used in my study. Furthermore, I would also like to thank Dr. Scanzoni and the ETD workshop instructors for permission to use their classes in my study. The helpful suggestions and assistance of Dr. Trevor Park in the area of data analysis are also appreciated. Finally, I would like to thank my family and close friends for their continuous support and encouragement. iii

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TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS.................................................................................................iii LIST OF TABLES.............................................................................................................vi LIST OF FIGURES..........................................................................................................vii ABSTRACT.....................................................................................................................viii CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION........................................................................................................1 Purpose.........................................................................................................................2 Research Hypotheses....................................................................................................3 Assumptions.................................................................................................................5 Significance..................................................................................................................5 Delimitations.................................................................................................................7 2 IMPRESSION MANAGEMENT THROUGH WORKPLACE DESIGN...................9 Theoretical Background..............................................................................................10 Specific Design Elements That Influence Perception................................................11 Perception of Control Conveyed by Office Design....................................................12 Perception of Consideration Conveyed by Office Design..........................................14 Importance of Understanding Users Perceptions......................................................17 Conclusion..................................................................................................................18 3 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY...............................................................................20 Environmental Sampling............................................................................................21 Stage 1.................................................................................................................21 Stage 2.................................................................................................................22 Stage 3.................................................................................................................25 Stage 4.................................................................................................................27 Pilot Study..................................................................................................................39 Participant Sampling...................................................................................................39 Procedure....................................................................................................................40 Limitations..................................................................................................................42 iv

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4 FINDINGS..................................................................................................................44 Two Dimensions of Meaning Underlie Students Impressions: Consideration and Control....................................................................................................................44 Students Would Form Different Impressions of Consideration and Control Across the 8 Companies Represented.................................................................................49 Students Impressions of Consideration, Control, and Liking to Work for the Companies...............................................................................................................52 Conclusion..................................................................................................................53 5 DISCUSSIONS AND CONCLUSIONS....................................................................54 Two Dimensions of Meaning Underlie Students Impressions: Consideration and Control....................................................................................................................56 Students Would Form Different Impressions of Consideration and Control Across the 8 Companies Represented.................................................................................57 Consideration.......................................................................................................58 Control.................................................................................................................62 Relative Strength of Consideration as Opposed to Control.................................66 Students Impressions of Consideration, Control, and Liking to Work for the Companies...............................................................................................................68 Suggestions for Further Research...............................................................................69 Suggestions for Architects, Designers, Corporate Planners, and Corporate Managers.................................................................................................................71 Conclusion..................................................................................................................72 APPENDIX A THE 23 SEMANTIC DIFFERENTIAL SCALES FOR JUDGING THE PHOTOGRAPHS.......................................................................................................73 B STUDENT QUESTIONAIRE....................................................................................75 LIST OF REFERENCES...................................................................................................85 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.............................................................................................89 v

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LIST OF TABLES Table page 3-1 List of the dimensions that were controlled and the variables that were systematically manipulated (independent variables)................................................23 3-2 The 23 semantic differential scales developed in stage 2 for selecting the study photographs..............................................................................................................24 3-3 The 23 semantic differential scales under 9 different categories.............................26 4-1 Factor loadings for consideration.............................................................................47 4-2 Factor loadings for control.......................................................................................48 4-3 Mean scores for factor 1 (consideration) and factor 2 (control)...............................50 5-1 Most considerate (slides 4 and 2).............................................................................59 5-2 Moderate in consideration (slides 8, 6, and 7).........................................................59 5-3 Least considerate (slides 3, 5, and 1).......................................................................61 5-4 Most controlling (slides 5, 1, 3, and 7).....................................................................64 5-5 Moderate in control (slide 8)....................................................................................64 5-6 Least controlling (slides 2, 6, and 4)........................................................................65 vi

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LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 3-1 Reception area slide 1..............................................................................................31 3-2 Reception area slide 2..............................................................................................32 3-3 Reception area slide 3..............................................................................................33 3-4 Reception area slide 4..............................................................................................34 3-5 Reception area slide 5..............................................................................................35 3-6 Reception area slide 6..............................................................................................36 3-7 Reception area slide 7..............................................................................................37 3-8 Reception area slide 8..............................................................................................38 4-1 Hierarchical cluster analysis.....................................................................................45 5-1 Chart for consideration.............................................................................................62 5-2 Chart for control.......................................................................................................66 vii

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Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Interior Design FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF OFFICE RECEPTION SPACES: COMMUNICATING SYMBOLIC MEANINGS THROUGH DESIGN ELEMENTS AND FURNISHING ARRANGEMENTS By Jahae Park May 2005 Chair: M. Joyce Hasell Major Department: Interior Design My study examined specific influences that design elements and arrangement of furnishings within office reception areas might have on first impressions held by visitors. My study was conducted to contribute to the growing literature on the importance of office design (especially of reception areas) on individuals impressions of organizations. Based on Ornsteins study and suggestions made by the ecological perceptions and information-processing approaches, the following hypotheses were developed and tested: (1) consideration and control will underlie participants impressions of companies as a result of viewing slides of reception area designs, (2) participants will have different impressions of the office spaces represented based on the design elements and arrangements of furnishings, and (3) participants will show a preference for working in firms that appear more considerate than controlling. My general study approach involved briefly showing the participants slides of 8 different office reception areas. Reception area photographs were obtained from viii

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commercial designers and published books. Three judges with expertise in design were instrumental in systematically assessing and selecting the appropriate photographs for the study. Study participants included 102 graduate students. Participants were shown 8 different office reception area slides and were asked to indicate their first impressions of these companies by completing 12 semantic differential scales for each slide. Additionally, the students were asked to indicate (on a 9-point scale) how much they would like to work for the company represented in the photograph. Hierarchical cluster and factor analysis revealed that the students distinguished 2 dimensions of meaning (consideration and control) connoted by the slides of the office reception areas. According to the ANOVAs and post hoc analyses, students formed different impressions of consideration and control across the 8 companies represented. Moreover, it was found that the students clearly preferred to work for the firms they found considerate based on their first visual impression. Further research is required to examine the influence of design elements and arrangement of furnishings in office reception areas on individuals impressions of companies. My study empirically validates the notion that the design of an office reception areaincluding elements such as form, architectural finish materials, and furniture arrangementscommunicates meanings about companies and influence firsttime visitors impressions. ix

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CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION My study examined the influences that the design of individual office reception areas may have on impressions held by first-time visitors. Eight carefully selected slides of interior spaces with a variety of design elements and arrangements of furnishings were assessed in terms of how they communicated meanings to respondents. Meaning defined here is nonverbal communication from the environment to people (Rapoport, 1990, p. 178). Thus far, very little attention has been dedicated to examining the meanings communicated by office design, especially reception areas (Goodrich, 1986; Ornstein, 1992). Meanings conveyed by office environments, particularly, reception areas where visitors first come into contact with most companies, may be an important determinant of their initial impressions of a company (Ornstein, 1989b, 1992). Corporate image is defined as the way organization members believe others see their organization (Hatch & Schultz, 1997, p. 358). Yee & Gustafson (1983) believe that the companys image is born at the entrance and reception area. According to Gifford (1997), most companies are aware that the impression of an organization depends, in part, on visitor impressions of reception areas. Additionally, Ornstein (1989a, p.145) found that objects commonly found in reception areas influence impressions. Thus, most designers intentionally attempt to create specific impressions through their design, particularly in reception areas (Gifford, 2002). However, designers, because they lack research to guide their actions, may not clearly understand the meanings that individual design elements or arrangements may convey to the public. 1

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2 To understand individuals impressions of the slides of office reception areas, a convenience sample of 102 graduate students in a University classroom setting was identified. The methodology of using slides of office reception areas is consistent with other studies in which the connotative meanings and individuals impressions were examined (Ornstein, 1992). Specifically, Ornstein studied how the arrangement of furniture, presence of artwork, plants, floral arrangements, and magazines connote meanings that college students and business executives used in forming impressions about companies (Ornstein, 1992). However, her research did not clearly examine how the three-dimensional shape of the space on its form, lighting quality, color contrasts, and architectural finish materials convey meanings and influence peoples impressions of organizations. To help designers understand and predict which meanings are conveyed by particular design elements in reception areas, my study had a twofold intention: a) to include companies that are representative of high-end corporate interiors; and b) to expand the number of design elements included in a series of slides evaluated by research participants. Purpose My study examined specific influences that selected design elements and furniture arrangements within reception areas may have on first impressions held by outsiders. My study focused on the following variables: forms (organic vs. orthogonal); lighting quality (bright, moderate, and dim); colors (high, moderate, and low contrasts); finish materials of floors and walls (soft vs. hard); presence of artwork/plants/flowers; and arrangement of furnishings (informal seating arrangements that facilitate interaction vs. formal ones that do not). These variables were selected based on their relevance to various design elements and principles recommended by different scholars (Ching, 1996; Malnar &

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3 Vadvarka, 1992; Pile, 1988). Hence, my study (1) evaluated dimensions of meaning underlying general impressions of companies based on the viewing of slides of office reception areas, and (2) determined whether these dimensions are a salient enough basis for people to use to differentiate among companies. Research Hypotheses Two of studys hypotheses are derived from Ornsteins (1992) findings. Her study used slides of office reception areas and found that two dimensions of meaning (consideration and control) are connoted by various types of physical symbols (e.g., artwork, plants, and flowers) and furniture arrangements. According to Gifford (2002, p. 363), consideration is defined as warmth, comfort, ease, and goodness of communication. On the other hand, control can be defined as order, stability, and rigidity (Gifford, 2002, p. 362). Furthermore, Ornstein (1992) found that there was a relationship between a persons impressions of consideration and their liking to work for that firm. Specifically, the participants preferred to work for the firms they perceive as considerate (Ornstein, 1992). Another hypothesis was derived from the suggestions made by the ecological perceptions (Gibson, 1979) and information-processing (Schnieder & Schriffrin, 1977) approaches. Specifically, my study tested two contrasting theoretical perspectives. According to the ecological perceptions approach: The placement of objects in the environment physically allows for or affords only certain types of behaviors. For example, a large reception desk placed very near the front of a reception area physically blocks passage to the rest of the room thus allowing only limited freedom of movement and access. Based on these allowances or affordances, it is suggested that people form impressions. In this case, the restricted movement and access may translate into impressions of an organization where there is a lot of control and minimal autonomy (Ornstein, 1989b, p. 416).

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4 This theory suggests that the symbols themselves afford people useful information that should remain constant regardless of the context (Ornstein, 1986, p. 225). On the other hand, the information-processing approach by Schnieder & Schriffrin (1977) proposes that people process information about the environment and form cognitive schema consistent with their prior experiences (Ornstein, 1992, p. 88). This theory suggests that the various elements of office design are imbued with meanings and images as a result of individuals repeated contact with these objects in varied contexts (Ornstein, 1989b, p. 416). For example, Duffy (1969) believes that wood office furniture suggests higher status than metal furniture. As people come to associate wood furniture with high ranking executives, the wood office furniture comes to connote higher status. Likewise, the informational-processing approach proposes that symbols should take on different meanings under different circumstances (Ornstein, 1986, p. 225). Ornsteins seminal work established that design elements in the reception areas convey meaning. Exactly how design elements communicate with a visitor is not well understood, but the literature reviewed here pertaining to the ecological perceptions and information-processing approaches has indicated how visitors may derive meaning from design elements. Thus, my study re-tested Ornsteins (1992, p. 88) 2 hypotheses, with a new and different set of slides and different research participants. My third hypothesis was based on Ornsteins (1992) overall findings. Specifically, hypothesis 1 posits that consideration and control will underlie participants impressions of companies as a result of viewing slides of reception area designs. Using suggestions made by the ecological perceptions and information-processing approaches, hypothesis 2 asserts that participants will have different impressions of the office spaces represented based on the design

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5 elements and arrangements of furnishings. Finally, based on Ornsteins (1992) overall findings, hypothesis 3 is that participants will show a preference for working in firms that appear more considerate than controlling. Assumptions Several assumptions underlie my study. First, it is assumed that many designers attempt to convey a companys image through office design, especially in reception areas. This assumption is based on the literature that suggested reception areas are often designed specifically to create certain impressions (Steele, 1973; Ornstein, 1992). Second, it is assumed that all of the reception area photographs used in my study, which were obtained from recently published books showcasing contemporary interior design, represented high-end corporate interiors. In order to test this assumption, a panel of experts systematically reviewed the photographs and confirmed that all of the photographs were comparable. Finally, it was assumed that the graduate students who were the research participants in my study have enough life experiences to register meaningful evaluations of the spaces under review. Significance Office design can communicate important impressions that may influence the recruitment of managerial and secretarial staff (Klein & Ritti, 1980). Similarly, the office environment may be very influential in communicating the firms image and purpose to its customers particularly within service organizations (Bitner, 1992, p. 57). Furthermore, Bitner (1992, p. 61) assumed that customers come to a particular service organization with a goal or purpose that may be aided or hindered by the setting. As a result, the study of the influence of the office design, especially public spaces such as

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6 reception areas on impression formation seems vital to a more complete understanding of both how and what people learn about organizations (Ornstein, 1992, p. 86). Few studies in the literature have provided evidence as to what impressions may be conveyed when the designers attempt to use specific elements of office design as a means of impression management (Ornstein, 1989b. p. 411). Furthermore, Ornstein (1989b, p. 417) asserted that the processes through which various facets of office design come to convey messages and influence impressions have received little attention in the office design literature to date. Even though Ornsteins suggestion occurred more than 15 years ago, there remain relatively, a small number of studies that have examined how people assign meanings to environmental design elements and how the relative weight of each design element impacts on individuals impressions of an organization. Although there are repeated claims about the meanings that certain finish materials such as wood vs. stone flooring connote (Bitner, 1992; Davis, 1984; Jarmel, 2003), there are hardly any empirical studies (Danko, 2000; Ridoutt, Ball, & Killerby, 2002) to identify what these meanings are and if there are any patterns. Furthermore, there are many claims that colors communicate meanings and influence impressions of companies (Jarmel, 2003; Duffy, 1990), but few provide empirical evidence (Ornstein, 1989b) to support their claims. Very few studies (Hendrick, Martyniuk, Spencer, & Flynn, 1977) specifically focused on impressions resulting from differences in lighting quality and brightness (Ornstein, 1989b). Additionally, not much is understood about symbolic meanings communicated by architectural forms and layout of furnishings and how it influences overall first impressions of a corporate setting.

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7 My study aims to contribute to the empirical foundation which designers may use to make decisions about the impressions conveyed by design elements and arrangements of furnishings. Hence, the results of my study will offer insights into the meanings underlying certain furniture arrangements and design elements in reception areas. According to Moleski & Lang (1986, p. 14), the selection of design features must be consistent with the culture of the company and should be appropriate to the messages it wants to convey. Hence, this research will also help business managers and corporate planners to select design elements that are consistent with the culture of their company and identify the appropriate messages that an organization wants to convey in the minds of clients, visitors, and the potential recruits to the company. According to Ornstein (1989b, p. 422), this kind of information may be useful for managers who want to create certain impressions in the minds of employees, clients, and other outsiders. Delimitations Each of the 8 photograph used in my study was selected from published books showcasing contemporary corporate interior design. The companies that were represented in the photographs were located within the United States, such as California, Colorado, Texas, and New York. One of the companies was located in Seoul, Korea. All of the companies had 25 or more employees. Therefore, the sizes of the firms were medium to large companies. My study excluded architecture/interior design/landscape architecture students as research participants, since designers tend to perceive the environment differently than non-designers. For example, according to Gifford (2002), architects and designers view their designs differently from those who will occupy the designs. Since one of the major

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8 goals of my study was to help designers understand users (non-designers) impressions, non-design students were specifically included.

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CHAPTER 2 IMPRESSION MANAGEMENT THROUGH WORKPLACE DESIGN Corporations and other major organizations take great care in decisions about all facets of their organization. Obviously this applies to the products and services offered, but the corporate symbols (ranging from letterhead, logos, to architecture) which represent the organizations are also scrutinized intensely. Consequently, the design of an organizations offices is potentially an important component of the organizations overall image. The purpose of my study was to examine how particular design elements and furniture arrangements within office reception areas influence the first-time visitors perceptions of an organization. According to Gifford (2002, p. 21), environmental perception is the initial gathering of information. Environmental perception includes the ways and means by which we collect information through all our senses (Gifford, 2002, p. 21). There is a growing literature on the influence of office design on the impressions of occupants and visitors to offices. Steele (1973, 1986) and Steele & Jenks (1977) have repeatedly indicated that the design of an organizations offices is important in influencing peoples impressions of the organization. Likewise, Ornstein (1989a, p. 145) claimed that office design not only influences attitudes and behaviors, it also influences impressions through the conveyance of symbolic messages; that is, different elements of office design connote messages and images that people then use in forming impressions about the company. Becker (2004, p. 4) also believes that the physical cues of the office send environmental messages. Becker & Steele (1995) and Ornstein (1986, 9

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10 1989b, 1992) have also argued that people form first impressions of organizations based on the design of the reception areas. The following chapter presents a review of the literature regarding: (1) two theoretical perspectives that explain how visitors may derive meaning from design elements; (2) specific design elements that influence perception; (3) perception of control conveyed by office design; (4) perception of consideration conveyed by office design; (5) an importance of understanding users perceptions; and (6) conclusion. Theoretical Background Before discussing specific messages that were found to be communicated by various facets of office design, 2 theoretical perspectives must be reviewed. According to Ornstein (1992), the conceptual suggestions and empirical findings that placement of furnishings influences impressions suggest that this dimension serves a symbolic function by connoting meanings and images about organizations (p. 87). She further distinguished between two contrasting theories which predict how placement of furnishings is translated into meaningful information. One view is offered by the ecological perceptions approach identified by Gibson (1979). Ornstein (1989b) claimed that this theory provides one explanation for the manner in which the physical setting can come to have meaning for people (p. 416). Specifically, Gibson (1979) indicated that elements of the physical environment afford opportunities for certain types of behaviors. Based on these affordances, it is suggested that people form impressions of the importance, desirability, and acceptability of the behavior (Ornstein, 1992, p. 87). According to this theory, certain arrangements of cues give the perceivers direct, immediate perceptions of the environment (Gifford, 2002, p. 29). For instance, informal seating arrangements, such as chairs placed at a right angle facilitate social interaction,

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11 where as formal seating arrangements, such as chairs placed back-to-back discourage social interaction (Gifford, 2002; Ornstein, 1992). Thus, the arrangement of chairs may imply something to the perceiver about the importance of communication in this setting (Ornstein, 1992, p. 87). This theory may best explain how the physical arrangement of the office comes to take on meanings that are used in forming impressions (Ornstein, 1989b, p. 416). The other way in which layout of furnishings may come to act as a symbol is suggested by the information-processing approach to perception (Ornstein, 1992, p. 88). Ornstein (1989b, p. 416) indicated that this theory helps explain how elements of the office come to acquire meanings. The information-processing approach identified by Schneider & Schiffrin (1977), proposes that people process information about the environment and form cognitive schema consistent with their prior experiences (Ornstein, 1992, p. 88). Schema is defined as active organization of past reactions or past experiences, which must always supposed to the operating in any well adapted, organic response (Retrieved from http://blue.csbs.albany.edu:8000/730/week5.html). This also helps explain how style of furnishings and other physical symbols may come to serve a symbolic function. In these cases the objects themselves are imbued with meanings and images as a result of individuals repeated contact with these objects in varied contexts (Ornstein, 1992, p. 88). Specific Design Elements That Influence Perception Given that perceptions of an organization are communicated by design elements, the literature has also addressed specific design features which influence perception. For example, Duffy (1990) intuitively assumed that colors and materials are essential elements in corporate image projection, both to visitors and employees. Similarly, Yee &

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12 Gustafson (1983) believed that materials can make a significant difference in establishing corporate image. Furthermore, they indicated that softness of the materials lets visitors know whether this is a formal, strictly business office or a more informal, comfortable type of place (Yee & Gustafson, 1983, p. 163). Moreover, Bitner (1992, p. 66) believed that quality of materials used, artwork, and floor coverings in the environment can all communicate symbolic meaning and create an overall aesthetic impression. In an unpublished study (cited by Ornstein, 1989b), Ornstein used slides of office reception areas to examine business executives impressions of organizations. Essentially, she found that style of furnishings and color schemes contributed to executives impressions of organizations (Ornstein, 1989b). Davis (1984) believed that the physical environment within an organization is composed of physical structure and symbolic artifacts. Davis defined physical structure as the architectural design and placement of furnishings in a building that influence or regulate social interaction (Davis, 1984, p. 272). On the other hand, symbolic artifacts are aspects of the physical setting that individually or collectively guide the interpretation of the social setting (Davis, 1984, p. 276). For example, symbolic artifacts include type and style of furnishings, type of flooring materials, and the color of the walls. Davis argued that these items (physical structure and symbolic artifacts) all tend to communicate information about the organization and the people who work there (Davis, 1984, p. 277). Perception of Control Conveyed by Office Design In the design of offices, many companies attempt to convey a specific corporate image. Various scholars (Jarmel, 2003; Gifford, 1997, 2002; Ornstein, 1989a, 1989b) and researchers (Ornstein, 1986, 1992) suggested that the method by which positive

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13 impressions are created vary in two important ways. One view is that in order to create a positive impression, conveying a message of control (order, stability, and rigidity) is important (Gifford, 1997, 2002). Similarly, Jarmel (2003) claimed that in law offices, they use their office space to convey an image of power and control. Thus, the space can become a critical influence in gaining leverage in negotiations (Jarmel, 2003, p. 20). Messages can convey control by the display of corporate flags, official seals, logos, and emblems (Gifford, 1997, 2002). Giffords claim is supported by various empirical studies. For example, Ornstein (1986) showed various reception area drawings to the university students and found that certain office props (e.g., flags, pictures of organizational leaders, and logos) influenced impressions of the organization. Specifically, she found that impressions of the degree to which an organization is structured and allows for employee autonomy were influenced by the presence of authority symbols, such as flags, pictures of organizational leaders, logos, and restrictive signs (Ornstein, 1986). Furthermore, Ornsteins findings were supported by Goodsells research. Even through Goodsell (1977) did not assess peoples impressions, he visited various offices and found that different types of organizations manipulated aspects of the physical setting to promote a particular professional image. Specifically, he found that authority organizations, such as state drivers licensing agencies, police stations, displayed props such as photographs of organizational leaders, flags, logos, and seals in their reception areas (Goodsell, 1977). People not only form impressions based on the office props (e.g., flags, logos and seals) but also on design elements such as style of furnishings. In an unpublished study (cited by Ornstein, 1989b), Ornstein showed slides of office reception areas to a group of

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14 executives and found that traditional and early American furnishings conveyed a message of stability and structure. Although Ornstein (1989b) does not validate her claim with empirical evidence, she argued that furniture arrangement such as placement of reception desk within the companys reception area can convey impressions of control. For instance, according to Ornstein (1989b), a large reception desk placed very near the front of a reception area physically blocks passage to the rest of the room thus allowing only limited freedom of movement and access (p. 416). She believed that in this case, the restricted movement and access may translate into impressions of an organization indicating there is considerable control and minimal autonomy (Ornstein, 1989b). In summary, studies and literature show that office props (e.g., flags, logos, and pictures of organization leaders) and also, style and layout of furnishings can be used to convey an image of control to first-time visitors. Perception of Consideration Conveyed by Office Design To create a positive impression, conveying a message of consideration (warmth, comfort, ease and goodness of communication) is important for organizations (Gifford, 1997, 2002). Specifically, Gifford indicated that a message of consideration is conveyed by plants, art, magazines and furniture arranged in a sociopetal manner (e.g., furnishings that allow for greater ease of communication, such as the chairs set at right angles) in the reception areas (Gifford, 1997, 2002). Giffords claims were supported by other empirical studies (Goodsell, 1977; Ornstein, 1986, 1992). For example, by actually visiting various offices, Goodsell (1977) found that service organizations displayed a large number of elements, such as plants, artwork, magazines, and upholstered seating to make visitors feel comfortable. Thus, Goodsells findings suggest that the style of furniture might have an affect on impressions.

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15 In an unpublished study (cited by Ornstein, 1989b, p. 419), Ornstein showed slides of office reception areas to a group of business executives and found that modern furnishings with softer edges send messages about flexibility, warmth, and comfort. In a follow up study, Ornstein (1992) showed slides of office reception areas to a group of students and executives. Specifically, she found that upholstered couches send message of consideration (Ornstein, 1992). Thus, Ornsteins results are consistent with Goodsells findings that upholstered furnishings connote messages about comfort. Moreover, Ornstein (1992) also found that arrangements of furnishings that allow for greater ease of communication (e.g., seating arranged at right angles) were perceived as more comfortable than arrangements that make communication difficult or tense (e.g., chairs placed directly facing one another). Overall, Ornsteins studies suggest that furniture arrangements (seating arranged at right angles) and furniture style, (soft materials, such as upholstered furnishings) pictured in the reception areas connote meanings of comfort or consideration. A study by Ridoutt et al. (2002) provided more specific information about how materials are related to perceptions. They investigated the symbolic meanings communicated by wood when it is used in office interiors. Specifically, they showed color photographs to the students to examine their impressions of companies. There was overwhelming preference by participants to work for organizations displaying wood in their interior office environment. Adjectives such as energetic, personal, and comfortable were used by participants in the study to describe the organizations where wood were used in the interior spaces.

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16 Danko (2000, p. 1) used a qualitative research method called narrative or life stories in combination with a traditional case study approach to explore the role of design in supporting strategic leadership initiatives related to recruitment and retention. Specifically by conducting face-to-face interviews with the executive level recruit, she found that an individuals first tangible evidence of corporate culture came through materials and finishes which signaled a climate of open communication (p. 16). For example, she noted that extensive use of glass and modern woods produce strong positive first impressions of an unpretentious culture (Danko, 2000). Likewise, Duffy (1990) also believed that materials such as wood and fabrics convey warmth. The color of the room has been investigated to determine whether the color variable makes a difference in impressions. For example, in an unpublished study (cited by Ornstein, 1989b), Ornstein used slides of office reception areas and found that executives perceived office reception areas with blue color tones comfortable, while brown and wheat colors were perceived as the least comfortable. These results are corroborated by other empirical studies (Eysenck, 1941; Sharpe, 1974), suggesting that blue tones are frequently identified as the most soothing and calming of the primary and secondary colors (Ornstein, 1989b, p. 419). Although Yee & Gustafson (1983) did not provide any evidences to show impressions of the visitors, they provided an example of a companys headquarters that were redesigned to create an image of comfort. Specifically, they pointed out that the interior architect used predominately red office colors with warm-toned paintings, textured fabrics, and soft, well-cushioned seating (Yee & Gustafson, 1983). Furthermore,

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17 they acclaimed that these elements were all designed to allow the visitor to feel welcome and comfortable, and encourage interaction (Yee & Gustafson, 1983, p. 163). Although a small number of studies have specifically focused on impressions conveyed from differences in lighting, there is evidence that the amount and type of lighting influences impressions (Ornstein, 1989b). For example, upon entering the same room with different lighting arrangement, Flynn, Spencer, Martyniuk, and Hendrick (1973) found that impressions of spaciousness, friendliness, and pleasantness were affected by changes in a rooms lighting. Similarly, Hendrick, Martyniuk, Spencer, and Flynn (1977) used slides of a room with different lighting arrangement and also found that impressions of spaciousness, friendliness, and pleasantness were affected by changes in a rooms lighting. Particularly, these researchers (Flynn et al., 1973; Hendrick et al., 1977) found that people reported more positive impressions of spaciousness, friendliness, and pleasantness when peripheral wall lighting was used, rather than overhead diffuse lighting. Moreover, by using slides of a room, Hendrick et al. (1977) found that when the type of lighting is held constant (e.g., overhead diffuse lighting), brighter illumination (100 footcandles), it resulted in reported impressions of more spaciousness, friendliness, and pleasantness than did darker illumination (10 footcandles). Overall, the literature reviewed here provides support for the claim that office props (e.g., plants, artwork, and magazines), style and arrangement of furnishings, materials, colors, and lighting can be effectively used to convey a message of consideration within organizations. Importance of Understanding Users Perceptions Although meanings are an integral part of the design concept, Rengel (2003) believes that not many designers are aware of their role in conveying meanings through design. Furthermore, in order to communicate meanings through design, designers need

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18 to understand how design elements are interpreted by people. However, there is relatively little research to help designers predict how their designs will be interpreted by the users perspective. Hence, scholars have cited the need for further research. For example, Rapoport claimed that meaning generally, and specifically users meaning, has tended to be neglected in the environment-behavior studies, yet it is of central importance to understanding users perceptions (Rapoport, 1990). To communicate an image, the sender of the message must understand the visual language of those receiving it. Therefore, the analysis has to include knowledge of what meanings various users, that is staff, management, investors, consumers, and the public, give to environmental design elements (Moleski & Wang, 1986, p. 14). Thus, understanding how people perceive or assign meanings to various design elements within a natural setting of an office reception area could help designers and corporate planners to predict human responses to the design features. Moreover, study of meanings could help designers to understand the symbolic and aesthetic characteristics of design features when designing office environments. Conclusion In conclusion, many studies have supported the notion that office props, such as flags, logos, artwork, plants, and flowers connote meanings that individuals use in forming impressions about organizations. However, few studies have examined the meanings connoted by different facets of office design, and how these affect an individuals impression. This is an area where those writers in the field have offered many seemingly excellent ideas but few have provided empirical data with supporting evidence that can clarify how various design features and elements connote meanings that people use in forming impressions about companies. Studies that offer evidence show that various design elements, such as style of furnishings, arrangement of furnishings,

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19 architectural finish materials, colors, and lighting influence individuals impressions. Despite a promising start, more research is needed to test the specific meanings connoted by different design elements and arrangements of furnishings and their relationship to first-time visitors impressions about organizations.

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CHAPTER 3 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY My study examined whether or not the design elements and arrangements of furnishings within office reception areas connote meanings that people use in forming impressions about companies. To identify the salient design elements and arrangements of furnishings for first-time office visitors, the study approach involved presenting slides of 8 different companies reception areas to the study sample. These research participants indicated their first impressions of these companies by completing 12 semantic differential scales for each slide. Additionally, they were asked to indicate on a 9-point scale, how much they would like to work for the company represented in the photograph. The photographs of office reception areas used in this research were obtained from commercial designers and published books. The photograph selection process involved an expert panel who were instrumental in selecting the appropriate photographs for the study. Specifically, a four-stage process was used to select the study photographs. In stage 1, 79 photographs were collected from the designers and published books. Stage 2 involved developing a scale to identify elements and principles of design in all photographs. During stage 3, the researcher systematically reviewed the photographs using this scale and judged 28 photographs to be appropriate for the next stage. Finally, stage 4 involved a panel of experts systematically reviewing photographs using the same scale developed in stage 2 to select the 8 photographs for the main study. This chapter 20

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21 specifically describes each of these 4 stages, as well as a pilot study, participant sampling, procedures, and limitations. Environmental Sampling In order to assess how design elements and furniture arrangements within office reception areas influence individuals impressions, the research participants were shown color slides of office reception areas for 2 minutes. According to Power (1978), photographs and color slides have been used successfully by researchers to simulate real scenes. Additionally, this method of examining meanings connoted by various facets of the interior environment via slides has been used in numerous empirical studies (Campbell, 1979; Hendrick, Martyniuk, Spencer, & Flynn, 1977; Ornstein, 1992). The focus of my study was reception areas. This area of the office environment was chosen for several reasons. First, an individuals initial impression of a company is most likely to be formed while waiting in a companys reception area (Ornstein, 1992). Second, reception areas are often carefully designed to send specific desired messages (Ornstein, 1992; Steele, 1973; Stimpson, 1988). Third, the reception/waiting area is the primary control area for any office. It is where visitors first come into contact with most organizations and is an important determinant of their initial impressions of companies (Ornstein, 1992). For the present study, a 4 stage process was followed to select appropriate reception area photographs for the study. Stage 1 In stage 1, numerous photographs of office reception areas were collected from 2 sources: (1) professional design firms in the Southeast United States, and (2) published corporate interior design books. The process of obtaining photographs from design firms was initiated via a letter which was sent to 13 professional designers who serve on the

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22 Advisory Board for the Department of Interior Design at the University of Florida. These designers were invited to participate in my study by providing photographs from office reception areas that they had recently designed. Four design firms responded and submitted a total of 41 photographs of office reception areas. The researcher also selected 38 photographs from four different corporate interior design books (Yee, 2001; Abercrombie, 1998; Abercrombie, 1997; Slatin, 2001). Specifically, the photographs that showed both reception area desk and the waiting area furniture were selected for my study. To use these photographs from corporate interior design books, a letter requesting permission and listing specific photographs was sent to 2 publishers of corporate design books. Specifically letters were sent to a publisher at the Visual Reference/Retail Reporting Publications and also to a publisher at the Edizioni Press Publications, to request permission to use these photographs. Permission was obtained from the Visual Reference/Retail Reporting Publications to use 31 photographs from three of their books, which include the following: Yee (2001), Abercrombie (1998), and Abercrombie (1997). For one of the books originally published by Edizioni Press, it was learned that The Switzer Group owned the copyright of the photographs from Slatin (2001). Therefore, permission to use the 7 photographs from Slatin (2001) was obtained from the president of the Switzer Group. Stage 2 At the conclusion of stage 1, 79 photographs had been selected. However, the photographs selected differed on several dimensions which were not relevant to the present study but which nevertheless could influence viewer perceptions of organizations. For example, the photographs of the specific reception areas chosen in stage 1 did not come from organizations similar in size and industry. Hence, the purpose of stage 2 was

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23 to develop a scale to control for possible influences of dimensions such as spatial evaluation (e.g., quality) and contemporary/traditional style (e.g., furniture, artwork, detailing). In addition, there was a need to control for various design principles such as spatial relationships (e.g., proportion and spaciousness) and unity (e.g., similar design style, cohesiveness) within these reception areas (Table 3-1). However, design elements, such as forms, lighting quality, color contrasts, finish materials, presence of artwork/plants/flowers, and furniture arrangements were systematically manipulated (Table 3-1). Table 3-1. List of the dimensions that were controlled and the variables that were systematically manipulated (independent variables) Dimensions that were controlled Variables that were systematically manipulated (independent variables) Spatial evaluation Lines and shapes/form (e.g., quality, expensiveness) (organic vs. orthogonal) Spatial relationships Lighting quality (e.g., spaciousness, proportion) (dim, moderate, bright) Unity Color (e.g., similar style) (low, moderate, high contrast) Contemporary/traditional Finish materials (e.g., furniture, artwork, detailing) (soft vs. hard materials) Artwork, plants, and flowers (present vs. absent) Seating arrangement (informal vs. formal) The goal of stage 3 was to select photographs while controlling for spatial evaluation, spatial relationships, unity, and contemporary/traditional style. A second goal of stage 3 was to systematically assess the photographs with respect to the following dimensions: forms (organic vs. orthogonal), lighting quality (bright, moderate, and dim), color (high, moderate, and low contrasts), the finish materials of floors and walls (soft vs. hard), presence of artwork/plants/flowers, and also arrangement of furnishings (informal seating arrangements that facilitate interaction vs. formal ones that do not). Therefore,

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24 stage 2 involved developing a different scale for judging the photographs. To accomplish these goals, semantic differential scales were created and used for the purpose of judging the photographs (Table 3-2). According to Tagg (1974), visitor impressions of differences between rooms can be measured with the semantic differential scales. These items within the semantic differential were selected based on their relevance to various design elements and principles (Ching, 1996; Malnar & Vodvarka, 1992; and Pile, 1988) and their use in other empirical studies (Acking & Kuller, 1972; Hogg, Goodman, Porter, Mikellides, & Preddy, 1979; and Hendrick et al., 1977). Table 3-2. The 23 semantic differential scales developed in stage 2 for selecting the study photographs The 23 semantic differential scales Expensive-Inexpensive Fine-Substandard High quality-Low quality Spacious-Cramped In Proportion-Out of Proportion Unitary-Chaotic Similar Style-Eclectic Uncluttered-Cluttered Contemporary furniture-Traditional furniture Contemporary artwork-Traditional artwork Contemporary detailing-Traditional detailing Curved lines-Straight lines Organic furnishings-Orthogonal furnishings Organic architectural elements-Orthogonal architectural elements Bright lighting-Dim lighting Widows-Absence of windows Concealed light fixtures-Exposed light fixtures Low contrast color scheme-High contrast color scheme Informal seating arrangement-Formal seating arrangement Conversational seating arrangement-Airport seating arrangement Seating arrangement facilitates social interaction-Seating arrangement discourages social interaction Artwork, plants, and flowers significantly present-Absence of artwork, plants, and flowers Soft materials-Hard materials

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25 Stage 3 After gathering 79 photographs of office reception areas from published books and from individual designers, stage 3 involved a systematic review of the photographs by the researcher. In selecting photographs, the following dimensions were kept consistent in all of the photographs: spatial evaluation, spatial relationships, contemporary/traditional style, and unity. However, the following independent variables were systematically manipulated: forms (organic vs. orthogonal), lighting quality (bright, moderate, and dim), colors (high, moderate, and low contrasts), finish materials of floors and walls (soft vs. hard), presence of artwork/plants/flowers, and furniture arrangements (informal seating arrangements that facilitate interaction vs. formal ones that do not). Using a series of 23 semantic differential scales developed in stage 2 (See Appendix A), the researcher judged the 79 photographs. More specifically, the researcher reviewed each of the 79 photographs and completed 23 semantic differential scales for each photograph. The semantic differential scales were scored from 1 to 3 for each scale (1 indicates high quality, in proportion, unitary, and contemporary space, organic forms, bright lighting, low contrast colors, soft materials, presence of artwork/plants/flowers, and informal seating arrangements). Scores were then summed across the scales. Since there were 3 semantic differential scales under the categories of spatial evaluation, form, and seating arrangement, these scores ranged from 3 to 9 (Table 3-3). Furthermore, as there were 2 semantic differential scales under the categories spatial relationships and unity, these scores ranged from 2 to 6 (Table 3-3). Moreover, because there were 4 semantic differential scales under the categories of contemporary/traditional styles and lighting/color evaluation, these scores ranged from 4 to 12 (Table 3-3). Finally, since

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26 there was only one semantic differential scale under the categories artwork/plants/flowers and materials, these scores ranged from 1 to 3 (Table 3-3). Table 3-3. The 23 semantic differential scales under 9 different categories Spatial Evaluation Expensive-Inexpensive Fine-Substandard High quality-Low quality Spatial Relationships Spacious-Cramped In Proportion-Out of Proportion Unity Unitary-Chaotic Similar Style-Eclectic Contemporary/Traditional Uncluttered-Cluttered Contemporary furniture-Traditional furniture Contemporary artwork-Traditional artwork Contemporary detailing-Traditional detailing Lines and Shapes/Form Curved lines-Straight lines Organic furnishings-Orthogonal furnishings Organic architectural elements-Orthogonal architectural elements Lighting and Color Evaluation Bright lighting-Dim lighting Widows-Absence of windows Concealed light fixtures-Exposed light fixtures Low contrast color scheme-High contrast color scheme Seating Arrangement Informal seating arrangement-Formal seating arrangement Conversational seating arrangement-Airport seating arrangement Seating arrangement facilitates social interaction-Seating arrangement discourages social interaction Artwork/Plants/Flowers Artwork, plants, and flowers significantly present-Absence of artwork, plants, and flowers Materials Soft materials-Hard materials Next, the scores for the spatial evaluation, spatial relationships, unity, and contemporary/traditional categories were summed. Since there were 11 semantic differential scales, these scores ranged from 11 to 33. The scores that ranged from 11 to

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27 21 were considered to be expensive, high quality, spacious, in proportion, unitary, and/or contemporary in style. On the other hand, the scores that ranged from 22 to 33 were considered to be inexpensive, low quality, cramped, out of proportion, chaotic, and/or traditional in style. Therefore, the photographs that had scores that ranged from 22 to 33 were excluded. This process resulted in 28 photographs that were high in quality, proportionate, unitary, and contemporary in style, but varied in forms, lighting quality, color contrasts, finish materials, presence of artwork/plants/flowers, and arrangements of furnishings. Stage 4 The final stage (stage 4) of the photograph selection process involved a panel of judges with expertise in design. During this phase, the goal was to further reduce and refine the photographs to be included in the study. This process resulted in the selection of 8 photographs from the 28 photographs selected in stage 3. Specifically, degrees of similarity of spatial evaluation, spatial relationships, unity, and contemporary style but variety of architectural forms, lighting quality, color contrasts, finish materials, presence of artwork/plants/flowers, and arrangements of furnishings within the photographs were determined by the expert panel. The judges included one interior design faculty member and two interior design PhD students at the University of Florida. Using the same 23 semantic items from the semantic differential scales used previously in stage 3 (See Appendix A), each of the three judges was asked to rate each of the photograph on these scales. The responses from a panel of three judges to the semantic differential scales were scored from 1 to 3 for each scale (1 indicates high quality, in proportion, unitary, and contemporary space, organic forms, bright lighting, low contrast colors, soft materials,

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28 presence of artwork/plants/flowers, and informal seating arrangements). Scores were then summed across the scales. The scores for the spatial evaluation, spatial relationships, unity, and contemporary/traditional categories were added for each of the three judges. Since there were 11 semantic differential scales, these scores ranged from 11 to 33. The scores that ranged from 11 to 21 were considered to be expensive, high quality, spacious, in proportion, unitary, and/or contemporary in style. On the other hand, the scores that ranged from 22 to 33 were considered to be inexpensive, low quality, cramped, out of proportion, chaotic, and/or traditional in style. The responses from the judges indicated that 2 of the photographs had scores higher than 22. Therefore, those 2 photographs were excluded from the study. In the other 26 photographs, the scores for the spatial evaluation, spatial relationships, unity, and contemporary/traditional dimensions were low (under 21), which meant that these photographs were high in quality, in proportion, unitary, and contemporary in style. Next, the scores for the lines and shapes/form, lighting/color evaluation, finish materials, artwork/plants/flowers, and seating arrangement categories were summed for each of three judges. Since there were 12 semantic differential scales, these scores ranged from 12 to 36. The scores that ranged from 12 to 24 were considered to have organic forms, bright lighting, low contrast color scheme, soft materials, presence of artwork/plants/flowers, and/or informal seating arrangements. On the other hand, the scores that ranged from 25 to 36 were considered to have orthogonal forms, dim lighting, high contrast color scheme, hard materials, absence of artwork/plants/flowers, and/or formal seating arrangements. After the scores for the form, lighting/color evaluation, finish materials, artwork/plants/flowers, and seating arrangement categories were

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29 summed for each of three judges, the next step involved adding the three scores (total scores for the 3 judges). These scores ranged from 36 to 108. The photographs with lower scores meant that all of the three judges thought the photograph had organic forms, bright lighting, low contrast color scheme, soft materials, artwork/plants/flowers present, and/or informal seating arrangements. The findings of Hendrick et al., (1977), Ornstein (1992), and Goodsell (1977) suggest that design elements such as bright lighting, soft materials, presence of artwork/plants/flowers, and informal seating arrangements used in interior office environment/reception areas convey a message of consideration. However, it was intuitively assumed that the organic forms and low contrast color scheme convey a message of consideration. On the other hand, the photographs with higher scores meant that the three judges thought the photograph had orthogonal forms, dim lighting, high contrast color scheme, hard materials, absence of artwork/plants/flowers, and/or formal seating arrangements. Ornstein (1992) found that presence of artwork/plants/flowers and use of deep pile carpeting in the reception areas were seen as less controlling by the students and the business executives. Hence, Ornsteins (1992) findings suggest that absence of artwork/plants/flowers and hard materials (absence of soft materials) in office reception areas can convey a message of control. For my study, orthogonal forms, dim lighting, high contrast color scheme, and formal seating arrangements were intuitively assumed to convey a message of control. Therefore, the photographs that had the lowest and the highest scores were included in the study. During this phase, it was decided that the researcher would exclude the photographs that had daylighting. Since the amount of daylight coming into the interior space effects the light level in the interior, daylighting

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30 was left out of the study. Therefore, 6 photographs that had windows to the exterior were excluded from the study. Based on the judges evaluations, 8 photographs that were either low or high in the dimensions of form, lighting/color evaluation, finish materials, artwork/plants/flowers, and seating arrangement were selected to be used for the study (Figures 3-1 through 3-8). These photographs were similar in quality, spatial relationships, unity, and contemporary style, but varied in the degree of architectural forms, lighting quality, color contrasts, finish materials, presence of artwork/plants/ flowers, and arrangements of furnishings. Since all of these photographs were taken by professional photographers, the quality of the photographs is excellent. The photographs focus on the general interiors of the reception areas including walls, floor finish materials, and reception area furniture (e.g., reception area desk and waiting area furniture). However, none of the photographs include windows, any information that would disclose the identity of the corporation pictured, or people. After the 8 photographs were selected, the researcher contacted the individual copyright holder for each of the 8 photographs and obtained written permissions to use the photographs in the study. The 8 photographs were then included in a PowerPoint presentation.

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31 Figure 3-1. Reception area slide 1. From Design as an Understanding of the Business Environment: The Switzer Group, by P. Slatin, 2001, p. 31. Copyright 2001 by The Switzer Group. Reprinted with permission of The Switzer Group.

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32 Figure 3-2. Reception area slide 2. From Corporate Interiors. No. 4, by R. Yee, 2001, p. 391. Copyright 2001 by the Visual Reference Publications. Reprinted with permission of the Visual Reference Publications.

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33 Figure 3-3. Reception area slide 3. From Corporate Interiors. No. 4, by R. Yee, 2001, p. 184. Copyright 2001 by the Visual Reference Publications. Reprinted with permission of the Visual Reference Publications.

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34 Figure 3-4. Reception area slide 4. From Corporate Interiors. No. 4, by R. Yee, 2001, p. 99. Copyright 2001 by the Visual Reference Publications. Reprinted with permission of the Visual Reference Publications.

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35 Figure 3-5. Reception area slide 5. From Corporate Interiors: Corporate Interiors Design Book Series No.1, by S. Abercrombie, 1997, p. 244. Copyright 1997 by the Retail Reporting Corporation. Reprinted with permission of the Retail Reporting Corporation.

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36 Figure 3-6. Reception area slide 6. From Corporate Interiors. No. 4, by R. Yee, 2001, p. 78. Copyright 2001 by the Visual Reference Publications. Reprinted with permission of the Visual Reference Publications.

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37 Figure 3-7. Reception area slide 7. From Design as an Understanding of the Business Environment: The Switzer Group, by P. Slatin, 2001, p. 22. Copyright 2001 by The Switzer Group. Reprinted with permission of The Switzer Group.

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38 Figure 3-8. Reception area slide 8. From Corporate Interiors. No. 4, by R. Yee, 2001, p. 418. Copyright 2001 by the Visual Reference Publications. Reprinted with permission of the Visual Reference Publications.

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39 Pilot Study A pilot study was conducted 10 days before the main study for the purpose of testing and evaluating the procedures and questionnaires. The preliminary study took place during an undergraduate course in the Marriages and Families (Sociology 2430) at the University of Florida. The researcher arranged with the professor to solicit students to voluntarily participate in my study. After obtaining consent, students were asked to participate in a study of reception area design during the last 15 minutes of a regularly scheduled class. Students who agreed to participate remained in the classroom. Feedback from participants in this preliminary study indicated that aspects of the instructions for the semantic differential scales and the formatting of the questions were confusing. Therefore, for the main study, the researcher reformatted the questions and clarified the instructions for the semantic differential scales. The data collected from this preliminary study are not included in the main study. Participant Sampling The study sample consisted of 102 University of Florida graduate students both at the masters and PhD level. These students were enrolled in an ETD (Electronic Thesis and Dissertation) workshop for January 23, 2005, from 1:00pm to 4:00pm. The researcher arranged with the ETD workshop instructor to allow students to voluntarily participate in my study during the workshop. After obtaining consent, students were asked to participate in a study of reception area design for 15 minutes during the beginning of the workshop. Participants who agreed to participate remained in the classroom. Before the study, students were provided with no information about reception area design or environmental influences on impressions. The students ranged in age from 24 to 56 with a mean of 31 years of age. Fifty four percent of the students were female.

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40 Fifty six percent of the students were PhD students. Fifty two percent of the students had prior work experiences in a large company or an office with 30 or more employees. These students had prior work experiences, ranging from a month and a half to twenty years. The study excluded 5 current design students since designers have been shown to perceive the environment differently than the general public (Gifford, 2002). Procedure Students were shown 8 slides of office reception areas and were asked to record their impressions of the companies shown by choosing a point on each of 12 semantic differential scales (See Appendix B). According to Ornstein, the semantic differential scales are useful tools for gaining understanding of the connotative meanings that impact individuals impressions of organizations (Ornstein, 1992). Additionally, these scales have been repeatedly used in other empirical studies that investigated symbolic messages connoted by various facets of the environment (Evans & Wood, 1980; Hendrick et al., 1979; Ornstein, 1986, 1992; Ridoutt et al., 2002). Eight photographs of office reception areas were shown to the students using a PowerPoint slide presentation. Each of the 8 slides was presented to the students as a group. Each slide was shown for about 2 minutes. Students were not aware of the companies identities represented in the slides nor were they informed of the industry in which these companies operated. Packets containing 12 semantic differential scales were distributed to the students and they were told that the 8 slides of reception areas would be presented. Following Ornstein (1992, p. 91), students were asked to imagine themselves sitting in these reception areas waiting for a job interview. They were further instructed to think abut what it might be like to work for these organizations. While each slide was presented on the screen, students completed the 12 semantic differential scales.

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41 Specifically, the following adjective pairs were used: Rigid Flexible, Tense Relaxed, Rewarding Unrewarding, Orderly Chaotic, Pleasant Unpleasant, Positive Negative, Impulsive Deliberate, Approving Disapproving, Prohibitive Permissive, Personal Impersonal, Good Bad, and Comfortable Uncomfortable. These adjective pairs in my study were selected based on: (1) their use in a previous study evaluating impressions of organizations (Ornstein, 1992), (2) their use in similar research studies (Ornstein, 1986; Ridoutt et al., 2002), and (3) the empirical research that recommends the dimensions of activity, evaluation, and potency are important in understanding environmental connotations (Mehrabian & Russell, 1974; Ornstein, 1992; Russell & Snodgrass, 1987; Russell & Steiger, 1982; Ridoutt et al., 2002). The 12 semantic differential scales provided students with a range of choices to record their impressions of these companies. Students were told to imagine they were waiting for a job interview and asked to convey their impressions based upon the reception area design. The 7-point array within each of these semantic differential scales varied from very closely related, quite closely related, slightly related, to neutrally related. In addition, students were asked to indicate on a separate 9-point scale (arranged as: 1=dislike extremely, 5=neither like nor dislike, 9=like extremely) how much they would like to work for the companies whose reception areas were shown in the 8 photographs (See Appendix B). These 9-point scales were below each of the semantic differential scales. Other information such as their gender, year of birth, highest education level completed, college major, and finally, prior work experience(s) in a large company were requested from each respondent (See Appendix B).

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42 Limitations Even though use of photographic slides offers a convenient and practical method of data collection, there are some general limitations related to this method. Although numerous studies in environmental psychology have affirmed the validity of the general method used here (i.e., using slides as substitutes for actual environments), there are some weaknesses to these instruments (Heft & Nasar, 2000). For example, it is possible that slides may influence peoples impressions in some ways different from the actual experience of visiting an office (Ornstein, 1992). Since my study utilized slides of office reception spaces, it only assessed visual impressions. Thus, my study did not examine if physical stimuli, such as noise, temperature, and smell of the office environment influence individuals impressions. Furthermore, since my study only included 8 office reception areas, this is another limitation to this thesis. Moreover, since the only source of information provided in my study is the reception areas, it may take on greater salience in influencing impressions than it would in an everyday context (Ornstein, 1992. p. 106). Additionally, the ability to describe first impressions of the organizations was constrained by the fact that they can only be expressed in terms of the adjective checklist provided (Ridoutt et al., 2002, p. 35). Nevertheless, the 24 adjectives chosen for my study were used in other empirical studies (Ornstein, 1986, 1992; Ridoutt et al., 2002) and were thought to provide sufficient choice of meaningful terms (Ridoutt et al., 2002, p. 35). Furthermore, my study only included the students impressions of the companies. According to Ind (1990), not all of the audiences (various users) will interpret an office environment in the same way. Thus, the results of my study will only pertain to the symbolic meanings communicated by design elements and arrangement of furniture by

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43 these graduate students. Since the participants in my study were graduate students, this is another limitation. Specifically, the results of my study only apply to masters and doctoral graduate students. However, one of the main advantages of using graduate students was that the graduate students have greater life experiences than the traditional undergraduate students.

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CHAPTER 4 FINDINGS The purpose of my study was to examine any influences that design of individual office reception areas may have on impressions held by first-time visitors. To test the 3 hypotheses, various statistical analyses were conducted. Specifically, in order to evaluate the first hypothesis, that consideration and control underlie participants impressions of companies as a result of viewing slides of reception area designs, hierarchical cluster and factor analysis were conducted. In order to test the second hypothesis that the students will have different impressions of the office spaces represented based on the design elements and arrangements of furnishings, Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) was conducted, followed by Student-NewmanKeuls post hoc multiple comparison tests. Finally, in order to test the third hypothesis, that students will express a greater desire to work for the firms that appear more considerate than controlling, Spearman-Brown rank-order correlations were used. The following chapter specifically describes each of these analyses. Two Dimensions of Meaning Underlie Students Impressions: Consideration and Control Two different analyses were conducted in order to evaluate the hypothesis 1 that consideration and control underlie participants impressions of companies as a result of viewing slides of reception area designs. First, student responses to the semantic differential scales were analyzed using hierarchical cluster analysis. From this analysis, 2 possible methods for grouping the items emerged. The data pointed to either a 3 or 2 44

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45 well-defined groups. Specifically, 3 different groups or clusters were within a rescaled distance of 3 (Figure 4-1). One cluster of items from the semantic differential included Unpleasant-Pleasant, Negative-Positive, Bad-Good, Disapproving-Approving, and Unrewarding-Rewarding. A second cluster of items included Rigid-Flexible, Tense-Relaxed, Prohibitive-Permissive, Uncomfortable-Comfortable, and Impersonal-Personal. Finally, the third cluster of closely related items included Chaotic-Orderly and Impulsive-Deliberate. Rescaled Distance Cluster Combine C A S E 0 5 10 15 20 25 Label Num +---------+---------+---------+---------+---------+ UnplePle 5 NegPos 6 BadGood 11 DisapApp 8 UnrewRew 3 RigidFle 1 TensRel 2 ProhPerm 9 UncomCom 12 ImpersPe 10 ChaoOrd 4 ImpulDel 7 Figure 4-1. Hierarchical cluster analysis Using slightly different criteria, 2 different groups or clusters were within a rescaled distance of six. The first cluster included the following semantic differential scales: Unpleasant-Pleasant, Negative-Positive, Bad-Good, Disapproving-Approving, Unrewarding-Rewarding, Rigid-Flexible, Tense-Relaxed, Prohibitive-Permissive, Uncomfortable-Comfortable, and Impersonal-Personal. On the other hand, the second cluster included Chaotic-Orderly and Impulsive-Deliberate. Since the rescaled distance was only about 3 distances apart between the initial 3 groups, and the next 2 groups, it

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46 was decided that the initial 3 groups can be made into 2 groups. Therefore, the scales (Unpleasant-Pleasant, Negative-Positive, Bad-Good, Disapproving-Approving, and Unrewarding-Rewarding) and scales (Rigid-Flexible, Tense-Relaxed, Prohibitive-Permissive, Uncomfortable-Comfortable, and Impersonal-Personal) were combined into one major group. Thus, this finding supported the first hypothesis that 2 dimensions of meaning underlie students impressions of companies pictured. The semantic differential scales for each of the 8 firms were separately analyzed using factor analysis via SPSS. Since the purpose of my study was to find dimensions of meaning underlying students impressions of companies, factor analysis was conducted for each office reception area slide. Thus, principle component analysis was used to extract the factors. From the factor analysis, it was found that only the first 2 factors were significant. Specifically, overall analysis of the Scree Plots indicated that there were 2 factors (Tables 4-1 and 4-2). Varimax rotation was used to enhance relationships between the variables and the significant factors. Hence, this analysis, in addition to the cluster analysis, grouped the semantic differential scales into 2 different factors. Furthermore, the groupings of the variable were also consistent between the 2 analyses. Therefore, the factor analysis provided additional support that there are 2 major factors (consideration and control) that underlie students impressions. The factor analysis indicated that the first factor accounted for an average of 51% of the variance. According to Ornstein (1992, p. 99), this factor may best be described as a dimension of organizational consideration. Items loading highly on this factor included the following: Unpleasant-Pleasant, Bad-Good, Negative-Positive, Disapproving-Approving, Uncomfortable-Comfortable, Prohibitive-Permissive, Unrewarding-Rewarding, Tense-Relaxed, Impersonal-Personal, and Rigid-Flexible. All

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47 of these semantic differential scales had high factor loadings with factor one (consideration factor). According to Ornstein (1992, p. 99), this factor represents an evaluative dimension similar to that found in much environmental research (Mehabian & Russell, 1974; Osgood, Suci, & Tannenbaum, 1957; Osgood, 1969). Thus, this factor shows organizations that are pleasant, good, positive, approving, comfortable, relaxed, and permissive. Therefore, it seems to be best described by organizational consideration (organization that is considerate of people). Table 4-1. Factor loadings for consideration Factor 1 Slide # 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Unpleasant-Pleasant .80 .64 .90 .69 .89 .84 .88 .78 Bad-Good .79 .70 .90 .81 .83 .80 .86 .87 Negative-Positive .78 .65 .88 .85 .88 .87 .90 .88 Disapproving-Approving .77 .78 .87 .84 .79 .85 .79 .82 Uncomfortable-Comfortable .72 .85 .86 .84 .75 .73 .90 .84 Prohibitive-Permissive .61 .74 .75 .67 .77 .76 .79 .80 Unrewarding-Rewarding .59 .81 .84 .83 .80 .79 .84 .82 Tense-Relaxed .56 .80 .73 .82 .74 .73 .80 .82 Impersonal-Personal .56 .81 .67 .75 .74 .70 .81 .79 Rigid-Flexible .49 .70 .61 .75 .69 .63 .76 .75 Chaotic-Order .09 .08 .14 .16 .08 .14 .07 .12 Impulsive-Deliberate .05 -.08 -.08 -.05 -.27 -.23 -.12 -.08 Variance 38% 47% 54% 52% 53% 51% 58% 56% Note: Bolded items represent higher factor loadings that were considered in making judgments pertaining to number of factors and the meaning of each factor The second factor accounted for an average of 15% of the variance. The items with high loadings on this factor included Chaotic-Order and Impulsive-Deliberate. These 2 semantic differential scales had high correlation with factor 2. Following from Ornstein (1992, p. 99), this factor can best be described as a dimension of organizational control. Organizational control was selected as the name for this factor, since it best reflected the organization that is orderly and deliberate, therefore, has a lot of control over the

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48 employees. Based on Ornstein (1992, p. 99), this factor looks much like the dimension of dominance identified by various researchers (Osgood et al., 1957; Osgood, 1969; Russell, Ward, and Pratt, 1981). Table 4-2. Factor loadings for control Factor 2 Slide # 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Unpleasant-Pleasant .10 .58 .05 .42 .00 .04 -.01 .20 Bad-Good -.03 .46 .12 .16 -.09 -.03 -.07 .17 Negative-Positive .05 .52 .09 .27 .02 -.02 .00 .14 Disapproving-Approving .01 .38 -.02 .15 -.13 .06 .01 .15 Uncomfortable-Comfortable -.33 .23 -.16 -.04 -.07 -.18 .05 -.02 Prohibitive-Permissive -.38 -.06 -.27 .05 -.24 -.30 -.07 -.17 Unrewarding-Rewarding .01 .31 -.02 .19 -.01 .13 .07 .17 Tense-Relaxed -.22 .04 -.43 .06 -.05 -.16 -.03 -.22 Impersonal-Personal -.48 .00 -.34 -.02 -.15 -.36 -.11 -.25 Rigid-Flexible -.49 -.01 -.54 -.12 -.30 -.32 -.06 -.32 Chaotic-Order .86 .78 .81 .86 .86 .87 .85 .80 Impulsive-Deliberate .80 .85 .82 .72 .84 .81 .83 .81 Variance 18% 20% 54% 52% 14% 15% 12% 14% Note: Bolded items represent higher factor loadings that were considered in making judgments pertaining to number of factors and the meaning of each factor Additionally, an overall factor analysis was conducted, without specifying each of the firms. Overall, it was found that there were high positive relationships between the semantic differential scales and the 2 factors. Specifically, the first factor accounted for 57% of the variance. Items loading highly on this factor included the following: Unpleasant-Pleasant, Bad-Good, Negative-Positive, Disapproving-Approving, Uncomfortable-Comfortable, Prohibitive-Permissive, Unrewarding-Rewarding, Tense-Relaxed, Impersonal-Personal, and Rigid-Flexible. On the other hand, the second factor accounted for 16% of the variance. Items loading highly on this factor included Chaotic-Order and Impulsive-Deliberate.

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49 Students Would Form Different Impressions of Consideration and Control Across the 8 Companies Represented Based on the finding that 2 different messages (consideration and control) were communicated by the slides of office reception areas, further analyses were conducted to support the second hypothesis that the students will have different impressions of the office spaces represented based on the design elements and arrangements of furnishings. The scales were reorganized so that the adjective with more favorable or positive connotations was on the right most end of the scale and the remaining adjective with more negative connotation was on the left side of the scale. Responses to the semantic differential scales were scored from 1 to 7 for each scale (7 indicates the greatest amount of consideration and control). Scores were then summed across each scale, so that research participants each had a score for consideration and a score for control. Since there were 10 semantic differential scales that were highly correlated with consideration, the consideration scores could range from 10 to 70 for each of the 8 reception area slides. On the other hand, since there were 2 semantic differential scales that were highly correlated with control, the score for control could range from 2 to 14. Each set of scores was analyzed using one-way repeated-measures ANOVA to test whether the reception area photograph had an effect on the score. Like Ornstein (1992), a significant main effect was found for ratings of consideration: F=58.871, p<.001. To determine exact differences in students ratings of the consideration of the 8 office reception area slides, the Student-Newman-Keuls post hoc tests were performed. There was great differentiation by the students in their impressions of these 8 slides (Table 4-3). Two of these companies were perceived as much more considerate (slides 4 and 2) than the other six. However, slide 4 was

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50 perceived as more considerate than slide 2. In addition, 3 slides (slides 3, 5, and 1) were perceived to be inconsiderate. Table 4-3. Mean scores for factor 1 (consideration) and factor 2 (control) # Descriptions of reception area Mean score for factor1 Group for factor1 Mean score for factor2 Group for factor2 1 Orthogonal design elements (e.g., walls and a reception area desk) with stone finish on the reception area desk and floor. Two ivory chairs are placed next to each other. Lighting level is moderate with high color contrast. There is no artwork, plants, or flowers. ( Figure 3-1 ) 32.686 1 11.951 3 2 Organic design elements (e.g., ceiling and a reception area desk) with carpet flooring. 2 upholstered chairs in the background are placed at a 45 angle. The other 2 upholstered chairs in the foreground are also placed at a 45 angle. Lighting level is dim with moderate color contrast. An artwork, plant, and flowers are present. ( Figure 3-2 ) 51.118 4 10 1 3 Orthogonal design elements (e.g., walls, ceiling, and a reception area desk) with some stone and dark wood flooring. Four black leather chairs are placed at a right angle. Lighting level is dim with moderate color contrast. There is no artwork, plants, or flowers. ( Figure 3-3 ) 34.647 1 11.853 3 4 Organic design elements (e.g., ceiling, floor patterns, waiting area furniture, and a reception area desk) with carpet flooring. On the right side of the photograph, 2 chairs are set at a 45 angle with a curvilinear sofa on the opposite side. On the left side of the photograph, 2 chairs are placed next to each other, separated by a small table. Lighting level is bright with high color contrast. An artwork and a flower are present. ( Figure 3-4 ) 55.029 5 9.647 1

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51 Table 4-3. Continued # Descriptions of reception area Mean score for factor1 Group for factor1 Mean score for factor2 Group for factor2 5 Orthogonal design elements (e.g., an opening and walls), with a little bit of organic design features (e.g., reception area desk).The majority of the flooring material is stone, with 2 leather chairs placed next to each other. Lighting level is dim with low color contrast. An artwork, sculpture, and flowers are present. ( Figure 3-5 ) 33.167 1 11.961 3 6 Organic design elements (e.g., walls and ceiling) with wood flooring and a reception desk made out of wood. There are 2 brown leather chairs placed at a 45 angle, separated by a small round table. Furthermore, there are 2 chairs placed at a 45 angle, and on the opposite side, there is a brown couch. Lighting level is moderate, with low color contrast. There is a vase with flowers on the reception area desk. ( Figure 3-6 ) 44.412 2 &3 9.863 1 7 Organic design elements (e.g., walls, ceiling, and a reception area desk), with stone flooring. Two black leather chairs are placed in a 45 angle, separated by a small round table. On the opposite side, there is a back leather chair and a small round table. There is a vase with flowers on the reception area desk, and a small sculpture on the small table on the left side of the photograph. ( Figure 3-7 ) 41.814 2 11.373 3 8 Orthogonal design elements (e.g., walls, ceiling, and a reception area desk), with wood flooring, wood wall paneling, and a reception area desk with wood finish. There are 2 brown leather chairs placed at a right angle. Lighting level is bright, with low color contrast. An artwork and a vase of flowers are present. ( Figure 3-8 ) 45.902 3 10.725 2

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52 Additionally, the main effect was also found for ratings of organizational control: F=20.924, p<.001. Four of the slides (slides 5, 1, 3, and 7) were perceived as more controlling than the others, where as 3 of the slides (slides 2, 6, and 4) were perceived as least controlling. Students Impressions of Consideration, Control, and Liking to Work for the Companies Analyses were conducted to examine the relationships between students impressions of consideration, control, and liking to work for those firms. Specifically, this analysis permitted for an overall comparison between students impressions of consideration, control, and liking across 8 slides. For each person, there were consideration and control scores for each of the 8 reception area slide. First, for each student, the 8 slides were rank-ordered from least to most considerate. Next, Spearman-Brown rank-order correlations were calculated between rankings of consideration and liking. Significant correlations were found between firms ranked by impressions of consideration and preferences for liking to work in these firms (r=.660, p<.001, L=0.01). This implied that students had a clear preference to work for firms they found considerate. Next, for each student, the 8 slides were rank-ordered from least to most controlling. Then, Spearman-Brown rank-order correlations were calculated between rankings of control and liking. Moderate negative correlations were found between firms ranked by impressions of control and preferences for liking to work in these firms (r= -.173, p<.001, L=0.01). This suggested that students had a clear preferences for disliking to work for firms they found controlling. Finally, Spearman-Brown rank-order correlations were also calculated between rankings of consideration and rankings of

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53 control. Thus, negative correlations were also found between consideration and control (r=-.351, p<.001, L=0.01). Conclusion In conclusion, the hierarchical cluster analysis, in addition to the factor analyses of the students responses revealed that the students distinguished 2 dimensions of meaning (consideration and control) connoted by the slides of office reception areas. According to ANOVAs and post hoc analyses, students formed different impressions of consideration and control across the 8 companies represented. Furthermore, the Spearman-Brown rank-order correlations revealed a significant correlation between firms ranked by impressions of consideration and preferences for liking to work in these firms. This suggested that that the students had a clear preference for working in firms that they perceived as more considerate. On the other hand, moderate negative correlations were found between firms ranked by impressions of control and preferences for liking to work in these firms. Finally, negative correlations were also found between consideration and control.

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CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSIONS AND CONCLUSIONS Reception areas are where visitors first encounter a company or business. Therefore, these spaces are often designed to create specific impressions which are consistent with the business objectives of the company (Ornstein, 1992; Steele, 1973; Stimpson, 1988). Although there is primarily anecdotal literature of symbolic meanings of design, existing empirical research is insufficient for designers and corporate managers to use in making design decisions about meanings design elements convey to the public. Thus, the purpose of my study was to examine the influence of specific design elements and arrangements of furnishings in office reception areas on impressions held by first-time visitors. The research design used obtained ratings from participants as they viewed photographs selected to emphasize particular design elements and furniture arrangements. Even though numerous empirical studies in have confirmed the validity of using photographs as substitutes for actual environments, it is possible that photographs may influence peoples impressions in some ways different from the actual experience of entering an office (Ornstein, 1992). Specifically, 102 graduate students were shown slides of eight different office reception areas. The students recorded their impressions of these companies by completing 12 semantic differential scales for each slide. In addition to the semantic differential, participants were asked to indicate on a 9-point scale, how much they would like to work for the company represented in the photograph. My study was organized around 3 areas of inquiry which informed the 3 hypotheses of my research. The first hypothesis was derived from Ornsteins (1992) 54

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55 study, in which slides of office reception areas were presented to participants and the findings suggested that 2 dimensions of meaning (consideration and control) were connoted by various types of physical symbols (e.g., artwork, plants, and flowers) and furniture arrangements. Thus, following Ornsteins (1992), logic, my first hypothesis stated that 2 dimensions, consideration and control, underlie participants impressions of companies as a result of viewing slides of reception area designs. Likewise, following Ornsteins (1992) logic, my second hypothesis was derived from the perspectives of 2 groups who have theories pertaining to how individuals develop perceptions. One group, represented by Gibson (1979) is the ecological perceptions approach which posits that elements of the physical environment afford opportunities for certain types of behaviors. Based on these affordances, it is suggested that people form impressions of the importance, desirability, and acceptability of the behavior (Ornstein, 1992, p. 87). The second theoretical perspective, the information-processing approach by Schnieder & Schriffrin (1977) proposes that people process information about the environment and form cognitive schema consistent with their prior experiences (Ornstein, 1992, p. 88). Guided by these 2 theories, my second hypothesis stated that the participants will have different impressions of the office spaces represented based on the design elements and arrangements of furnishings. Finally, based on Ornsteins (1992) overall findings, my third hypothesis stated that participants would show a preference for working in firms that appear more considerate than controlling. The following chapter discusses the results relevant to these 3 hypotheses, as well as provides suggestions for further research, suggestions for the designers, and conclusions of the thesis study.

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56 Two Dimensions of Meaning Underlie Students Impressions: Consideration and Control According to the hierarchical cluster and factor analysis, the research participants distinguished 2 dimensions of meaning (consideration and control) connoted by the slides of the office reception areas. According to Gifford (1997, p. 302), creating a positive impression within office reception areas vary in 2 important ways: the amount of control and the amount of consideration that is implied by the design of reception area. Control can be defined as order, stability, and rigidity (Gifford, 2002, p. 362). Jarmel (2003) believed that lawyers often use their office spaces to convey a feeling of power and control. Specifically, a younger law firm might want to seem older and more conservative and therefore use their interior space design to convey the image of control (Jarmel, 2003). Furthermore, Goodsells research suggested that some agencies use aspects of the physical environment to reinforce and legitimate the authority of an organization and its members (Goodsell, 1977). For example, by visiting various offices, Goodsell found that authoritative organizations, such as government office buildings, displayed props, such as photographs of organizational leaders, flags, logos, and seals in their reception areas to convey an image of control (Goodsell, 1977). On the other hand, consideration can be defined as warmth, comfort, ease, and goodness of communication (Gifford, 2002, p. 363). Becker (1982) believed that counselors, therapists, dentists, and physicians must place more emphasis on providing an image of comfort in their offices, especially reception areas. Furthermore, Goodsell visited various service organizations (public health agencies and sales organizations) and found that these organizations displayed a large number of plants, artwork, and magazines to convey an image of comfort (Goodsell, 1977).

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57 The finding that the participants distinguished 2 dimensions of meaning (consideration and control) connoted by the slides of the reception areas is consistent with Ornsteins findings. Specifically, Ornstein (1992) found that when the students and business executives were shown slides of office reception areas, their responses indicated 2 dimensions of meaning (consideration and control) underlying their judgments. Furthermore, the findings of my study corroborate the results of other empirical studies that suggested that the physical environment communicates meanings along 2 dimensions (Osgood, 1969; Ornstein, 1986, 1992). Students Would Form Different Impressions of Consideration and Control Across the 8 Companies Represented The question of whether the participants discriminated among the slides was also tested with ANOVAs and post hoc analyses. Specifically, the goal of this set of analyses was to determine if students distinguished between these 2 dimensions of meaning. The results revealed that the students formed different impressions of consideration and control across the 8 companies represented. The finding that the students formed different impressions of consideration and control across the 8 office spaces provides further evidence of the importance of design elements and furniture arrangements within the reception areas as a conveyor of symbolic information (Ornstein, 1992, p. 104). Moreover, these results suggest that design elements and arrangement of furnishings within reception areas serve a symbolic role by communicating meanings about companies (Ornstein, 1992, p. 103). Specifically, the results of my study support the findings of Ornstein (1992). She used slides of office reception areas and found that aspects of the office environment such as arrangement of furnishings, presence of artwork, plants, and flowers influenced

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58 individuals impressions (Ornstein, 1992). Additionally, the results of my study support the suggestion made by numerous researchers and scholars (Ornstein, 1989a, 1989b, 1992; Steele, 1973, 1986; Steele & Jenks, 1977), that the office environment send messages about organizational life. Next, a detailed explanation of the slides that were considered as both considerate and controlling follows. Consideration Two firms that were identified by the students as the most considerate were those represented in slides 4 (Figure 3-4, Table 5-1) and 2 (Figure 3-2, Table 5-1). Specifically, both of these slides contained organic forms (e.g., ceiling, floor patterns, furniture), abundance of soft materials (carpet flooring and upholstered chairs), and presence of artwork and flowers. However, it should be noted that slide 4 was rated more considerate than slide 2. Consequently, it can be concluded that a combination of organic forms, abundance of soft materials, along with presence of artwork and flowers in reception areas conveyed a message that the organization was very considerate (warm and comfortable) of people. These findings are consistent with a research by Goodsell (1977). Specifically, Goodsell (1977) visited various service organizations and found that these organizations displayed a large number of elements, such as plants, artwork, magazines, and upholstered seating in the reception areas to make visitors feel comfortable. Furthermore, these findings are consistent with Ornstein (1992) that soft materials convey warmth and comfort. Specifically, Ornstein showed slides of office reception areas to the students and executives and found that furnishings with softer edges, upholstered couches send messages about flexibility, warmth, and comfort (Ornstein, 1992).

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59 Table 5-1. Most considerate (slides 4 and 2) Most considerate Slide 4 Slide 2 Organic forms Organic forms Bright lighting Dim lighting High color contrast Moderate color contrast Soft materials Soft materials Artwork/flowers present Artwork/flowers present Informal seating arrangement (chairs arranged in a 45 angle and a couch on the opposite side) Formal seating arrangement (chairs arranged in a 45 angle) The firms that students identified as moderate in consideration were slides 8 (Figure 3-8, Table 5-2), 6 (Figure 3-6, Table 5-2) and 7 (Figure 3-7, Table 5-2). All of the 3 firms displayed flowers and hard materials. Specifically, slides 8 and 6 predominantly featured wood in the reception areas, and had low color contrast. Moreover, slides 7 and 6 both had organic forms. On the other hand, slide 8 and slide 7 both had bright lighting. From these results, it can be concluded that when wood was predominately used in reception areas, with low color contrast, along with the presence of flowers, it conveyed a message that the organization was moderate in consideration. Table 5-2. Moderate in consideration (slides 8, 6, and 7) Moderate in consideration Slide 8 Slide 6 Orthogonal forms Organic forms Bright lighting Moderate lighting Low color contrast Low color contrast Hard materials (wood) Hard materials (wood) Artwork/flowers present Artwork/flowers present Informal seating arrangement (chairs arranged in a 90 angle) Informal seating arrangement (chairs arranged in a 45 angle and a couch on the opposite side) Slide 7 Organic forms Bright lighting High color contrast Hard materials (stone) Flowers present Formal seating arrangement (chairs arranged in a 45 angle)

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60 The firms that students identified as least considerate included slides 3 (Figure 3-3, Table 5-3), 5 (Figure 3-5, Table 5-3), and 1(Figure 3-1, Table 5-3). All of the 3 firms displayed orthogonal forms (e.g., ceiling, walls, and furniture) and hard materials. Specifically, 2 of these firms (slides 5 and 1) predominantly featured stone (e.g., floors, reception area desk) in the reception areas and the waiting area chairs had airport seating arrangements. Moreover, slides 3 and 5 both had dim lighting. On the other hand, slide 3 and slide 1 did not display any artwork/plants/flowers. This implied that absence of artwork/plants/flowers sent a message that the organization was not considerate of people. Furthermore, these results also indicated that when orthogonal architectural elements (e.g., ceiling, walls, and furniture) and stone were used within the reception areas, along with airport seating arrangements, the organization was seen as inconsiderate. These results are consistent with Ornsteins findings. Specifically, she found that formal seating arrangements were perceived as less considerate than informal seating arrangements (Ornstein, 1992). Additionally, the slides that had airport seating arrangements, along with stone floors and walls were both perceived as least considerate. These findings are in-line with the ecological perceptions approach by Gibson (1979). Specifically, Gibson (1979) indicated that elements of the physical environment afford opportunities for certain types of behaviors. Based on these affordances, it is suggested that people form impressions of the importance, desirability, and acceptability of the behavior (Ornstein, 1992, p. 87). The presence of hard surfaces, along with formal seating arrangements (airport seating arrangements) within the reception areas were both perceived to be least considerate, since it did not afford opportunities for people to

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61 comfortably wait for a job interview. Furthermore, it is also possible that since the airport seating arrangements did not afford opportunities for communication, it may have implied something to the participants about the importance, desirability, and suitability of communication in this office setting. Table 5-3. Least considerate (slides 3, 5, and 1) Least considerate Slide 3 Slide 5 Orthogonal forms Orthogonal forms Dim lighting Dim lighting Moderate color contrast Low color contrast Hard material (dark wood) Hard materials (stone) Artwork/flowers absent Artwork/flowers present Informal seating arrangement (chairs arranged in a 90 angle) Formal seating arrangement (airport seating arrangement) Slide 1 Orthogonal forms Moderate lighting High color contrast Hard materials (stone) Artwork/flowers absent Formal seating arrangement (airport seating arrangement) However, the results showed that certain design features such as organic/orthogonal forms, dim/moderate/bright lighting, low/moderate/high color contrast, display of artwork/plants/flowers, use of stone, and certain seating arrangements (chairs that are arranged in a 45 or a 90 angle) were considered to take on different meanings, under different circumstances. One explanation for the fact that color contrasts did not appear to differentiate between consideration and control is that the color schemes in all of these eight photographs were quite neutral and somewhat similar. Specifically, my study only examined one dimension of color, value contrast, and did not explore contrasts in hue or chroma.

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62 Figure 5-1. Chart for consideration. 1) Figure 3-1. 2) Figure 3-2. 3) Figure 3-3. 4) Figure 3-4. 5) Figure 3-5. 6) Figure 3-6. 7) Figure 3-7. 8) Figure 3-8 Control The firms that students identified as most controlling were slides 5 (Figure 3-5, Table 5-5), 1 (Figure 3-1, Table 5-5), 3 (Figure 3-3, Table 5-5), and 7 (Figure 3-7,

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63 Table 5-5). All of the 4 firms in these photographs displayed hard materials. Specifically, 3 of these slides (slides 5, 1, and 3) had orthogonal forms (e.g., ceiling, walls, and furniture). Moreover, slides 5, 1, and 7 all had predominantly used stone in the reception areas. Two of the reception areas (slides 5 and 1) also featured airport seating arrangements. Furthermore, slide 1 and slide 3 did not feature artwork/plants/flowers. This suggested that when artwork/plants/flowers were not used in office reception areas, it sent a message that the organization was controlling. Also, slide 1 and slide 7 both had high value contrast. Additionally, slide 5 and slide 3 had dim lighting. According to Jarmel (2003), certain law firms use their office space to convey a feeling of power and control. Thus, the space can become a critical influence in gaining leverage in negotiations (Jarmel, 2003, p. 20). Furthermore, Goodsell (1977) found that authoritative organizations such as state drivers licensing agencies and police stations try to convey an image of control. My study suggested that orthogonal forms (e.g., ceiling, walls, and furniture), stone, and an airport seating arrangement used in reception areas conveyed an image of control. Additionally, the slides that had airport seating arrangements, along with stone floors and walls were perceived as most controlling. Specifically, the presence of hard surfaces, along with formal seating arrangements (airport seating arrangements) within the reception areas were both perceived to be very controlling, since it did not afford opportunities for people to comfortably wait for a job interview. Furthermore, it is also possible that since the airport seating arrangements did not afford opportunities for communication, it may have implied something to the participants about the importance,

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64 desirability, and suitability of communication in this office setting. These findings support the ecological perception approach. Table 5-4. Most controlling (slides 5, 1, 3, and 7) Most controlling Slide 5 Slide 1 Orthogonal forms Orthogonal forms Dim lighting Moderate lighting Low color contrast High color contrast Hard materials (stone) Hard materials (stone) Artwork/flowers present Artwork/flowers absent Formal seating arrangement (airport seating arrangement) Formal seating arrangement (airport seating arrangement) Slide 3 Slide 7 Orthogonal forms Organic forms Dim lighting Bright lighting Moderate color contrast High color contrast Hard materials (dark wood) Hard materials (stone) Artwork/flowers absent Flowers absent Informal seating arrangement (chairs arranged in a 90 angle) Formal seating arrangement (chairs arranged in a 45 angle) There was only one firm (slide 8) that was considered to be moderate in control (Figure 3-8, Table 5-6). Specifically, this firm displayed orthogonal design elements (e.g., ceiling, walls, and furniture), bright lighting, and low color contrast. Wood was the predominant material used in the reception area. Furthermore, the waiting area chairs were arranged in a 90 angle (informal seating arrangement). Artwork and flowers were also present in the reception area. Table 5-5. Moderate in control (slide 8) Moderate in control Slide 8 Orthogonal forms Bright lighting Low color contrast Hard material (wood) Artwork/flowers present Informal seating arrangement (chairs arranged in a 90 angle)

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65 Finally, the firms that the students identified as the least controlling included slides 2 (Figure 3-2, Table 5-7), 6 (Figure 3-6, Table 5-7), and 4 (Figure 3-4, Table 5-7). All of these slides had organic forms (e.g., ceiling, walls, and furniture) and displayed flowers. Slides 2 and 4 both had soft materials (e.g., carpet flooring, upholstered chairs) and slide 6 had used wood predominantly. Slides 4 and 6 both had informal seating arrangements. Specifically, these firms displayed chairs that were arranged in a 45 angle with a small table in between, and a couch on the opposite side. Slide 6 displayed 2 other chairs that were arranged in a 45 angle with a small table in between. Slide 4 also displayed 2 chairs next to each other separated by a small table. These findings suggested that when organic forms, flowers, and soft materials were used in reception areas, the organization was seen as least controlling. These results corroborate Ornsteins (1992) findings that upholstery furniture and deep pile carpeting were perceived as less controlling by the students and the executives (Ornstein, 1992). Table 5-6. Least controlling (slides 2, 6, and 4) Least controlling Slide 2 Slide 6 Organic forms Organic forms Dim lighting Moderate lighting Moderate color contrast Low color contrast Soft materials Hard materials (wood) Artwork/flowers present Artwork/flowers present Formal seating arrangement (chairs arranged in a 45 angle) Informal seating arrangement (chairs arranged in a 45 and a sofa on the opposite side) Slide 4 Organic forms Bright lighting High color contrast Soft materials Artwork/flowers present Informal seating arrangement (chairs arranged in a 45 angle and a couch on the opposite side)

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66 Figure 5-2. Chart for control. 1) Figure 3-1. 2) Figure 3-2. 3) Figure 3-3. 4) Figure 3-4. 5) Figure 3-5. 6) Figure 3-6. 7) Figure 3-7. 8) Figure 3-8. Relative Strength of Consideration as Opposed to Control The Student-Newman post hoc comparisons of means revealed that the difference between the means of the design variables associated with consideration is higher than

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67 the difference between the means associated with control. Thus, students were more sensitive to distinctions made on the consideration dimension than the control dimension. These results build on those of Ornstein (1992) who indicated that control is not a particularly salient dimension of which people make judgments about organizations (p. 105). The control dimension, in my study, accounted for considerably less variance than did the consideration dimension. Specifically, the factor analysis indicated that the consideration dimension accounted for approximately 51% of the variance and control accounted for approximately 15% of the variance. While both consideration and control were statistically significant, the consideration dimension was considerably stronger than the control dimension. An alternative explanation for control being weak compared to consideration is the lack of symbolic informationflags, seals, emblems, and logosin the photographs. Nonetheless, airport seating arrangements and use of stone floors and walls appeared to convey control to the research participants. Furthermore, it is possible that the students were less sensitive to distinctions made on the control dimension, since they had very little or no prior work experiences in large companies. This argument is consistent with the information-processing approach by Schnieder & Schriffrin (1977), which explains that people process information about the environment and form cognitive schema consistent with their prior experiences (Ornstein, 1992, p. 88). Approximately half (52%) of the students had prior work experiences at large companies, ranging from six weeks to twenty years. Since many students had very little, or no prior work experiences in large companies, it is likely that the students were less sensitive to distinctions made on the control dimension. There is some support for this idea in the work of Ornstein (1992) who showed slides of office

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68 reception areas to a group of undergraduate students as well as to business executives. The finding indicated differentiation between the firms for both students and executives in the area of consideration; however, only the executives exhibited differences in impressions of the firms based on control (Ornstein, 1992). Given that the executive may have more past experiences working at large companies, this might explain why the executives exhibited differences but students did not. Students Impressions of Consideration, Control, and Liking to Work for the Companies To evaluate the third hypothesis, a correlation coefficient was computed between rankings of consideration and preference. Significant correlations were found between firms ranked by impressions of consideration and preferences for liking to work in these firms (r=.660, p<.001). This suggested that students had a clear preference to work for firms they found considerate. It makes sense that people will like places that appear more considerate than controlling (Ornstein, 1992). Furthermore, this finding is consistent with Ornsteins (1992) findings that showed that both executive and student groups liked the firms that were perceived as considerate. On the other hand, moderate negative correlations were found between firms ranked by impressions of control and preferences for liking to work in these firms (r=-.173, p<.001). This suggested that students had a clear preferences for disliking to work for firms they found controlling. Finally, negative correlations were also found between consideration and control (r=-.351, p<.001). This implied that the firms that were perceived as considerate were not controlling, where as the firms that were perceived as controlling were not considerate.

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69 Hence, these findings also support the information-processing approach. Since 52% of the students had prior work experiences in a large company or an office with 30 or more employees, their past experiences might explain why students liked firms that were considerate and disliked the firms that were controlling. Additionally, the fact that the students wanted to work for organizations that were considerate, and not work for organization that is controlling validates that individuals impressions of the companies determine whether or not they would like to work at the firm. Suggestions for Further Research My study found that design elements and arrangement of furniture in reception areasincluding elements such as form, finish materials and furniture arrangementscommunicated meanings that research participants used in forming impressions about companies. Although the results of my study are promising, there are some issues that need to be addressed in future research. First, in my study, color schemes in all of the photographs were similar because my study only examined the differences in the contrast of the color value. Future research will need to explore the relative impact that variations among multiple color dimensions might have on individuals impressions. For example, future studies can systematically manipulate hue, value, and chroma dimensions. Furthermore, the results of my study suggested that when a large amount of achromatic color (e.g., black) were used in office reception areas, it sent a message that the organization was very controlling and inconsiderate. On the other hand, a large amount of warm tones were perceived as considerate and least controlling. This suggested that temperature contrast of colors might have an effect on individuals impressions. Future studies could expand on this finding by systematically manipulating the color temperature (e.g., warm vs. cool) in

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70 office reception spaces. Specifically, a new scale, warm-cool should be added to the semantic differential instrument. The findings of this thesis only supported the ecological perceptions approach. However, these findings are based on the responses from the graduate students with little or no prior work experiences. Future studies should test both ecological perceptions and information-processing approaches by including research participants that have prior work experiences in large companies (e.g., executives). By including both individuals with experiences and those who do not have much experience, the researcher can determine whether or not the findings support or deny these 2 theoretical perspectives. Another area for future research might be to examine the impact of spaces that are intentionally designed. Most interior designers believe that carefully constructed interiors (e.g., spaces that are designed intentionally) will send specific desired messages (Ornstein, 1989b). Thus, it may be interesting to assess whether explicitly designed offices are better at creating desired impressions than ones that are not professionally designed. Additionally it may be of interest to compare the designers impressions to the non-designers impressions of the design elements used in reception areas. Specifically, future studies could assess whether non-designers impressions of a reception area support the concepts designers were intentionally trying to convey about the image of a certain company. Studies of this kind might be helpful for the designers to realize that they view their designs differently from non-designers (Gifford, 2002). Thus, it might validate the need for the designers to understand users perceptions.

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71 Suggestions for Architects, Designers, Corporate Planners, and Corporate Managers My study suggests that architects, designers, and corporate planners need to recognize that design elements and furniture arrangements in the reception areas play a significant role in influencing impressions. Another suggestion is that designers need to work together with company managers and potentially, end users of the space to determine the messages being conveyed to employees and the outside visitors and to identify whether the messages are consistent with companys values (Ornstein, 1992). Ornstein (1992, p. 107) further suggested that if the messages connoted are not accurate or appropriate, then this implies that the design of the reception areas might be changed. The results of my study indicated that form, finish materials, and arrangements of furnishings made a difference in impressions. While the present study will need to be replicated, if the present results hold, the designers and the corporate managers will want to incorporate design elements that help support the overall business objectives. Pertaining to consideration (e.g., flexibility, warmth, and comfort), combinations of organic forms (e.g., ceiling, walls, and furniture), abundance of soft materials (e.g., carpet flooring and upholstery furniture), along with presence of artwork and flowers can be used in reception areas. Furthermore, when wood is predominately used in an office reception area, with low color value contrast, along with presence of flowers, it is likely to convey a message that the organization is moderate in consideration. Moreover, orthogonal forms, stone, and airport seating arrangements can be used in the reception areas to convey a message that the organization is controlling (e.g., rigid and deliberate). For instance, authoritative organizations might use these design elements and seating arrangements in the reception areas to convey an image of control. Furthermore, when

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72 organic forms, flowers, and soft materials (e.g., carpet, upholstery) are used in office reception areas, it is likely to convey a message that the organization is not controlling. It should be noted that even though presence of artwork, plants, and flowers tends to take on different meanings under different circumstances, 2 of the reception areas that did not display these elements were seen as very controlling and least considerate. Thus, it may be important for the designers to remember that although presence of artwork, plants, and flowers connote different meanings, absence of these elements tend to convey the message that the organization is controlling/least considerate. Conclusion In conclusion, my study supports Ornsteins (1992) findings and lends additional empirical support to the notion that the design of an office reception areaincluding elements such as form, finish materials (e.g., carpet, upholstery, wood, and stone), and furniture arrangementscommunicates meanings that people use in forming initial impressions about companies. These findings add to the knowledge base of symbolic influences of the design elements and furniture arrangements in office reception areas on individuals perceptions of companies. Furthermore, these demonstrate a need for further study of the design elements and furniture arrangements used in the office reception areas as important sources of information about individuals first impressions of companies.

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APPENDIX A THE 23 SEMANTIC DIFFERENTIAL SCALES FOR JUDGING THE PHOTOGRAPHS

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Please evaluate the reception areas shown by selecting a point on each of 23 Semantic differential scales. 74 Inexpensive ______:______:______ Expensive Fine ______:______:______ Substandard Low quality ______:______:______ High quality Spacious ______:______:______ Cramped Out of proportion ______:______:______ In proportion Chaotic ______:______:______ Unitary Eclectic ______:______:______ Similar style Uncluttered ______:______:______ Cluttered Traditional furniture ______:______:______ Contemporary furniture Traditional artwork ______:______:______ Contemporary artwork Contemporary detailing ______:______:______ Traditional detailing Curved lines ______:______:______ Straight lines Orthogonal furnishings ______:______:______ Organic furnishings Organic architectural elements ______:______:______ Orthogonal architectural elements Bright lighting ______:______:______ Dim lighting Windows ______:______:______ Absence of windows Exposed light fixtures ______:______:______ Concealed light fixtures High contrast color scheme ______:______:______ Low contrast color scheme Informal seating arrangement ______:______:______ Formal seating arrangement Conversational seating arrangement ______:______:______ Airport seating arrangement Seating arrangement discourages social interaction ______:______:______ Seating arrangement facilitates social interaction Absence of artwork, plants, and flowers ______:______:______ Artwork, plants, and flowers significantly present Soft materials ______:______:______ Hard materials

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APPENDIX B STUDENT QUESTIONAIRE You will be shown photographs of 8 different office reception areas. Imagine yourself sitting in each of these reception areas waiting for a job interview. Imagine what it might be like to work for these companies. You will be shown each photograph for 2 minutes. During this time, answer the questions about the photograph 1 1 From First impressions of the symbolic meanings connoted by reception area design, by S. Ornstein, 1992, Environment and Behavior, 24(1), p. 96. Copyright 1992 by Sage Publications. Adapted with permission of the Sage Publications. 75

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76 Photograph 1 Please record your impressions of the company shown by choosing a point on each of 12 scales listed 2 Flexible _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Rigid Tense _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Relaxed Unrewarding _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Rewarding Orderly _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Chaotic Pleasant _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Unpleasant Negative _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Positive Deliberate _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Impulsive Approving _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Disapproving Prohibitive _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Permissive Impersonal _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Personal Good _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Bad Uncomfortable _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Comfortable Please indicate on a 9-point scale how much you would like to work for the company pictured 1 (1=dislike extremely, 5=neither like nor dislike, 9=like extremely) circle one 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Dislike Neither like Like extremely nor dislike extremely 1 From First impressions of the symbolic meanings connoted by reception area design, by S. Ornstein, 1992, Environment and Behavior, 24(1), p. 96. Copyright 1992 by Sage Publications. Adapted with permission of the Sage Publications 2 From First impression of the symbolic meanings connoted by reception area design, by S. Ornstein, 1992, Environment and Behavior, 24(1), p. 91. Copyright 1992 by Sage Publications. Reprinted with permission of the Sage Publications.

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77 Photograph 2 Please record your impressions of the company shown by choosing a point on each of 12 scales listed 2 Flexible _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Rigid Tense _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Relaxed Unrewarding _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Rewarding Orderly _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Chaotic Pleasant _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Unpleasant Negative _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Positive Deliberate _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Impulsive Approving _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Disapproving Prohibitive _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Permissive Impersonal _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Personal Good _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Bad Uncomfortable _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Comfortable Please indicate on a 9-point scale how much you would like to work for the company pictured 1 (1=dislike extremely, 5=neither like nor dislike, 9=like extremely) circle one 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Dislike Neither like Like extremely nor dislike extremely 1 From First impressions of the symbolic meanings connoted by reception area design, by S. Ornstein, 1992, Environment and Behavior, 24(1), p. 96. Copyright 1992 by Sage Publications. Adapted with permission of the Sage Publications 2 From First impression of the symbolic meanings connoted by reception area design, by S. Ornstein, 1992, Environment and Behavior, 24(1), p. 91. Copyright 1992 by Sage Publications. Reprinted with permission of the Sage Publications.

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78 Photograph 3 Please record your impressions of the company shown by choosing a point on each of 12 scales listed 2 Flexible _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Rigid Tense _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Relaxed Unrewarding _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Rewarding Orderly _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Chaotic Pleasant _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Unpleasant Negative _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Positive Deliberate _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Impulsive Approving _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Disapproving Prohibitive _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Permissive Impersonal _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Personal Good _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Bad Uncomfortable _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Comfortable Please indicate on a 9-point scale how much you would like to work for the company pictured 1 (1=dislike extremely, 5=neither like nor dislike, 9=like extremely) circle one 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Dislike Neither like Like extremely nor dislike extremely 1 From First impressions of the symbolic meanings connoted by reception area design, by S. Ornstein, 1992, Environment and Behavior, 24(1), p. 96. Copyright 1992 by Sage Publications. Adapted with permission of the Sage Publications 2 From First impression of the symbolic meanings connoted by reception area design, by S. Ornstein, 1992, Environment and Behavior, 24(1), p. 91. Copyright 1992 by Sage Publications. Reprinted with permission of the Sage Publications.

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79 Photograph 4 Please record your impressions of the company shown by choosing a point on each of 12 scales listed 2 Flexible _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Rigid Tense _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Relaxed Unrewarding _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Rewarding Orderly _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Chaotic Pleasant _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Unpleasant Negative _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Positive Deliberate _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Impulsive Approving _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Disapproving Prohibitive _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Permissive Impersonal _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Personal Good _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Bad Uncomfortable _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Comfortable Please indicate on a 9-point scale how much you would like to work for the company pictured 1 (1=dislike extremely, 5=neither like nor dislike, 9=like extremely) circle one 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Dislike Neither like Like extremely nor dislike extremely 1 From First impressions of the symbolic meanings connoted by reception area design, by S. Ornstein, 1992, Environment and Behavior, 24(1), p. 96. Copyright 1992 by Sage Publications. Adapted with permission of the Sage Publications 2 From First impression of the symbolic meanings connoted by reception area design, by S. Ornstein, 1992, Environment and Behavior, 24(1), p. 91. Copyright 1992 by Sage Publications. Reprinted with permission of the Sage Publications.

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80 Photograph 5 Please record your impressions of the company shown by choosing a point on each of 12 scales listed 2 Flexible _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Rigid Tense _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Relaxed Unrewarding _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Rewarding Orderly _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Chaotic Pleasant _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Unpleasant Negative _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Positive Deliberate _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Impulsive Approving _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Disapproving Prohibitive _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Permissive Impersonal _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Personal Good _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Bad Uncomfortable _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Comfortable Please indicate on a 9-point scale how much you would like to work for the company pictured 1 (1=dislike extremely, 5=neither like nor dislike, 9=like extremely) circle one 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Dislike Neither like Like extremely nor dislike extremely 1 From First impressions of the symbolic meanings connoted by reception area design, by S. Ornstein, 1992, Environment and Behavior, 24(1), p. 96. Copyright 1992 by Sage Publications. Adapted with permission of the Sage Publications 2 From First impression of the symbolic meanings connoted by reception area design, by S. Ornstein, 1992, Environment and Behavior, 24(1), p. 91. Copyright 1992 by Sage Publications. Reprinted with permission of the Sage Publications.

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81 Photograph 6 Please record your impressions of the company shown by choosing a point on each of 12 scales listed 2 Flexible _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Rigid Tense _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Relaxed Unrewarding _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Rewarding Orderly _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Chaotic Pleasant _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Unpleasant Negative _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Positive Deliberate _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Impulsive Approving _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Disapproving Prohibitive _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Permissive Impersonal _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Personal Good _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Bad Uncomfortable _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Comfortable Please indicate on a 9-point scale how much you would like to work for the company pictured 1 (1=dislike extremely, 5=neither like nor dislike, 9=like extremely) circle one 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Dislike Neither like Like extremely nor dislike extremely 1 From First impressions of the symbolic meanings connoted by reception area design, by S. Ornstein, 1992, Environment and Behavior, 24(1), p. 96. Copyright 1992 by Sage Publications. Adapted with permission of the Sage Publications 2 From First impression of the symbolic meanings connoted by reception area design, by S. Ornstein, 1992, Environment and Behavior, 24(1), p. 91. Copyright 1992 by Sage Publications. Reprinted with permission of the Sage Publications.

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82 Photograph 7 Please record your impressions of the company shown by choosing a point on each of 12 scales listed 2 Flexible _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Rigid Tense _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Relaxed Unrewarding _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Rewarding Orderly _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Chaotic Pleasant _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Unpleasant Negative _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Positive Deliberate _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Impulsive Approving _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Disapproving Prohibitive _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Permissive Impersonal _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Personal Good _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Bad Uncomfortable _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Comfortable Please indicate on a 9-point scale how much you would like to work for the company pictured 1 (1=dislike extremely, 5=neither like nor dislike, 9=like extremely) circle one 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Dislike Neither like Like extremely nor dislike extremely 1 From First impressions of the symbolic meanings connoted by reception area design, by S. Ornstein, 1992, Environment and Behavior, 24(1), p. 96. Copyright 1992 by Sage Publications. Adapted with permission of the Sage Publications 2 From First impression of the symbolic meanings connoted by reception area design, by S. Ornstein, 1992, Environment and Behavior, 24(1), p. 91. Copyright 1992 by Sage Publications. Reprinted with permission of the Sage Publications.

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83 Photograph 8 Please record your impressions of the company shown by choosing a point on each of 12 scales listed 2 Flexible _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Rigid Tense _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Relaxed Unrewarding _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Rewarding Orderly _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Chaotic Pleasant _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Unpleasant Negative _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Positive Deliberate _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Impulsive Approving _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Disapproving Prohibitive _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Permissive Impersonal _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Personal Good _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Bad Uncomfortable _____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____:_____ Comfortable Please indicate on a 9-point scale how much you would like to work for the company pictured 1 (1=dislike extremely, 5=neither like nor dislike, 9=like extremely) circle one 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Dislike Neither like Like extremely nor dislike extremely 1 From First impressions of the symbolic meanings connoted by reception area design, by S. Ornstein, 1992, Environment and Behavior, 24(1), p. 96. Copyright 1992 by Sage Publications. Adapted with permission of the Sage Publications 2 From First impression of the symbolic meanings connoted by reception area design, by S. Ornstein, 1992, Environment and Behavior, 24(1), p. 91. Copyright 1992 by Sage Publications. Reprinted with permission of the Sage Publications.

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84 Background Information Gender a) Male b) Female Year you were born: 19___ ___ Highest education level completed a) High school b) Some college c) Bachelors degree d) Graduate degree What is your major? _______________________________________________________________________ Do you have any prior work experience(s) in a large company or an office (30+ people)? a) Yes b) No If YES, how long did you work for the company or an office? ________________________________________________________________________

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LIST OF REFERENCES Abercrombie, S. (1997). Corporate interiors: Corporate interiors design book series no. 1. New York, NY: Retail Reporting Corporation. ISBN 0-07-018243-4. Abercrombie, S. (1998). Corporate interiors no. 2. New York, NY: Retail Reporting Corporation. ISBN 0-934590-99-0. Acking, C. A., & Kuller, R. (1972). The perception of an interior as a function of its colour. Ergonomics, 15, 645-654. Becker, F. D. (1982). The successful office. Reading, Mass.: Addison Wesley. Becker, F. D. (2004). Offices at work. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers. Becker, F. D., & Steele, F. (1995). Workplace by design. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers. Bitner, M. J. (1992). Servicescapes: The impact of physical surroundings on customers and employees. Journal of Marketing, 56, 57-71. Campbell, D. E. (1979). Interior office design and visitor response. Journal of Applied Psychology, 64(6), 648-653. Ching, F. D. K. (1996). Architecture: Form, space, and order. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons. Danko, S. (2000). Beneath the surface: A story of leadership, recruitment, and the hidden dimensions of strategic workplace design. Journal of Interior Design, 62, 1-24. Davis, T. R. (1984). The influence of the physical environment in offices. Academy of Management, 9, 271-283. Duffy, F. (1969). Role and status in the office. Architectural Association Quarterly 1(4), 4-13. Duffy, F. (1990). The responsive office: People and change. England: Polymath Publishing. Evans, G. W., & Wood, K. W. (1980). Assessment of environmental aesthetics in scenic highway corridors. Environment and Behavior, 12, 255-273. 85

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86 Eysenck, H. J. (1941). A critical and experimental study of color preferences. American Journal of Psychology, 54, 385-394. Flynn, J. E., Spencer, T.J., Martyniuk, O., & Hendrick, C. (1973). Interim study of procedures for investigating the effect of light on impression and behavior. Journal of the Illuminating Engineering Society, 3, 87-94. Gibson, J. J. (1979). The ecological approach to visual perception. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin. Gifford, R. (1997). Environmental psychology: Principles and practice (2 nd ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon. Gifford, R. (2002). Environmental psychology: Principles and practice (3 rd ed.). University of Victoria, Canada: Optimal Books. Goodrich, R. (1986). The perceived office: The office environment as experienced by its users. In J. Wineman (Ed.), Behavioral issues in reception area dcor (pp. 109-134). New York, NY: Van Nostrand Reinhold. Goodsell, T. C. (1977). Bureaucratic manipulation of physical symbols: An empirical study. American Journal of Political Science, 21, 79-91. Hatch, M. J., & Schultz, M. (1997). Relations between organizational culture, identity, and image. European Journal of Marketing, 31(5/6), 356-365. Heft, H., & Nasar, J. L. (2000). Evaluating environmental scenes using dynamic versus static displays. Environment and Behavior, 32, 301-322. Hendrick, C., Martyniuk, O., Spencer, T. J., & Flynn, J. E. (1977). Procedures for investigating the effect of light on impression: Simulation of a real space by slides. Environment and Behavior, 9(4), 491-510. Hogg, J., Goodman, S., Porter, T., Mikellides, B., & Preddy, D. E. (1979). Dimensions and determinants of judgments of colour samples and a simulated interior space by architects and non-architects. British Journal of Psychology, 70, 231-242. Ind, N. (1990). Identity crisis in the office (office design and layout projects company image). Management Today, December 1990, 102-104. Jarmel, M. B. (2003). How corporate identity influences design. Brandweek, 44, pp. 20. Klein, S. M., & Ritti, R. R. (1980). Understanding organizational behavior. Boston: Kent. Malnar, J. M., & Vodvarka, F. (1992). The interior dimension: A theoretical approach to enclosed space. New York, NY: Van Nostrand Reinhold.

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87 Martyniuk, O., Flynn, J. E., Spencer, T. J., & Hendrick, C. (1973). Effect of environmental lighting on impression and behavior. In R. Kuller (Ed.), Architectural Psychology (pp. 51-63). Pennsylvania: Dowden, Hutchinson, & Ross, Inc. Mehrabian, A., & Russell, J. A. (1974). An approach to environmental psychology. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Moleski, W. H., & Lang, J. T. (1986). Organizational goals and human needs in office planning. In Wineman, J.D. (Ed.), Behavior issues in office design. (pp. 3-21). New York, NY: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company. Ornstein, S. (1986). Organizational symbols: A study of their meanings and influences on perceived psychological climate. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 38, 207-229. Ornstein, S. (1989a). Hidden influences of office design. Academy of Management Executive, 3, 144-147. Ornstein, S. (1989b). Impression management through office design. In R. Giacolone & P. Rosenfeld (Ed.), Impression management in organizations (pp. 411-426). Hillside, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Ornstein, S. (1992). First impression of the symbolic meanings connoted by reception area design. Environment and Behavior, 24(1), 85-110. Osgood, C. E. (1969). On the whys and wherefores of E, P, and A. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 12, 194-199. Osgood, C. G., Suci, G. J., & Tannenbaum, P. H. (1957). The measurement of meaning. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press. Pile, J. F. (1988). Interior design. New York, NY: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., Publishers. Power, R. P. (1978). Hypotheses in perception: Their development about unambiguous stimuli in the environment. Perception, 7(1), 105-111. Rapoport, A. (1990). The meaning of the built environment. Beverly Hills, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc. Rengel, R. J. (2003). Shaping interior space. New York, NY: Fairchild Publications, Inc. Ridoutt, B. G., Ball, R. D., & Killerby, S. K. (2002). First impressions of organizations and the qualities connoted by wood in interior design. Forest Products Journal, 52, 30-36.

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88 Russell, J. A., & Snodgrass, J. (1987). Emotion and the environment. In D. Stokols & I. Altman (Ed.), Handbook of environmental psychology, Vol. 1. Chichester, UK: John Wiley. Russell, J. A., & Steiger, J. H. (1982). The structure in persons implicit taxonomy of emotions. Journal of Research in personality, 16, 447-469. Russell, J. A., Ward, L. M., & Pratt, G. (1981). Affective quality attributed to environments: Reply to Daniel Ittleson. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 110, 163-168. Schnieder, W., & Schriffrin, R. M. (1977). Controlled and automatic human information processing: I. Detection, search, and attention. Psychological Review, 84, 1-66. Sharpe, D. T. (1974). The psychology of color and design. Chicago, IL: Nelson-Hall. Slatin, P. (2001). Design as an understanding of the business environment: The Switzer Group. New York, NY: Edizioni Press, Inc. ISBN: 0-9662230-5-5. Steele, F. (1973). Physical settings and organizational development. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley. Steele, F. (1986). Making and managing high-quality workplaces: An organizational ecology. New York, NY: Teachers College Press. Steele, F., & Jenks, S. (1977). The feel of the workplace: Understanding and improving organizational climate. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley. Stimpson, H. (1988, November). Agency management: Better by design. Insurance Review, 49, 68-73. Tagg, S. K. (1974). The subjective meaning of rooms: Some analyses and investigations. In D. Canter and T. Lee, (Ed.), Psychology and the built environment. (pp. 65-70). London: Architectural Press. Yee, R. (2001). Corporate interiors. no. 4. New York, NY: Visual Reference Publications. ISBN 1-58471-024-1. Yee, R., & Gustafson, K. (1983). Corporate design. New York, NY: Interior Design Books.

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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Jahae Park was born in Seoul Korea in June 1979. Jahae and her family moved to Salt Lake City, Utah, USA in December of 1990. Since she was a child, she has always been interested in the design of buildings and interior spaces. In May of 2001, she obtained a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies from University of Utah. After gaining some experience working at Don Brady Interior Design, Jahae became interested in the field of interior design and decided to further her education in interior design. In the fall of 2002, she enrolled in the Master of Interior Design program at the University of Florida. Her primary research interest focuses on the symbolic messages conveyed by office design. Upon completion of this masters thesis, Jahae plans to work in the commercial design industry, particularly in the field of corporate design. 89


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Title: First Impressions of Office Reception Spaces: Communicating Symbolic Meanings through Design Elements and Furnishing Arrangements
Physical Description: Mixed Material
Copyright Date: 2008

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FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF OFFICE RECEPTION SPACES: COMMUNICATING
SYMBOLIC MEANINGS THROUGH DESIGN ELEMENTS AND FURNISHING
ARRANGEMENTS
















By

JAHAE PARK


A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF INTERIOR DESIGN

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


2005

































Copyright 2005

by

Jahae Park















ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I would first like to thank my supervisory committee chair (Dr. M. Joyce Hasell)

for her continued support and guidance throughout my study. I would also like to thank

my other committee member (Dr. Margaret Portillo) for her support and invaluable

knowledge base. Special thanks go to Visual Reference Publications, Retail Reporting

Corporation, and The Switzer Group for granting permissions to use office reception area

photographs from books published by their respective companies. These photographs

were instrumental in my study. Moreover, I would like to thank Dr. Debra Harris, Marlo

Ransdell, and Yun Zhu for participating in the process of selecting the final 8

photographs used in my study. Furthermore, I would also like to thank Dr. Scanzoni and

the ETD workshop instructors for permission to use their classes in my study. The

helpful suggestions and assistance of Dr. Trevor Park in the area of data analysis are also

appreciated. Finally, I would like to thank my family and close friends for their

continuous support and encouragement.
















TABLE OF CONTENTS

page

A C K N O W L E D G M E N T S ................................................................................................. iii

LIST OF TABLES ..................................... .. .......... .................................... vi

LIST OF FIGURES ............................. .. .......... .................................... vii

A B S T R A C T ..................................................................................................................... v iii

CHAPTER

1 IN TR O D U C T IO N ........ .. ......................................... ..........................................1.

P u rp o se ....................................................................................................... ........ .. 2
Research Hypotheses ........................... .. ......... ............ ...............3
A ssu m p tio n s ........................................................................................................ .. 5
S ig n ific a n c e ......................................................................................................... 5
D elim itatio n s........................................................................................................ ..

2 IMPRESSION MANAGEMENT THROUGH WORKPLACE DESIGN................ 9

T h eoretical B ackgrou n d ...................................... ... .......................... ..................... 10
Specific Design Elements That Influence Perception ............................................. 11
Perception of Control Conveyed by Office Design ..............................................12
Perception of Consideration Conveyed by Office Design.....................................14
Importance of Understanding Users' Perceptions ................................................17
C o n c lu sio n ............................................................................................................... .. 1 8

3 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY ......................................................................20

E nvironm ental Sam pling .................................................................... ................ 2 1
S tag e 1 .............. ..................................................................................... . 2 1
S ta g e 2 ............................................................................................................ . 2 2
S ta g e 3 ............................................................................................................. . 2 5
S ta g e 4 ............................................................................................................ . 2 7
P ilo t S tu d y .............................................................................................................. . 3 9
P articipant Sam pling ... .. ........................................... ........................ .... ......... 39
P ro c e d u re ................................................................................................................. ... 4 0
L im itatio n s ............................................................................................................... .. 4 2









4 F IN D IN G S .................................................................................................................. 4 4

Two Dimensions of Meaning Underlie Students' Impressions: Consideration and
Control ............... .. ........ ........................................................ 44
Students Would Form Different Impressions of Consideration and Control Across
the 8 C om panies R presented ............................................................... ............... 49
Students' Impressions of Consideration, Control, and Liking to Work for the
C o m p a n ie s .............................................................................................................. 5 2
C o n c lu sio n ............................................................................................................... .. 5 3

5 DISCUSSIONS AND CONCLUSIONS...............................................................54

Two Dimensions of Meaning Underlie Students' Impressions: Consideration and
Control ............... .. ........ ........................................................ 56
Students Would Form Different Impressions of Consideration and Control Across
the 8 Com panies Represented ........................................................ 57
C o n sid eratio n ....................................................................................................... 5 8
C control ................... ........... ... ... .. ..... ............... ......... ........... 62
Relative Strength of Consideration as Opposed to Control................................66
Students' Impressions of Consideration, Control, and Liking to Work for the
C o m p an ie s ............... ... ...................................................................................... 6 8
Suggestions for Further R esearch.......................................................... ................ 69
Suggestions for Architects, Designers, Corporate Planners, and Corporate
M a n a g e rs ............................................................................................................. .. 7 1
C o n c lu sio n ............................................................................................................... .. 7 2

APPENDIX

A THE 23 SEMANTIC DIFFERENTIAL SCALES FOR JUDGING THE
PHOTOGRAPHS ..................................... ............................. 73

B STUDEN T QUESTION AIRE ................................... ...................... ................ 75

L IST O F R EFE R E N C E S .... ....................................................................... ................ 85

BIO GR APH ICAL SK ETCH .................................................................... ................ 89















LIST OF TABLES


Table page

3-1 List of the dimensions that were controlled and the variables that were
systematically manipulated (independent variables)...........................................23

3-2 The 23 semantic differential scales developed in stage 2 for selecting the study
p h o to g rap h s .............................................................................................................. 2 4

3-3 The 23 semantic differential scales under 9 different categories ..........................26

4-1 Factor loadings for consideration ........................................................ ................ 47

4-2 F actor loadings for control ........................................ ....................... ................ 48

4-3 Mean scores for factor 1 (consideration) and factor 2 (control)...............................50

5-1 M ost considerate (slides 4 and 2) ........................................................ ................ 59

5-2 Moderate in consideration (slides 8, 6, and 7) ....................................................59

5-3 L east considerate (slides 3, 5, and 1) .................................................. ................ 61

5-4 M ost controlling (slides 5, 1, 3, and 7)................................................ ................ 64

5-5 M moderate in control (slide 8) ............................................................... ................ 64

5-6 Least controlling (slides 2, 6, and 4) ................................................... ................ 65















LIST OF FIGURES

Figure page

3-1 R exception area slide 1 ............. ................. ............................................... 31

3-2 R exception area slide 2 .. .................................................................... ................ 32

3-3 R exception area slide 3 ................... ................................................................ 33

3-4 R exception area slide 4 .. .................................................................... ................ 34

3-5 R exception area slide 5 ................... ................................................................ 35

3-6 R exception area slide 6 .. .................................................................... ................ 36

3-7 R exception area slide 7 .. .................................................................... ................ 37

3-8 R exception area slide 8 .................... ............................................................... 38

4-1 H ierarchical cluster analysis....................................... ...................... ................ 45

5-1 C hart for consideration .................................................................. ................ 62

5-2 C h art for control ....................................................................................................... 6 6















Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Interior Design

FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF OFFICE RECEPTION SPACES: COMMUNICATING
SYMBOLIC MEANINGS THROUGH DESIGN ELEMENTS AND FURNISHING
ARRANGEMENTS

By

Jahae Park

May 2005

Chair: M. Joyce Hasell
Major Department: Interior Design

My study examined specific influences that design elements and arrangement of

furnishings within office reception areas might have on first impressions held by visitors.

My study was conducted to contribute to the growing literature on the importance of

office design (especially of reception areas) on individual's impressions of organizations.

Based on Ornstein's study and suggestions made by the ecological perceptions and

information-processing approaches, the following hypotheses were developed and tested:

(1) consideration and control will underlie participants' impressions of companies as a

result of viewing slides of reception area designs, (2) participants will have different

impressions of the office spaces represented based on the design elements and

arrangements of furnishings, and (3) participants will show a preference for working in

firms that appear more considerate than controlling.

My general study approach involved briefly showing the participants slides of 8

different office reception areas. Reception area photographs were obtained from









commercial designers and published books. Three judges with expertise in design were

instrumental in systematically assessing and selecting the appropriate photographs for the

study. Study participants included 102 graduate students. Participants were shown 8

different office reception area slides and were asked to indicate their first impressions of

these companies by completing 12 semantic differential scales for each slide.

Additionally, the students were asked to indicate (on a 9-point scale) how much they

would like to work for the company represented in the photograph.

Hierarchical cluster and factor analysis revealed that the students distinguished 2

dimensions of meaning (consideration and control) connoted by the slides of the office

reception areas. According to the ANOVAs and post hoc analyses, students formed

different impressions of consideration and control across the 8 companies represented.

Moreover, it was found that the students clearly preferred to work for the firms they

found considerate based on their first visual impression.

Further research is required to examine the influence of design elements and

arrangement of furnishings in office reception areas on individual's impressions of

companies. My study empirically validates the notion that the design of an office

reception area-including elements such as form, architectural finish materials, and

furniture arrangements-communicates meanings about companies and influence first-

time visitors' impressions.














CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION

My study examined the influences that the design of individual office reception

areas may have on impressions held by first-time visitors. Eight carefully selected slides

of interior spaces with a variety of design elements and arrangements of furnishings were

assessed in terms of how they communicated meanings to respondents. Meaning defined

here is "nonverbal communication from the environment to people" (Rapoport, 1990, p.

178). Thus far, very little attention has been dedicated to examining the meanings

communicated by office design, especially reception areas (Goodrich, 1986; Ornstein,

1992). Meanings conveyed by office environments, particularly, reception areas where

visitors first come into contact with most companies, may be an important determinant of

their initial impressions of a company (Ornstein, 1989b, 1992).

Corporate image is defined as "the way organization members believe others see

their organization" (Hatch & Schultz, 1997, p. 358). Yee & Gustafson (1983) believe

that the company's image is born at the entrance and reception area. According to

Gifford (1997), most companies are aware that the impression of an organization

depends, in part, on visitor impressions of reception areas. Additionally, Ornstein

(1989a, p. 145) found that "objects commonly found in reception areas influence

impressions." Thus, most designers intentionally attempt to create specific impressions

through their design, particularly in reception areas (Gifford, 2002). However, designers,

because they lack research to guide their actions, may not clearly understand the

meanings that individual design elements or arrangements may convey to the public.









To understand individuals' impressions of the slides of office reception areas, a

convenience sample of 102 graduate students in a University classroom setting was

identified. The methodology of using slides of office reception areas is consistent with

other studies in which the connotative meanings and individuals' impressions were

examined (Ornstein, 1992). Specifically, Ornstein studied how the arrangement of

furniture, presence of artwork, plants, floral arrangements, and magazines connote

meanings that college students and business executives used in forming impressions

about companies (Ornstein, 1992). However, her research did not clearly examine how

the three-dimensional shape of the space on its form, lighting quality, color contrasts, and

architectural finish materials convey meanings and influence people's impressions of

organizations. To help designers understand and predict which meanings are conveyed

by particular design elements in reception areas, my study had a twofold intention: a) to

include companies that are representative of high-end corporate interiors; and b) to

expand the number of design elements included in a series of slides evaluated by research

participants.

Purpose

My study examined specific influences that selected design elements and furniture

arrangements within reception areas may have on first impressions held by outsiders. My

study focused on the following variables: forms (organic vs. orthogonal); lighting quality

(bright, moderate, and dim); colors (high, moderate, and low contrasts); finish materials

of floors and walls (soft vs. hard); presence of artwork/plants/flowers; and arrangement

of furnishings (informal seating arrangements that facilitate interaction vs. formal ones

that do not). These variables were selected based on their relevance to various design

elements and principles recommended by different scholars (Ching, 1996; Malnar &









Vadvarka, 1992; Pile, 1988). Hence, my study (1) evaluated dimensions of meaning

underlying general impressions of companies based on the viewing of slides of office

reception areas, and (2) determined whether these dimensions are a salient enough basis

for people to use to differentiate among companies.

Research Hypotheses

Two of study's hypotheses are derived from Ornstein's (1992) findings. Her study

used slides of office reception areas and found that two dimensions of meaning

(consideration and control) are connoted by various types of physical symbols (e.g.,

artwork, plants, and flowers) and furniture arrangements. According to Gifford (2002, p.

363), consideration is defined as "warmth, comfort, ease, and goodness of

communication." On the other hand, control can be defined as "order, stability, and

rigidity" (Gifford, 2002, p. 362). Furthermore, Ornstein (1992) found that there was a

relationship between a person's impressions of consideration and their liking to work for

that firm. Specifically, the participants preferred to work for the firms they perceive as

considerate (Ornstein, 1992).

Another hypothesis was derived from the suggestions made by the ecological

perceptions (Gibson, 1979) and information-processing (Schnieder & Schriffrin, 1977)

approaches. Specifically, my study tested two contrasting theoretical perspectives.

According to the ecological perceptions approach:

The placement of objects in the environment physically allows for or affords only
certain types of behaviors. For example, a large reception desk placed very near
the front of a reception area physically blocks passage to the rest of the room thus
allowing only limited freedom of movement and access. Based on these
allowances or affordances, it is suggested that people form impressions. In this
case, the restricted movement and access may translate into impressions of an
organization where there is a lot of control and minimal autonomy (Omstein,
1989b, p. 416).









This theory suggests that the "symbols themselves afford people useful information

that should remain constant regardless of the context" (Ornstein, 1986, p. 225). On the

other hand, the information-processing approach by Schnieder & Schriffrin (1977)

proposes that "people process information about the environment and form cognitive

schema consistent with their prior experiences" (Ornstein, 1992, p. 88). This theory

suggests that "the various elements of office design are imbued with meanings and

images as a result of individuals' repeated contact with these objects in varied contexts"

(Ornstein, 1989b, p. 416). For example, Duffy (1969) believes that wood office furniture

suggests higher status than metal furniture. As people come to associate wood furniture

with high ranking executives, the wood office furniture comes to connote higher status.

Likewise, the informational-processing approach proposes that "symbols should take on

different meanings under different circumstances" (Ornstein, 1986, p. 225).

Ornstein's seminal work established that design elements in the reception areas

convey meaning. Exactly how design elements "communicate" with a visitor is not well

understood, but the literature reviewed here pertaining to the ecological perceptions and

information-processing approaches has indicated how visitors may derive meaning from

design elements. Thus, my study re-tested Ornstein's (1992, p. 88) 2 hypotheses, with a

new and different set of slides and different research participants. My third hypothesis

was based on Ornstein's (1992) overall findings. Specifically, hypothesis 1 posits that

consideration and control will underlie participants' impressions of companies as a result

of viewing slides of reception area designs. Using suggestions made by the ecological

perceptions and information-processing approaches, hypothesis 2 asserts that participants

will have different impressions of the office spaces represented based on the design









elements and arrangements of furnishings. Finally, based on Ornstein's (1992) overall

findings, hypothesis 3 is that participants will show a preference for working in firms that

appear more considerate than controlling.

Assumptions

Several assumptions underlie my study. First, it is assumed that many designers

attempt to convey a company's image through office design, especially in reception

areas. This assumption is based on the literature that suggested reception areas are often

designed specifically to create certain impressions (Steele, 1973; Ornstein, 1992).

Second, it is assumed that all of the reception area photographs used in my study, which

were obtained from recently published books showcasing contemporary interior design,

represented high-end corporate interiors. In order to test this assumption, a panel of

experts systematically reviewed the photographs and confirmed that all of the

photographs were comparable. Finally, it was assumed that the graduate students who

were the research participants in my study have enough life experiences to register

meaningful evaluations of the spaces under review.

Significance

Office design can communicate important impressions that may influence the

recruitment of managerial and secretarial staff (Klein & Ritti, 1980). Similarly, the office

environment "may be very influential in communicating the firm's image and purpose to

its customers" particularly within service organizations (Bitner, 1992, p. 57).

Furthermore, Bitner (1992, p. 61) assumed that customers come "to a particular service

organization with a goal or purpose that may be aided or hindered by the setting." As a

result, the study of the influence of the office design, especially public spaces such as









reception areas "on impression formation seems vital to a more complete understanding

of both how and what people learn about organizations" (Ornstein, 1992, p. 86).

Few studies in the literature have provided evidence as to what impressions may be

conveyed when the designers attempt to use specific elements of office design as a means

of "impression management" (Ornstein, 1989b. p. 411). Furthermore, Ornstein (1989b,

p. 417) asserted that "the processes through which various facets of office design come to

convey messages and influence impressions have received little attention in the office

design literature to date." Even though Ornstein's suggestion occurred more than 15

years ago, there remain relatively, a small number of studies that have examined how

people assign meanings to environmental design elements and how the relative weight of

each design element impacts on individual's impressions of an organization.

Although there are repeated claims about the meanings that certain finish materials

such as wood vs. stone flooring connote (Bitner, 1992; Davis, 1984; Jarmel, 2003), there

are hardly any empirical studies (Danko, 2000; Ridoutt, Ball, & Killerby, 2002) to

identify what these meanings are and if there are any patterns. Furthermore, there are

many claims that colors communicate meanings and influence impressions of companies

(Jarmel, 2003; Duffy, 1990), but few provide empirical evidence (Ornstein, 1989b) to

support their claims. Very few studies (Hendrick, Martyniuk, Spencer, & Flynn, 1977)

specifically focused on impressions resulting from differences in lighting quality and

brightness (Ornstein, 1989b). Additionally, not much is understood about symbolic

meanings communicated by architectural forms and layout of furnishings and how it

influences overall first impressions of a corporate setting.









My study aims to contribute to the empirical foundation which designers may use

to make decisions about the impressions conveyed by design elements and arrangements

of furnishings. Hence, the results of my study will offer insights into the meanings

underlying certain furniture arrangements and design elements in reception areas.

According to Moleski & Lang (1986, p. 14), "the selection of design features must be

consistent with the culture of the company and should be appropriate to the messages it

wants to convey." Hence, this research will also help business managers and corporate

planners to select design elements that are consistent with the culture of their company

and identify the appropriate messages that an organization wants to convey in the minds

of clients, visitors, and the potential recruits to the company. According to Ornstein

(1989b, p. 422), this kind of information may be useful for managers who want to "create

certain impressions in the minds of employees, clients, and other outsiders."

Delimitations

Each of the 8 photograph used in my study was selected from published books

showcasing contemporary corporate interior design. The companies that were

represented in the photographs were located within the United States, such as California,

Colorado, Texas, and New York. One of the companies was located in Seoul, Korea. All

of the companies had 25 or more employees. Therefore, the sizes of the firms were

medium to large companies.

My study excluded architecture/interior design/landscape architecture students as

research participants, since designers tend to perceive the environment differently than

non-designers. For example, according to Gifford (2002), architects and designers view

their designs differently from those who will occupy the designs. Since one of the major






8


goals of my study was to help designers understand users' (non-designers') impressions,

non-design students were specifically included.














CHAPTER 2
IMPRESSION MANAGEMENT THROUGH WORKPLACE DESIGN

Corporations and other major organizations take great care in decisions about all

facets of their organization. Obviously this applies to the products and services offered,

but the corporate symbols (ranging from letterhead, logos, to architecture) which

represent the organizations are also scrutinized intensely. Consequently, the design of an

organization's offices is potentially an important component of the organization's overall

image. The purpose of my study was to examine how particular design elements and

furniture arrangements within office reception areas influence the first-time visitor's

perceptions of an organization. According to Gifford (2002, p. 21), environmental

perception is "the initial gathering of information." Environmental perception "includes

the ways and means by which we collect information through all our senses" (Gifford,

2002, p. 21).

There is a growing literature on the influence of office design on the impressions of

occupants and visitors to offices. Steele (1973, 1986) and Steele & Jenks (1977) have

repeatedly indicated that the design of an organization's offices is important in

influencing people's impressions of the organization. Likewise, Ornstein (1989a, p. 145)

claimed that office design not only influences attitudes and behaviors, "it also influences

impressions through the conveyance of symbolic messages; that is, different elements of

office design connote messages and images that people then use in forming impressions

about the company." Becker (2004, p. 4) also believes that "the physical cues of the

office send environmental messages." Becker & Steele (1995) and Ornstein (1986,









1989b, 1992) have also argued that people form first impressions of organizations based

on the design of the reception areas.

The following chapter presents a review of the literature regarding: (1) two

theoretical perspectives that explain how visitors may derive meaning from design

elements; (2) specific design elements that influence perception; (3) perception of control

conveyed by office design; (4) perception of consideration conveyed by office design;

(5) an importance of understanding users' perceptions; and (6) conclusion.

Theoretical Background

Before discussing specific messages that were found to be communicated by

various facets of office design, 2 theoretical perspectives must be reviewed. According

to Ornstein (1992), "the conceptual suggestions and empirical findings that placement of

furnishings influences impressions suggest that this dimension serves a symbolic function

by connoting meanings and images about organizations" (p. 87). She further

distinguished between two contrasting theories which predict how placement of

furnishings is translated into meaningful information. One view is offered by the

ecological perceptions approach identified by Gibson (1979). Ornstein (1989b) claimed

that this theory "provides one explanation for the manner in which the physical setting

can come to have meaning for people" (p. 416). Specifically, Gibson (1979) indicated

that "elements of the physical environment afford opportunities for certain types of

behaviors. Based on these affordances, it is suggested that people form impressions of

the importance, desirability, and acceptability of the behavior" (Ornstein, 1992, p. 87).

According to this theory, "certain arrangements of cues give the perceivers direct,

immediate perceptions of the environment" (Gifford, 2002, p. 29). For instance, informal

seating arrangements, such as chairs placed at a right angle facilitate social interaction,









where as formal seating arrangements, such as chairs placed back-to-back discourage

social interaction (Gifford, 2002; Ornstein, 1992). Thus, the arrangement of chairs may

imply "something to the perceiver about the importance of communication in this setting"

(Omstein, 1992, p. 87). "This theory may best explain how the physical arrangement of

the office comes to take on meanings that are used in forming impressions" (Omstein,

1989b, p. 416).

The other way in which "layout of furnishings may come to act as a symbol is

suggested by the information-processing approach to perception" (Omstein, 1992, p. 88).

Ornstein (1989b, p. 416) indicated that this theory "helps explain how elements of the

office come to acquire meanings." The information-processing approach identified by

Schneider & Schiffrin (1977), proposes that "people process information about the

environment and form cognitive schema consistent with their prior experiences"

(Omstein, 1992, p. 88). Schema is defined as "active organization of past reactions or

past experiences, which must always supposed to the operating in any well adapted,

organic response" (Retrieved from http://blue.csbs.albany.edu:8000/730/week5.html).

"This also helps explain how style of furnishings and other physical symbols may come

to serve a symbolic function. In these cases the objects themselves are imbued with

meanings and images as a result of individuals' repeated contact with these objects in

varied contexts" (Omstein, 1992, p. 88).

Specific Design Elements That Influence Perception

Given that perceptions of an organization are communicated by design elements,

the literature has also addressed specific design features which influence perception. For

example, Duffy (1990) intuitively assumed that colors and materials are essential

elements in corporate image projection, both to visitors and employees. Similarly, Yee &









Gustafson (1983) believed that materials can make a significant difference in establishing

corporate image. Furthermore, they indicated that "softness of the materials lets visitors

know whether this is a formal, strictly business office or a more informal, comfortable

type of place" (Yee & Gustafson, 1983, p. 163). Moreover, Bitner (1992, p. 66) believed

that quality of materials used, artwork, and floor coverings in the environment "can all

communicate symbolic meaning and create an overall aesthetic impression." In an

unpublished study (cited by Ornstein, 1989b), Ornstein used slides of office reception

areas to examine business executives' impressions of organizations. Essentially, she

found that style of furnishings and color schemes contributed to executives' impressions

of organizations (Ornstein, 1989b).

Davis (1984) believed that the physical environment within an organization is

composed of physical structure and symbolic artifacts. Davis defined physical structure

as the "architectural design and placement of furnishings in a building that influence or

regulate social interaction" (Davis, 1984, p. 272). On the other hand, "symbolic artifacts

are aspects of the physical setting that individually or collectively guide the interpretation

of the social setting" (Davis, 1984, p. 276). For example, symbolic artifacts include type

and style of furnishings, type of flooring materials, and the color of the walls. Davis

argued that these items (physical structure and symbolic artifacts) "all tend to

communicate information about the organization and the people who work there" (Davis,

1984, p. 277).

Perception of Control Conveyed by Office Design

In the design of offices, many companies attempt to convey a specific corporate

image. Various scholars (Jarmel, 2003; Gifford, 1997, 2002; Ornstein, 1989a, 1989b)

and researchers (Ornstein, 1986, 1992) suggested that the method by which positive









impressions are created vary in two important ways. One view is that in order to create a

positive impression, conveying a message of control (order, stability, and rigidity) is

important (Gifford, 1997, 2002). Similarly, Jarmel (2003) claimed that in law offices,

they use their office space to convey an image of power and control. Thus, "the space

can become a critical influence in gaining leverage in negotiations" (Jarmel, 2003, p. 20).

Messages can convey control by the display of corporate flags, official seals, logos,

and emblems (Gifford, 1997, 2002). Gifford's claim is supported by various empirical

studies. For example, Ornstein (1986) showed various reception area drawings to the

university students and found that certain office props (e.g., flags, pictures of

organizational leaders, and logos) influenced impressions of the organization.

Specifically, she found that impressions of the degree to which an organization is

structured and allows for employee autonomy were influenced by the presence of

authority symbols, such as flags, pictures of organizational leaders, logos, and restrictive

signs (Ornstein, 1986). Furthermore, Ornstein's findings were supported by Goodsell's

research. Even through Goodsell (1977) did not assess people's impressions, he visited

various offices and found that different types of organizations manipulated aspects of the

physical setting to promote a particular professional image. Specifically, he found that

authority organizations, such as state drivers licensing agencies, police stations, displayed

props such as photographs of organizational leaders, flags, logos, and seals in their

reception areas (Goodsell, 1977).

People not only form impressions based on the office props (e.g., flags, logos and

seals) but also on design elements such as style of furnishings. In an unpublished study

(cited by Ornstein, 1989b), Ornstein showed slides of office reception areas to a group of









executives and found that traditional and early American furnishings conveyed a message

of stability and structure. Although Ornstein (1989b) does not validate her claim with

empirical evidence, she argued that furniture arrangement such as placement of reception

desk within the company's reception area can convey impressions of control. For

instance, according to Ornstein (1989b), "a large reception desk placed very near the

front of a reception area physically blocks passage to the rest of the room thus allowing

only limited freedom of movement and access" (p. 416). She believed that in this case,

the restricted movement and access may translate into impressions of an organization

indicating there is considerable control and minimal autonomy (Ornstein, 1989b). In

summary, studies and literature show that office props (e.g., flags, logos, and pictures of

organization leaders) and also, style and layout of furnishings can be used to convey an

image of control to first-time visitors.

Perception of Consideration Conveyed by Office Design

To create a positive impression, conveying a message of consideration (warmth,

comfort, ease and goodness of communication) is important for organizations (Gifford,

1997, 2002). Specifically, Gifford indicated that a message of consideration is conveyed

by plants, art, magazines and furniture arranged in a sociopetal manner (e.g., furnishings

that allow for greater ease of communication, such as the chairs set at right angles) in the

reception areas (Gifford, 1997, 2002). Gifford's claims were supported by other

empirical studies (Goodsell, 1977; Ornstein, 1986, 1992). For example, by actually

visiting various offices, Goodsell (1977) found that service organizations displayed a

large number of elements, such as plants, artwork, magazines, and upholstered seating to

make visitors feel comfortable. Thus, Goodsell's findings suggest that the style of

furniture might have an affect on impressions.









In an unpublished study (cited by Ornstein, 1989b, p. 419), Ornstein showed slides

of office reception areas to a group of business executives and found that "modern

furnishings with softer edges send messages about flexibility, warmth, and comfort." In a

follow up study, Ornstein (1992) showed slides of office reception areas to a group of

students and executives. Specifically, she found that upholstered couches send message

of consideration (Ornstein, 1992). Thus, Ornstein's results are consistent with Goodsell's

findings that upholstered furnishings connote messages about comfort. Moreover,

Ornstein (1992) also found that arrangements of furnishings that allow for greater ease of

communication (e.g., seating arranged at right angles) were perceived as more

comfortable than arrangements that make communication difficult or tense (e.g., chairs

placed directly facing one another). Overall, Ornstein's studies suggest that furniture

arrangements (seating arranged at right angles) and furniture style, (soft materials, such

as upholstered furnishings) pictured in the reception areas connote meanings of comfort

or consideration.

A study by Ridoutt et al. (2002) provided more specific information about how

materials are related to perceptions. They investigated the symbolic meanings

communicated by wood when it is used in office interiors. Specifically, they showed

color photographs to the students to examine their impressions of companies. There was

overwhelming preference by participants to work for organizations displaying wood in

their interior office environment. Adjectives such as energetic, personal, and comfortable

were used by participants in the study to describe the organizations where wood were

used in the interior spaces.









Danko (2000, p. 1) used a "qualitative research method called narrative or life

stories in combination with a traditional case study approach" to explore the role of

design in supporting strategic leadership initiatives related to recruitment and retention.

Specifically by conducting face-to-face interviews with the executive level recruit, she

found that an individual's "first tangible evidence of corporate culture came through

materials and finishes which signaled a climate of open communication" (p. 16). For

example, she noted that extensive use of glass and modern woods produce strong positive

first impressions of an unpretentious culture (Danko, 2000). Likewise, Duffy (1990) also

believed that materials such as wood and fabrics convey warmth.

The color of the room has been investigated to determine whether the color variable

makes a difference in impressions. For example, in an unpublished study (cited by

Ornstein, 1989b), Ornstein used slides of office reception areas and found that executives

perceived office reception areas with blue color tones comfortable, while brown and

wheat colors were perceived as the least comfortable. These results are corroborated by

other empirical studies (Eysenck, 1941; Sharpe, 1974), suggesting that "blue tones are

frequently identified as the most soothing and calming of the primary and secondary

colors" (Ornstein, 1989b, p. 419).

Although Yee & Gustafson (1983) did not provide any evidences to show

impressions of the visitors, they provided an example of a company's headquarters that

were redesigned to create an image of comfort. Specifically, they pointed out that the

interior architect used predominately red office colors with warm-toned paintings,

textured fabrics, and soft, well-cushioned seating (Yee & Gustafson, 1983). Furthermore,









they acclaimed that these elements were all designed to allow the visitor to "feel welcome

and comfortable, and encourage interaction" (Yee & Gustafson, 1983, p. 163).

Although a small number of studies have specifically focused on impressions

conveyed from differences in lighting, there is evidence that the amount and type of

lighting influences impressions (Ornstein, 1989b). For example, upon entering the same

room with different lighting arrangement, Flynn, Spencer, Martyniuk, and Hendrick

(1973) found that impressions of spaciousness, friendliness, and pleasantness were

affected by changes in a room's lighting. Similarly, Hendrick, Martyniuk, Spencer, and

Flynn (1977) used slides of a room with different lighting arrangement and also found

that impressions of spaciousness, friendliness, and pleasantness were affected by changes

in a room's lighting. Particularly, these researchers (Flynn et al., 1973; Hendrick et al.,

1977) found that people reported more positive impressions of spaciousness, friendliness,

and pleasantness when peripheral wall lighting was used, rather than overhead diffuse

lighting. Moreover, by using slides of a room, Hendrick et al. (1977) found that when the

type of lighting is held constant (e.g., overhead diffuse lighting), brighter illumination

(100 footcandles), it resulted in reported impressions of more spaciousness, friendliness,

and pleasantness than did darker illumination (10 footcandles). Overall, the literature

reviewed here provides support for the claim that office props (e.g., plants, artwork, and

magazines), style and arrangement of furnishings, materials, colors, and lighting can be

effectively used to convey a message of consideration within organizations.

Importance of Understanding Users' Perceptions

Although meanings are an integral part of the design concept, Rengel (2003)

believes that not many designers are aware of their role in conveying meanings through

design. Furthermore, in order to communicate meanings through design, designers need









to understand how design elements are interpreted by people. However, there is

relatively little research to help designers predict how their designs will be interpreted by

the user's perspective. Hence, scholars have cited the need for further research. For

example, Rapoport claimed that meaning generally, and specifically users' meaning, has

tended to be neglected in the environment-behavior studies, yet it is of central importance

to understanding user's perceptions (Rapoport, 1990).

To communicate an image, the sender of the message must understand the visual
language of those receiving it. Therefore, the analysis has to include knowledge of
what meanings various users, that is staff, management, investors, consumers, and
the public, give to environmental design elements (Moleski & Wang, 1986, p. 14).

Thus, understanding how people perceive or assign meanings to various design elements

within a natural setting of an office reception area could help designers and corporate

planners to predict human responses to the design features. Moreover, study of meanings

could help designers to understand the symbolic and aesthetic characteristics of design

features when designing office environments.

Conclusion

In conclusion, many studies have supported the notion that office props, such as

flags, logos, artwork, plants, and flowers connote meanings that individuals use in

forming impressions about organizations. However, few studies have examined the

meanings connoted by different facets of office design, and how these affect an

individual's impression. This is an area where those writers in the field have offered

many seemingly excellent "ideas" but few have provided empirical data with supporting

evidence that can clarify how various design features and elements connote meanings that

people use in forming impressions about companies. Studies that offer evidence show

that various design elements, such as style of furnishings, arrangement of furnishings,






19


architectural finish materials, colors, and lighting influence individual's impressions.

Despite a promising start, more research is needed to test the specific meanings connoted

by different design elements and arrangements of furnishings and their relationship to

first-time visitor's impressions about organizations.














CHAPTER 3
RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

My study examined whether or not the design elements and arrangements of

furnishings within office reception areas connote meanings that people use in forming

impressions about companies. To identify the salient design elements and arrangements

of furnishings for first-time office visitors, the study approach involved presenting slides

of 8 different companies' reception areas to the study sample. These research

participants indicated their first impressions of these companies by completing 12

semantic differential scales for each slide. Additionally, they were asked to indicate on a

9-point scale, how much they would like to work for the company represented in the

photograph.

The photographs of office reception areas used in this research were obtained from

commercial designers and published books. The photograph selection process involved

an expert panel who were instrumental in selecting the appropriate photographs for the

study. Specifically, a four-stage process was used to select the study photographs. In

stage 1, 79 photographs were collected from the designers and published books. Stage 2

involved developing a scale to identify elements and principles of design in all

photographs. During stage 3, the researcher systematically reviewed the photographs

using this scale and judged 28 photographs to be appropriate for the next stage. Finally,

stage 4 involved a panel of experts systematically reviewing photographs using the same

scale developed in stage 2 to select the 8 photographs for the main study. This chapter









specifically describes each of these 4 stages, as well as a pilot study, participant

sampling, procedures, and limitations.

Environmental Sampling

In order to assess how design elements and furniture arrangements within office

reception areas influence individual's impressions, the research participants were shown

color slides of office reception areas for 2 minutes. According to Power (1978),

photographs and color slides have been used successfully by researchers to simulate real

scenes. Additionally, this method of examining meanings connoted by various facets of

the interior environment via slides has been used in numerous empirical studies

(Campbell, 1979; Hendrick, Martyniuk, Spencer, & Flynn, 1977; Ornstein, 1992).

The focus of my study was reception areas. This area of the office environment

was chosen for several reasons. First, an individual's initial impression of a company is

most likely to be formed while waiting in a company's reception area (Ornstein, 1992).

Second, reception areas are often carefully designed to send specific desired messages

(Ornstein, 1992; Steele, 1973; Stimpson, 1988). Third, the reception/waiting area is the

primary control area for any office. It is where visitors first come into contact with most

organizations and is an important determinant of their initial impressions of companies

(Ornstein, 1992). For the present study, a 4 stage process was followed to select

appropriate reception area photographs for the study.

Stage 1

In stage 1, numerous photographs of office reception areas were collected from 2

sources: (1) professional design firms in the Southeast United States, and (2) published

corporate interior design books. The process of obtaining photographs from design firms

was initiated via a letter which was sent to 13 professional designers who serve on the









Advisory Board for the Department of Interior Design at the University of Florida. These

designers were invited to participate in my study by providing photographs from office

reception areas that they had recently designed. Four design firms responded and

submitted a total of 41 photographs of office reception areas.

The researcher also selected 38 photographs from four different corporate interior

design books (Yee, 2001; Abercrombie, 1998; Abercrombie, 1997; Slatin, 2001).

Specifically, the photographs that showed both reception area desk and the waiting area

furniture were selected for my study. To use these photographs from corporate interior

design books, a letter requesting permission and listing specific photographs was sent to 2

publishers of corporate design books. Specifically letters were sent to a publisher at the

Visual Reference/Retail Reporting Publications and also to a publisher at the Edizioni

Press Publications, to request permission to use these photographs. Permission was

obtained from the Visual Reference/Retail Reporting Publications to use 31 photographs

from three of their books, which include the following: Yee (2001), Abercrombie (1998),

and Abercrombie (1997). For one of the books originally published by Edizioni Press, it

was learned that The Switzer Group owned the copyright of the photographs from Slatin

(2001). Therefore, permission to use the 7 photographs from Slatin (2001) was obtained

from the president of the Switzer Group.

Stage 2

At the conclusion of stage 1, 79 photographs had been selected. However, the

photographs selected differed on several dimensions which were not relevant to the

present study but which nevertheless could influence viewer perceptions of organizations.

For example, the photographs of the specific reception areas chosen in stage 1 did not

come from organizations similar in size and industry. Hence, the purpose of stage 2 was









to develop a scale to control for possible influences of dimensions such as spatial

evaluation (e.g., quality) and contemporary/traditional style (e.g., furniture, artwork,

detailing). In addition, there was a need to control for various design principles such as

spatial relationships (e.g., proportion and spaciousness) and unity (e.g., similar design

style, cohesiveness) within these reception areas (Table 3-1). However, design elements,

such as forms, lighting quality, color contrasts, finish materials, presence of

artwork/plants/flowers, and furniture arrangements were systematically manipulated

(Table 3-1).

Table 3-1. List of the dimensions that were controlled and the variables that were
systematically manipulated (independent variables)
Dimensions that were controlled Variables that were systematically
manipulated (independent variables)
Spatial evaluation Lines and shapes/form
(e.g., quality, expensiveness) (organic vs. orthogonal)
Spatial relationships Lighting quality
(e.g., spaciousness, proportion) (dim, moderate, bright)
Unity Color
(e.g., similar style) (low, moderate, high contrast)
Contemporary/traditional Finish materials
(e.g., furniture, artwork, detailing) (soft vs. hard materials)
Artwork, plants, and flowers
(present vs. absent)
Seating arrangement
(informal vs. formal)

The goal of stage 3 was to select photographs while controlling for spatial

evaluation, spatial relationships, unity, and contemporary/traditional style. A second goal

of stage 3 was to systematically assess the photographs with respect to the following

dimensions: forms (organic vs. orthogonal), lighting quality (bright, moderate, and dim),

color (high, moderate, and low contrasts), the finish materials of floors and walls (soft vs.

hard), presence of artwork/plants/flowers, and also arrangement of furnishings (informal

seating arrangements that facilitate interaction vs. formal ones that do not). Therefore,









stage 2 involved developing a different scale for judging the photographs. To accomplish

these goals, semantic differential scales were created and used for the purpose of judging

the photographs (Table 3-2). According to Tagg (1974), visitor impressions of

differences between rooms can be measured with the semantic differential scales. These

items within the semantic differential were selected based on their relevance to various

design elements and principles (Ching, 1996; Malnar & Vodvarka, 1992; and Pile, 1988)

and their use in other empirical studies (Acking & Kuller, 1972; Hogg, Goodman, Porter,

Mikellides, & Preddy, 1979; and Hendrick et al., 1977).

Table 3-2. The 23 semantic differential scales developed in stage 2 for selecting the study
photographs
The 23 semantic differential scales
Expensive-Inexpensive
Fine-Substandard
High quality-Low quality
Spacious-Cramped
In Proportion-Out of Proportion
Unitary-Chaotic
Similar Style-Eclectic
Uncluttered-Cluttered
Contemporary furniture-Traditional furniture
Contemporary artwork-Traditional artwork
Contemporary detailing-Traditional detailing
Curved lines-Straight lines
Organic furnishings-Orthogonal furnishings
Organic architectural elements-Orthogonal architectural elements
Bright lighting-Dim lighting
Widows-Absence of windows
Concealed light fixtures-Exposed light fixtures
Low contrast color scheme-High contrast color scheme
Informal seating arrangement-Formal seating arrangement
Conversational seating arrangement-Airport seating arrangement
Seating arrangement facilitates social interaction-Seating arrangement
discourages social interaction
Artwork, plants, and flowers significantly present-Absence of artwork, plants,
and flowers
Soft materials-Hard materials









Stage 3

After gathering 79 photographs of office reception areas from published books and

from individual designers, stage 3 involved a systematic review of the photographs by the

researcher. In selecting photographs, the following dimensions were kept consistent in

all of the photographs: spatial evaluation, spatial relationships, contemporary/traditional

style, and unity. However, the following independent variables were systematically

manipulated: forms (organic vs. orthogonal), lighting quality (bright, moderate, and dim),

colors (high, moderate, and low contrasts), finish materials of floors and walls (soft vs.

hard), presence of artwork/plants/flowers, and furniture arrangements (informal seating

arrangements that facilitate interaction vs. formal ones that do not). Using a series of 23

semantic differential scales developed in stage 2 (See Appendix A), the researcher judged

the 79 photographs. More specifically, the researcher reviewed each of the 79

photographs and completed 23 semantic differential scales for each photograph.

The semantic differential scales were scored from 1 to 3 for each scale (1 indicates

high quality, in proportion, unitary, and contemporary space, organic forms, bright

lighting, low contrast colors, soft materials, presence of artwork/plants/flowers, and

informal seating arrangements). Scores were then summed across the scales. Since there

were 3 semantic differential scales under the categories of spatial evaluation, form, and

seating arrangement, these scores ranged from 3 to 9 (Table 3-3). Furthermore, as there

were 2 semantic differential scales under the categories spatial relationships and unity,

these scores ranged from 2 to 6 (Table 3-3). Moreover, because there were 4 semantic

differential scales under the categories of contemporary/traditional styles and

lighting/color evaluation, these scores ranged from 4 to 12 (Table 3-3). Finally, since









there was only one semantic differential scale under the categories artwork/plants/flowers

and materials, these scores ranged from 1 to 3 (Table 3-3).

Table 3-3. The 23 semantic differential scales under 9 different categories
Spatial Evaluation
Expensive-Inexpensive
Fine-Substandard
High quality-Low quality
Spatial Relationships
Spacious-Cramped
In Proportion-Out of Proportion
Unity
Unitary-Chaotic
Similar Style-Eclectic
Contemporary/Traditional
Uncluttered-Cluttered
Contemporary furniture-Traditional furniture
Contemporary artwork-Traditional artwork
Contemporary detailing-Traditional detailing
Lines and Shapes/Form
Curved lines-Straight lines
Organic furnishings-Orthogonal furnishings
Organic architectural elements-Orthogonal architectural elements
Lighting and Color Evaluation
Bright lighting-Dim lighting
Widows-Absence of windows
Concealed light fixtures-Exposed light fixtures
Low contrast color scheme-High contrast color scheme
Seating Arrangement
Informal seating arrangement-Formal seating arrangement
Conversational seating arrangement-Airport seating arrangement
Seating arrangement facilitates social interaction-Seating arrangement
discourages social interaction
Artwork/Plants/Flowers
Artwork, plants, and flowers significantly present-Absence of artwork, plants,
and flowers
Materials
Soft materials-Hard materials

Next, the scores for the spatial evaluation, spatial relationships, unity, and

contemporary/traditional categories were summed. Since there were 11 semantic

differential scales, these scores ranged from 11 to 33. The scores that ranged from 11 to









21 were considered to be expensive, high quality, spacious, in proportion, unitary, and/or

contemporary in style. On the other hand, the scores that ranged from 22 to 33 were

considered to be inexpensive, low quality, cramped, out of proportion, chaotic, and/or

traditional in style. Therefore, the photographs that had scores that ranged from 22 to 33

were excluded. This process resulted in 28 photographs that were high in quality,

proportionate, unitary, and contemporary in style, but varied in forms, lighting quality,

color contrasts, finish materials, presence of artwork/plants/flowers, and arrangements of

furnishings.

Stage 4

The final stage (stage 4) of the photograph selection process involved a panel of

judges with expertise in design. During this phase, the goal was to further reduce and

refine the photographs to be included in the study. This process resulted in the selection

of 8 photographs from the 28 photographs selected in stage 3. Specifically, degrees of

similarity of spatial evaluation, spatial relationships, unity, and contemporary style but

variety of architectural forms, lighting quality, color contrasts, finish materials, presence

of artwork/plants/flowers, and arrangements of furnishings within the photographs were

determined by the expert panel. The judges included one interior design faculty member

and two interior design PhD students at the University of Florida. Using the same 23

semantic items from the semantic differential scales used previously in stage 3 (See

Appendix A), each of the three judges was asked to rate each of the photograph on these

scales.

The responses from a panel of three judges to the semantic differential scales were

scored from 1 to 3 for each scale (1 indicates high quality, in proportion, unitary, and

contemporary space, organic forms, bright lighting, low contrast colors, soft materials,









presence of artwork/plants/flowers, and informal seating arrangements). Scores were

then summed across the scales. The scores for the spatial evaluation, spatial relationships,

unity, and contemporary/traditional categories were added for each of the three judges.

Since there were 11 semantic differential scales, these scores ranged from 11 to 33. The

scores that ranged from 11 to 21 were considered to be expensive, high quality, spacious,

in proportion, unitary, and/or contemporary in style. On the other hand, the scores that

ranged from 22 to 33 were considered to be inexpensive, low quality, cramped, out of

proportion, chaotic, and/or traditional in style. The responses from the judges indicated

that 2 of the photographs had scores higher than 22. Therefore, those 2 photographs were

excluded from the study. In the other 26 photographs, the scores for the spatial

evaluation, spatial relationships, unity, and contemporary/traditional dimensions were

low (under 21), which meant that these photographs were high in quality, in proportion,

unitary, and contemporary in style.

Next, the scores for the lines and shapes/form, lighting/color evaluation, finish

materials, artwork/plants/flowers, and seating arrangement categories were summed for

each of three judges. Since there were 12 semantic differential scales, these scores

ranged from 12 to 36. The scores that ranged from 12 to 24 were considered to have

organic forms, bright lighting, low contrast color scheme, soft materials, presence of

artwork/plants/flowers, and/or informal seating arrangements. On the other hand, the

scores that ranged from 25 to 36 were considered to have orthogonal forms, dim lighting,

high contrast color scheme, hard materials, absence of artwork/plants/flowers, and/or

formal seating arrangements. After the scores for the form, lighting/color evaluation,

finish materials, artwork/plants/flowers, and seating arrangement categories were









summed for each of three judges, the next step involved adding the three scores (total

scores for the 3 judges). These scores ranged from 36 to 108. The photographs with

lower scores meant that all of the three judges thought the photograph had organic forms,

bright lighting, low contrast color scheme, soft materials, artwork/plants/flowers present,

and/or informal seating arrangements.

The findings of Hendrick et al., (1977), Ornstein (1992), and Goodsell (1977)

suggest that design elements such as bright lighting, soft materials, presence of

artwork/plants/flowers, and informal seating arrangements used in interior office

environment/reception areas convey a message of consideration. However, it was

intuitively assumed that the organic forms and low contrast color scheme convey a

message of consideration. On the other hand, the photographs with higher scores meant

that the three judges thought the photograph had orthogonal forms, dim lighting, high

contrast color scheme, hard materials, absence of artwork/plants/flowers, and/or formal

seating arrangements. Ornstein (1992) found that presence of artwork/plants/flowers and

use of deep pile carpeting in the reception areas were seen as less controlling by the

students and the business executives. Hence, Ornstein's (1992) findings suggest that

absence of artwork/plants/flowers and hard materials (absence of soft materials) in office

reception areas can convey a message of control. For my study, orthogonal forms, dim

lighting, high contrast color scheme, and formal seating arrangements were intuitively

assumed to convey a message of control. Therefore, the photographs that had the lowest

and the highest scores were included in the study. During this phase, it was decided that

the researcher would exclude the photographs that had daylighting. Since the amount of

daylight coming into the interior space effects the light level in the interior, daylighting









was left out of the study. Therefore, 6 photographs that had windows to the exterior were

excluded from the study.

Based on the judges' evaluations, 8 photographs that were either low or high in the

dimensions of form, lighting/color evaluation, finish materials, artwork/plants/flowers,

and seating arrangement were selected to be used for the study (Figures 3-1 through 3-8).

These photographs were similar in quality, spatial relationships, unity, and contemporary

style, but varied in the degree of architectural forms, lighting quality, color contrasts,

finish materials, presence of artwork/plants/ flowers, and arrangements of furnishings.

Since all of these photographs were taken by professional photographers, the

quality of the photographs is excellent. The photographs focus on the general interiors of

the reception areas including walls, floor finish materials, and reception area furniture

(e.g., reception area desk and waiting area furniture). However, none of the photographs

include windows, any information that would disclose the identity of the corporation

pictured, or people. After the 8 photographs were selected, the researcher contacted the

individual copyright holder for each of the 8 photographs and obtained written

permissions to use the photographs in the study. The 8 photographs were then included

in a PowerPoint presentation.











































figure J-i. ivecepnon area sirae i. rrom design as an unaerstanaing oj me business
Environment: The Switzer Group, by P. Slatin, 2001, p. 31. Copyright 2001 by
The Switzer Group. Reprinted with permission of The Switzer Group.















































Figure 3-2. Reception area slide 2. From Corporate Interiors. No. 4, by R. Yee, 2001, p.
391. Copyright 2001 by the Visual Reference Publications. Reprinted with
permission of the Visual Reference Publications.




































igure 3-3. Reception area slide 3. From Corporate Interiors. No. 4, by R. Yee, 2001, p.
184. Copyright 2001 by the Visual Reference Publications. Reprinted with
permission of the Visual Reference Publications.



































igure 3-4. Reception area slide 4. From Corporate Interiors. No. 4, by R. Yee, 2001
99. Copyright 2001 by the Visual Reference Publications. Reprinted with
permission of the Visual Reference Publications.


































Figure 3-5. Reception area slide 5. From Corporate Interiors: Corporate Interiors Design
Book Series No. 1, by S. Abercrombie, 1997, p. 244. Copyright 1997 by the
Retail Reporting Corporation. Reprinted with permission of the Retail
Reporting Corporation.



















.L !


r ." -.-- =
Figure 3-6. Reception area slide 6. From Corporate Interiors. No. 4, by R. Yee, 2001, p.
78. Copyright 2001 by the Visual Reference Publications. Reprinted with
permission of the Visual Reference Publications.










































Figure 3-7. Reception area slide 7. From Design as an Understanding of the Business
Environment: The Switzer Group, by P. Slatin, 2001, p. 22. Copyright 2001 by
The Switzer Group. Reprinted with permission of The Switzer Group.




































igure 3-8. Reception area slide 8. From Corporate Interiors. No. 4, by R. Yee, 2001, p.
418. Copyright 2001 by the Visual Reference Publications. Reprinted with
permission of the Visual Reference Publications.









Pilot Study

A pilot study was conducted 10 days before the main study for the purpose of

testing and evaluating the procedures and questionnaires. The preliminary study took

place during an undergraduate course in the Marriages and Families (Sociology 2430) at

the University of Florida. The researcher arranged with the professor to solicit students

to voluntarily participate in my study. After obtaining consent, students were asked to

participate in a study of reception area design during the last 15 minutes of a regularly

scheduled class. Students who agreed to participate remained in the classroom.

Feedback from participants in this preliminary study indicated that aspects of the

instructions for the semantic differential scales and the formatting of the questions were

confusing. Therefore, for the main study, the researcher reformatted the questions and

clarified the instructions for the semantic differential scales. The data collected from this

preliminary study are not included in the main study.

Participant Sampling

The study sample consisted of 102 University of Florida graduate students both at

the masters and PhD level. These students were enrolled in an ETD (Electronic Thesis

and Dissertation) workshop for January 23, 2005, from 1:00pm to 4:00pm. The

researcher arranged with the ETD workshop instructor to allow students to voluntarily

participate in my study during the workshop. After obtaining consent, students were

asked to participate in a study of reception area design for 15 minutes during the

beginning of the workshop. Participants who agreed to participate remained in the

classroom. Before the study, students were provided with no information about reception

area design or environmental influences on impressions. The students ranged in age from

24 to 56 with a mean of 31 years of age. Fifty four percent of the students were female.









Fifty six percent of the students were PhD students. Fifty two percent of the students had

prior work experiences in a large company or an office with 30 or more employees.

These students had prior work experiences, ranging from a month and a half to twenty

years. The study excluded 5 current design students since designers have been shown to

perceive the environment differently than the general public (Gifford, 2002).

Procedure

Students were shown 8 slides of office reception areas and were asked to record

their impressions of the companies shown by choosing a point on each of 12 semantic

differential scales (See Appendix B). According to Ornstein, the semantic differential

scales are useful tools for gaining understanding of the connotative meanings that impact

individual's impressions of organizations (Ornstein, 1992). Additionally, these scales

have been repeatedly used in other empirical studies that investigated symbolic messages

connoted by various facets of the environment (Evans & Wood, 1980; Hendrick et al.,

1979; Ornstein, 1986, 1992; Ridoutt et al., 2002).

Eight photographs of office reception areas were shown to the students using a

PowerPoint slide presentation. Each of the 8 slides was presented to the students as a

group. Each slide was shown for about 2 minutes. Students were not aware of the

companies' identities represented in the slides nor were they informed of the industry in

which these companies operated. Packets containing 12 semantic differential scales were

distributed to the students and they were told that the 8 slides of reception areas would be

presented. Following Ornstein (1992, p. 91), students were asked to imagine themselves

sitting "in these reception areas waiting for a job interview. They were further instructed

to think abut what it might be like to work for these organizations." While each slide was

presented on the screen, students completed the 12 semantic differential scales.









Specifically, the following adjective pairs were used: Rigid Flexible, Tense -

Relaxed, Rewarding Unrewarding, Orderly Chaotic, Pleasant Unpleasant, Positive -

Negative, Impulsive Deliberate, Approving Disapproving, Prohibitive Permissive,

Personal Impersonal, Good Bad, and Comfortable Uncomfortable. These adjective

pairs in my study were selected based on: (1) their use in a previous study evaluating

impressions of organizations (Ornstein, 1992), (2) their use in similar research studies

(Ornstein, 1986; Ridoutt et al., 2002), and (3) the empirical research that recommends the

dimensions of activity, evaluation, and potency are important in understanding

environmental connotations (Mehrabian & Russell, 1974; Ornstein, 1992; Russell &

Snodgrass, 1987; Russell & Steiger, 1982; Ridoutt et al., 2002).

The 12 semantic differential scales provided students with a range of choices to

record their impressions of these companies. Students were told to imagine they were

waiting for a job interview and asked to convey their impressions based upon the

reception area design. The 7-point array within each of these semantic differential scales

varied from very closely related, quite closely related, slightly related, to neutrally

related. In addition, students were asked to indicate on a separate 9-point scale (arranged

as: l=dislike extremely, 5=neither like nor dislike, 9=like extremely) how much they

would like to work for the companies whose reception areas were shown in the 8

photographs (See Appendix B). These 9-point scales were below each of the semantic

differential scales. Other information such as their gender, year of birth, highest

education level completed, college major, and finally, prior work experiences) in a large

company were requested from each respondent (See Appendix B).









Limitations

Even though use of photographic slides offers a convenient and practical method of

data collection, there are some general limitations related to this method. Although

numerous studies in environmental psychology have affirmed the validity of the general

method used here (i.e., using slides as substitutes for actual environments), there are

some weaknesses to these instruments (Heft & Nasar, 2000). For example, it is possible

that slides may influence people's impressions in some ways different from the actual

experience of visiting an office (Ornstein, 1992). Since my study utilized slides of office

reception spaces, it only assessed visual impressions. Thus, my study did not examine if

physical stimuli, such as noise, temperature, and smell of the office environment

influence individuals' impressions. Furthermore, since my study only included 8 office

reception areas, this is another limitation to this thesis. Moreover, since the only source

of information provided in my study is the reception areas, "it may take on greater

salience in influencing impressions than it would in an everyday context" (Ornstein,

1992. p. 106).

Additionally, "the ability to describe first impressions of the organizations was

constrained by the fact that they can only be expressed in terms of the adjective checklist

provided" (Ridoutt et al., 2002, p. 35). Nevertheless, the 24 adjectives chosen for my

study were used in other empirical studies (Ornstein, 1986, 1992; Ridoutt et al., 2002)

and were "thought to provide sufficient choice of meaningful terms" (Ridoutt et al., 2002,

p. 35). Furthermore, my study only included the students' impressions of the companies.

According to Ind (1990), not all of the audiences (various users) will interpret an office

environment in the same way. Thus, the results of my study will only pertain to the

symbolic meanings communicated by design elements and arrangement of furniture by






43


these graduate students. Since the participants in my study were graduate students, this is

another limitation. Specifically, the results of my study only apply to masters and

doctoral graduate students. However, one of the main advantages of using graduate

students was that the graduate students have greater life experiences than the traditional

undergraduate students.














CHAPTER 4
FINDINGS

The purpose of my study was to examine any influences that design of individual

office reception areas may have on impressions held by first-time visitors. To test the 3

hypotheses, various statistical analyses were conducted. Specifically, in order to evaluate

the first hypothesis, that consideration and control underlie participants' impressions of

companies as a result of viewing slides of reception area designs, hierarchical cluster and

factor analysis were conducted. In order to test the second hypothesis that the students

will have different impressions of the office spaces represented based on the design

elements and arrangements of furnishings, Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) was

conducted, followed by Student-Newman- Keuls post hoc multiple comparison tests.

Finally, in order to test the third hypothesis, that students will express a greater desire to

work for the firms that appear more considerate than controlling, Spearman-Brown rank-

order correlations were used. The following chapter specifically describes each of these

analyses.

Two Dimensions of Meaning Underlie Students' Impressions: Consideration and
Control

Two different analyses were conducted in order to evaluate the hypothesis 1 that

consideration and control underlie participants' impressions of companies as a result of

viewing slides of reception area designs. First, student responses to the semantic

differential scales were analyzed using hierarchical cluster analysis. From this analysis, 2

possible methods for grouping the items emerged. The data pointed to either a 3 or 2










well-defined groups. Specifically, 3 different groups or clusters were within a rescaled

distance of 3 (Figure 4-1). One cluster of items from the semantic differential included

Unpleasant-Pleasant, Negative-Positive, Bad-Good, Disapproving-Approving, and

Unrewarding-Rewarding. A second cluster of items included Rigid-Flexible, Tense-

Relaxed, Prohibitive-Permissive, Uncomfortable-Comfortable, and Impersonal-Personal.

Finally, the third cluster of closely related items included Chaotic-Orderly and Impulsive-

Deliberate.

Rescaled Distance Cluster Combine

C A S E 0 5 10 15 20 25
Label Num +---------+---------+---------+---------+--------- +

UnplePle 5 -
NegPos 6 -
BadGood 11 -
DisapApp 8
UnrewRew 3 -
RigidFle 1
TensRel 2
ProhPerm 9
UncomCom 12
ImpersPe 10
ChaoOrd 4
ImpulDel 7
Figure 4-1. Hierarchical cluster analysis

Using slightly different criteria, 2 different groups or clusters were within a

rescaled distance of six. The first cluster included the following semantic differential

scales: Unpleasant-Pleasant, Negative-Positive, Bad-Good, Disapproving-Approving,

Unrewarding-Rewarding, Rigid-Flexible, Tense-Relaxed, Prohibitive-Permissive,

Uncomfortable-Comfortable, and Impersonal-Personal. On the other hand, the second

cluster included Chaotic-Orderly and Impulsive-Deliberate. Since the rescaled distance

was only about 3 distances apart between the initial 3 groups, and the next 2 groups, it









was decided that the initial 3 groups can be made into 2 groups. Therefore, the scales

(Unpleasant-Pleasant, Negative-Positive, Bad-Good, Disapproving-Approving, and

Unrewarding-Rewarding) and scales (Rigid-Flexible, Tense-Relaxed, Prohibitive-

Permissive, Uncomfortable-Comfortable, and Impersonal-Personal) were combined into

one major group. Thus, this finding supported the first hypothesis that 2 dimensions of

meaning underlie students' impressions of companies pictured.

The semantic differential scales for each of the 8 firms were separately analyzed

using factor analysis via SPSS. Since the purpose of my study was to find dimensions of

meaning underlying students' impressions of companies, factor analysis was conducted

for each office reception area slide. Thus, principle component analysis was used to

extract the factors. From the factor analysis, it was found that only the first 2 factors

were significant. Specifically, overall analysis of the Scree Plots indicated that there

were 2 factors (Tables 4-1 and 4-2). Varimax rotation was used to enhance relationships

between the variables and the significant factors. Hence, this analysis, in addition to the

cluster analysis, grouped the semantic differential scales into 2 different factors.

Furthermore, the groupings of the variable were also consistent between the 2 analyses.

Therefore, the factor analysis provided additional support that there are 2 major factors

(consideration and control) that underlie students' impressions.

The factor analysis indicated that the first factor accounted for an average of 51%

of the variance. According to Ornstein (1992, p. 99), this factor "may best be described

as a dimension of organizational consideration." Items loading highly on this factor

included the following: Unpleasant-Pleasant, Bad-Good, Negative-Positive,

Disapproving-Approving, Uncomfortable-Comfortable, Prohibitive-Permissive,

Unrewarding-Rewarding, Tense-Relaxed, Impersonal-Personal, and Rigid-Flexible. All









of these semantic differential scales had high factor loadings with factor one

(consideration factor). According to Ornstein (1992, p. 99), "this factor represents an

evaluative dimension similar to that found in much environmental research" (Mehabian

& Russell, 1974; Osgood, Suci, & Tannenbaum, 1957; Osgood, 1969). Thus, this factor

shows organizations that are pleasant, good, positive, approving, comfortable, relaxed,

and permissive. Therefore, it seems to be best described by organizational consideration

(organization that is considerate of people).

Table 4-1. Factor loadings for consideration
Factor 1
Slide # 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Unpleasant-Pleasant .80 .64 .90 .69 .89 .84 .88 .78
Bad-Good .79 .70 .90 .81 .83 .80 .86 .87
Negative-Positive .78 .65 .88 .85 .88 .87 .90 .88
Disapproving-Approving .77 .78 .87 .84 .79 .85 .79 .82
Uncomfortable-Comfortable .72 .85 .86 .84 .75 .73 .90 .84
Prohibitive-Permissive .61 .74 .75 .67 .77 .76 .79 .80
Unrewarding-Rewarding .59 .81 .84 .83 .80 .79 .84 .82
Tense-Relaxed .56 .80 .73 .82 .74 .73 .80 .82
Impersonal-Personal .56 .81 .67 .75 .74 .70 .81 .79
Rigid-Flexible .49 .70 .61 .75 .69 .63 .76 .75
Chaotic-Order .09 .08 .14 .16 .08 .14 .07 .12
Impulsive-Deliberate .05 -.08 -.08 -.05 -.27 -.23 -.12 -.08
Variance 38% 47% 54% 52% 53% 51% 58% 56%
Note: Bolded items represent higher factor loadings that were considered in making
judgments pertaining to number of factors and the meaning of each factor

The second factor accounted for an average of 15% of the variance. The items with

high loadings on this factor included Chaotic-Order and Impulsive-Deliberate. These 2

semantic differential scales had high correlation with factor 2. Following from Ornstein

(1992, p. 99), this factor can "best be described as a dimension of organizational control."

Organizational control was selected as the name for this factor, since it best reflected the

organization that is orderly and deliberate, therefore, has a lot of control over the









employees. Based on Ornstein (1992, p. 99), "this factor looks much like the dimension

of dominance" identified by various researchers (Osgood et al., 1957; Osgood, 1969;

Russell, Ward, and Pratt, 1981).

Table 4-2. Factor loadings for control
Factor 2
Slide # 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Unpleasant-Pleasant .10 .58 .05 .42 .00 .04 -.01 .20
Bad-Good -.03 .46 .12 .16 -.09 -.03 -.07 .17
Negative-Positive .05 .52 .09 .27 .02 -.02 .00 .14
Disapproving-Approving .01 .38 -.02 .15 -.13 .06 .01 .15
Uncomfortable-Comfortable -.33 .23 -.16 -.04 -.07 -.18 .05 -.02
Prohibitive-Permissive -.38 -.06 -.27 .05 -.24 -.30 -.07 -.17
Unrewarding-Rewarding .01 .31 -.02 .19 -.01 .13 .07 .17
Tense-Relaxed -.22 .04 -.43 .06 -.05 -.16 -.03 -.22
Impersonal-Personal -.48 .00 -.34 -.02 -.15 -.36 -.11 -.25
Rigid-Flexible -.49 -.01 -.54 -.12 -.30 -.32 -.06 -.32
Chaotic-Order .86 .78 .81 .86 .86 .87 .85 .80
Impulsive-Deliberate .80 .85 .82 .72 .84 .81 .83 .81
Variance 18% 20% 54% 52% 14% 15% 12% 14%
Note: Bolded items represent higher factor loadings that were considered in making
judgments pertaining to number of factors and the meaning of each factor

Additionally, an overall factor analysis was conducted, without specifying each of

the firms. Overall, it was found that there were high positive relationships between the

semantic differential scales and the 2 factors. Specifically, the first factor accounted for

57% of the variance. Items loading highly on this factor included the following:

Unpleasant-Pleasant, Bad-Good, Negative-Positive, Disapproving-Approving,

Uncomfortable-Comfortable, Prohibitive-Permissive, Unrewarding-Rewarding, Tense-

Relaxed, Impersonal-Personal, and Rigid-Flexible. On the other hand, the second factor

accounted for 16% of the variance. Items loading highly on this factor included Chaotic-

Order and Impulsive-Deliberate.









Students Would Form Different Impressions of Consideration and Control Across
the 8 Companies Represented

Based on the finding that 2 different messages (consideration and control) were

communicated by the slides of office reception areas, further analyses were conducted to

support the second hypothesis that the students will have different impressions of the

office spaces represented based on the design elements and arrangements of furnishings.

The scales were reorganized so that the adjective with more favorable or positive

connotations was on the right most end of the scale and the remaining adjective with

more negative connotation was on the left side of the scale. Responses to the semantic

differential scales were scored from 1 to 7 for each scale (7 indicates the greatest amount

of consideration and control). Scores were then summed across each scale, so that

research participants each had a score for consideration and a score for control. Since

there were 10 semantic differential scales that were highly correlated with consideration,

the consideration scores could range from 10 to 70 for each of the 8 reception area slides.

On the other hand, since there were 2 semantic differential scales that were highly

correlated with control, the score for control could range from 2 to 14. Each set of scores

was analyzed using one-way repeated-measures ANOVA to test whether the reception

area photograph had an effect on the score.

Like Ornstein (1992), a significant main effect was found for ratings of

consideration: F=58.871, p<.001. To determine exact differences in students' ratings of

the consideration of the 8 office reception area slides, the Student-Newman-Keuls post

hoc tests were performed. There was great differentiation by the students in their

impressions of these 8 slides (Table 4-3). Two of these companies were perceived as

much more considerate (slides 4 and 2) than the other six. However, slide 4 was









perceived as more considerate than slide 2. In addition, 3 slides (slides 3, 5, and 1) were

perceived to be inconsiderate.

Table 4-3. Mean scores for factor 1 (consideration) and factor 2 (control)
# Descriptions of reception area Mean Group Mean Group
score for score for
for factor for factor
factor factor


32.686 1 11.951 3


51.118 4 10 1









34.647 1 11.853 3


1 Orthogonal design elements (e.g., walls and a
reception area desk) with stone finish on the
reception area desk and floor. Two ivory
chairs are placed next to each other. Lighting
level is moderate with high color contrast.
There is no artwork, plants, or flowers.
(Figure 3-1)
2 Organic design elements (e.g., ceiling and a
reception area desk) with carpet flooring. 2
upholstered chairs in the background are
placed at a 450 angle. The other 2 upholstered
chairs in the foreground are also placed at a
45 angle. Lighting level is dim with
moderate color contrast. An artwork, plant,
and flowers are present.
(Figure 3-2)
3 Orthogonal design elements (e.g., walls,
ceiling, and a reception area desk) with some
stone and dark wood flooring. Four black
leather chairs are placed at a right angle.
Lighting level is dim with moderate color
contrast. There is no artwork, plants, or
flowers.
(Figure 3-3)
4 Organic design elements (e.g., ceiling, floor
patterns, waiting area furniture, and a
reception area desk) with carpet flooring. On
the right side of the photograph, 2 chairs are
set at a 450 angle with a curvilinear sofa on
the opposite side. On the left side of the
photograph, 2 chairs are placed next to each
other, separated by a small table. Lighting
level is bright with high color contrast. An
artwork and a flower are present.
(Figure 3-4)


55.029 5 9.647









Table 4-3. Continued
# Descriptions of reception area



5 Orthogonal design elements (e.g., an opening
and walls), with a little bit of organic design
features (e.g., reception area desk).The
majority of the flooring material is stone, with
2 leather chairs placed next to each other.
Lighting level is dim with low color contrast.
An artwork, sculpture, and flowers are
present.
(Figure 3-5)
6 Organic design elements (e.g., walls and
ceiling) with wood flooring and a reception
desk made out of wood. There are 2 brown
leather chairs placed at a 450 angle, separated
by a small round table. Furthermore, there are
2 chairs placed at a 450 angle, and on the
opposite side, there is a brown couch.
Lighting level is moderate, with low color
contrast. There is a vase with flowers on the
reception area desk.
(Figure 3-6)
7 Organic design elements (e.g., walls, ceiling,
and a reception area desk), with stone
flooring. Two black leather chairs are placed
in a 450 angle, separated by a small round
table. On the opposite side, there is a back
leather chair and a small round table. There is
a vase with flowers on the reception area
desk, and a small sculpture on the small table
on the left side of the photograph.
(Figure 3-7)
8 Orthogonal design elements (e.g., walls,
ceiling, and a reception area desk), with wood
flooring, wood wall paneling, and a reception
area desk with wood finish. There are 2
brown leather chairs placed at a right angle.
Lighting level is bright, with low color
contrast. An artwork and a vase of flowers are
present.
(Figure 3-8)


Mean
score
for
factor
33.167


Gr

fa


44.412 2











41.814


group Mean Groi
for score foi
ctor1 for factor
factor
1 11.961 3









&3 9.863 1











2 11.373 3


45.902 3 10.725 2


up
r
)r2









Additionally, the main effect was also found for ratings of organizational control:

F=20.924, p<.001. Four of the slides (slides 5, 1, 3, and 7) were perceived as more

controlling than the others, where as 3 of the slides (slides 2, 6, and 4) were perceived as

least controlling.

Students' Impressions of Consideration, Control, and Liking to Work for the
Companies

Analyses were conducted to examine the relationships between students'

impressions of consideration, control, and liking to work for those firms. Specifically,

this analysis permitted for an overall comparison between students' impressions of

consideration, control, and liking across 8 slides. For each person, there were

consideration and control scores for each of the 8 reception area slide. First, for each

student, the 8 slides were rank-ordered from least to most considerate. Next, Spearman-

Brown rank-order correlations were calculated between rankings of consideration and

liking. Significant correlations were found between firms ranked by impressions of

consideration and preferences for liking to work in these firms (r=.660, p<.001, =0.01).

This implied that students had a clear preference to work for firms they found

considerate.

Next, for each student, the 8 slides were rank-ordered from least to most

controlling. Then, Spearman-Brown rank-order correlations were calculated between

rankings of control and liking. Moderate negative correlations were found between firms

ranked by impressions of control and preferences for liking to work in these firms (r= -

.173, p<.001, =0.01). This suggested that students had a clear preferences for disliking

to work for firms they found controlling. Finally, Spearman-Brown rank-order

correlations were also calculated between rankings of consideration and rankings of









control. Thus, negative correlations were also found between consideration and control

(r--.351, p<.001, =0.01).

Conclusion

In conclusion, the hierarchical cluster analysis, in addition to the factor analyses of

the students' responses revealed that the students distinguished 2 dimensions of meaning

(consideration and control) connoted by the slides of office reception areas. According to

ANOVAs and post hoc analyses, students formed different impressions of consideration

and control across the 8 companies represented. Furthermore, the Spearman-Brown

rank-order correlations revealed a significant correlation between firms ranked by

impressions of consideration and preferences for liking to work in these firms. This

suggested that that the students had a clear preference for working in firms that they

perceived as more considerate. On the other hand, moderate negative correlations were

found between firms ranked by impressions of control and preferences for liking to work

in these firms. Finally, negative correlations were also found between consideration and

control.














CHAPTER 5
DISCUSSIONS AND CONCLUSIONS

Reception areas are where visitors first encounter a company or business.

Therefore, these spaces are often designed to create specific impressions which are

consistent with the business objectives of the company (Ornstein, 1992; Steele, 1973;

Stimpson, 1988). Although there is primarily anecdotal literature of symbolic meanings

of design, existing empirical research is insufficient for designers and corporate managers

to use in making design decisions about meanings design elements convey to the public.

Thus, the purpose of my study was to examine the influence of specific design elements

and arrangements of furnishings in office reception areas on impressions held by first-

time visitors. The research design used obtained ratings from participants as they viewed

photographs selected to emphasize particular design elements and furniture arrangements.

Even though numerous empirical studies in have confirmed the validity of using

photographs as substitutes for actual environments, it is possible that photographs may

influence people's impressions in some ways different from the actual experience of

entering an office (Ornstein, 1992). Specifically, 102 graduate students were shown

slides of eight different office reception areas. The students recorded their impressions of

these companies by completing 12 semantic differential scales for each slide. In addition

to the semantic differential, participants were asked to indicate on a 9-point scale, how

much they would like to work for the company represented in the photograph.

My study was organized around 3 areas of inquiry which informed the 3

hypotheses of my research. The first hypothesis was derived from Ornstein's (1992)









study, in which slides of office reception areas were presented to participants and the

findings suggested that 2 dimensions of meaning (consideration and control) were

connoted by various types of physical symbols (e.g., artwork, plants, and flowers) and

furniture arrangements. Thus, following Ornstein's (1992), logic, my first hypothesis

stated that 2 dimensions, consideration and control, underlie participants' impressions of

companies as a result of viewing slides of reception area designs. Likewise, following

Ornstein's (1992) logic, my second hypothesis was derived from the perspectives of 2

groups who have theories pertaining to how individuals develop perceptions. One group,

represented by Gibson (1979) is the ecological perceptions approach which posits that

"elements of the physical environment afford opportunities for certain types of behaviors.

Based on these affordances, it is suggested that people form impressions of the

importance, desirability, and acceptability of the behavior" (Ornstein, 1992, p. 87). The

second theoretical perspective, the information-processing approach by Schnieder &

Schriffrin (1977) proposes that "people process information about the environment and

form cognitive schema consistent with their prior experiences" (Ornstein, 1992, p. 88).

Guided by these 2 theories, my second hypothesis stated that the participants will have

different impressions of the office spaces represented based on the design elements and

arrangements of furnishings. Finally, based on Ornstein's (1992) overall findings, my

third hypothesis stated that participants would show a preference for working in firms

that appear more considerate than controlling. The following chapter discusses the

results relevant to these 3 hypotheses, as well as provides suggestions for further

research, suggestions for the designers, and conclusions of the thesis study.









Two Dimensions of Meaning Underlie Students' Impressions: Consideration and
Control

According to the hierarchical cluster and factor analysis, the research participants

distinguished 2 dimensions of meaning (consideration and control) connoted by the slides

of the office reception areas. According to Gifford (1997, p. 302), creating a positive

impression within office reception areas "vary in 2 important ways: the amount of control

and the amount of consideration" that is implied by the design of reception area. Control

can be defined as "order, stability, and rigidity" (Gifford, 2002, p. 362). Jarmel (2003)

believed that lawyers often use their office spaces to convey a feeling of power and

control. Specifically, a younger law firm might want to seem older and more

conservative and therefore use their interior space design to convey the image of control

(Jarmel, 2003). Furthermore, Goodsell's research suggested that some agencies use

aspects of the physical environment to reinforce and legitimate the authority of an

organization and its members (Goodsell, 1977). For example, by visiting various offices,

Goodsell found that authoritative organizations, such as government office buildings,

displayed props, such as photographs of organizational leaders, flags, logos, and seals in

their reception areas to convey an image of control (Goodsell, 1977).

On the other hand, consideration can be defined as "warmth, comfort, ease, and

goodness of communication" (Gifford, 2002, p. 363). Becker (1982) believed that

counselors, therapists, dentists, and physicians must place more emphasis on providing an

image of comfort in their offices, especially reception areas. Furthermore, Goodsell

visited various service organizations (public health agencies and sales organizations) and

found that these organizations displayed a large number of plants, artwork, and

magazines to convey an image of comfort (Goodsell, 1977).









The finding that the participants distinguished 2 dimensions of meaning

(consideration and control) connoted by the slides of the reception areas is consistent

with Ornstein's findings. Specifically, Ornstein (1992) found that when the students and

business executives were shown slides of office reception areas, their responses indicated

2 dimensions of meaning (consideration and control) underlying their judgments.

Furthermore, the findings of my study corroborate the results of other empirical studies

that suggested that the physical environment communicates meanings along 2 dimensions

(Osgood, 1969; Ornstein, 1986, 1992).

Students Would Form Different Impressions of Consideration and Control Across
the 8 Companies Represented

The question of whether the participants discriminated among the slides was also

tested with ANOVAs and post hoc analyses. Specifically, the goal of this set of analyses

was to determine if students distinguished between these 2 dimensions of meaning. The

results revealed that the students formed different impressions of consideration and

control across the 8 companies represented.

The finding that the students formed different impressions of consideration and

control across the 8 office spaces provides further evidence of the importance of design

elements and furniture arrangements within the reception areas as a "conveyor of

symbolic information" (Ornstein, 1992, p. 104). Moreover, these results suggest that

design elements and arrangement of furnishings within reception areas serve "a symbolic

role" by communicating meanings about companies (Ornstein, 1992, p. 103).

Specifically, the results of my study support the findings of Ornstein (1992). She used

slides of office reception areas and found that aspects of the office environment such as

arrangement of furnishings, presence of artwork, plants, and flowers influenced









individual's impressions (Ornstein, 1992). Additionally, the results of my study support

the suggestion made by numerous researchers and scholars (Ornstein, 1989a, 1989b,

1992; Steele, 1973, 1986; Steele & Jenks, 1977), that the office environment send

messages about organizational life. Next, a detailed explanation of the slides that were

considered as both considerate and controlling follows.

Consideration

Two firms that were identified by the students as the most considerate were those

represented in slides 4 (Figure 3-4, Table 5-1) and 2 (Figure 3-2, Table 5-1).

Specifically, both of these slides contained organic forms (e.g., ceiling, floor patterns,

furniture), abundance of soft materials (carpet flooring and upholstered chairs), and

presence of artwork and flowers. However, it should be noted that slide 4 was rated more

considerate than slide 2. Consequently, it can be concluded that a combination of organic

forms, abundance of soft materials, along with presence of artwork and flowers in

reception areas conveyed a message that the organization was very considerate (warm

and comfortable) of people.

These findings are consistent with a research by Goodsell (1977). Specifically,

Goodsell (1977) visited various service organizations and found that these organizations

displayed a large number of elements, such as plants, artwork, magazines, and

upholstered seating in the reception areas to make visitors feel comfortable. Furthermore,

these findings are consistent with Ornstein (1992) that soft materials convey warmth and

comfort. Specifically, Ornstein showed slides of office reception areas to the students

and executives and found that furnishings with softer edges, upholstered couches send

messages about flexibility, warmth, and comfort (Ornstein, 1992).









Table 5-1. Most considerate (slides 4 and 2)
Most considerate
Slide 4 Slide 2
Organic forms Organic forms
Bright lighting Dim lighting
High color contrast Moderate color contrast
Soft materials Soft materials
Artwork/flowers present Artwork/flowers present
Informal seating arrangement (chairs arranged in Formal seating arrangement (chairs
a 450 angle and a couch on the opposite side) arranged in a 450 angle)


The firms that students identified as moderate in consideration were slides 8

(Figure 3-8, Table 5-2), 6 (Figure 3-6, Table 5-2) and 7 (Figure 3-7, Table 5-2). All of

the 3 firms displayed flowers and hard materials. Specifically, slides 8 and 6

predominantly featured wood in the reception areas, and had low color contrast.

Moreover, slides 7 and 6 both had organic forms. On the other hand, slide 8 and slide 7

both had bright lighting. From these results, it can be concluded that when wood was

predominately used in reception areas, with low color contrast, along with the presence of

flowers, it conveyed a message that the organization was moderate in consideration.

Table 5-2. Moderate in consideration (slides 8, 6, and 7)
Moderate in consideration
Slide 8 Slide 6
Orthogonal forms Organic forms
Bright lighting Moderate lighting
Low color contrast Low color contrast
Hard materials (wood) Hard materials (wood)
Artwork/flowers present Artwork/flowers present
Informal seating arrangement Informal seating arrangement (chairs arranged in a
(chairs arranged in a 900 angle) 450 angle and a couch on the opposite side)
Slide 7
Organic forms
Bright lighting
High color contrast
Hard materials (stone)
Flowers present
Formal seating arrangement
(chairs arranged in a 450 angle)









The firms that students identified as least considerate included slides 3 (Figure 3-3,

Table 5-3), 5 (Figure 3-5, Table 5-3), and 1(Figure 3-1, Table 5-3). All of the 3 firms

displayed orthogonal forms (e.g., ceiling, walls, and furniture) and hard materials.

Specifically, 2 of these firms (slides 5 and 1) predominantly featured stone (e.g., floors,

reception area desk) in the reception areas and the waiting area chairs had airport seating

arrangements. Moreover, slides 3 and 5 both had dim lighting. On the other hand, slide

3 and slide 1 did not display any artwork/plants/flowers. This implied that absence of

artwork/plants/flowers sent a message that the organization was not considerate of

people. Furthermore, these results also indicated that when orthogonal architectural

elements (e.g., ceiling, walls, and furniture) and stone were used within the reception

areas, along with airport seating arrangements, the organization was seen as

inconsiderate.

These results are consistent with Ornstein's findings. Specifically, she found that

formal seating arrangements were perceived as less considerate than informal seating

arrangements (Ornstein, 1992). Additionally, the slides that had airport seating

arrangements, along with stone floors and walls were both perceived as least considerate.

These findings are in-line with the ecological perceptions approach by Gibson (1979).

Specifically, Gibson (1979) indicated that "elements of the physical environment afford

opportunities for certain types of behaviors. Based on these affordances, it is suggested

that people form impressions of the importance, desirability, and acceptability of the

behavior" (Ornstein, 1992, p. 87). The presence of hard surfaces, along with formal

seating arrangements (airport seating arrangements) within the reception areas were both

perceived to be least considerate, since it did not afford opportunities for people to









comfortably wait for a job interview. Furthermore, it is also possible that since the

airport seating arrangements did not afford opportunities for communication, it may have

implied something to the participants about the importance, desirability, and suitability of

communication in this office setting.

Table 5-3. Least considerate (slides 3, 5, and 1)
Least considerate
Slide 3 Slide 5
Orthogonal forms Orthogonal forms
Dim lighting Dim lighting
Moderate color contrast Low color contrast
Hard material (dark wood) Hard materials (stone)
Artwork/flowers absent Artwork/flowers present
Informal seating arrangement (chairs arranged in Formal seating arrangement (airport
a 900 angle) seating arrangement)
Slide 1
Orthogonal forms
Moderate lighting
High color contrast
Hard materials (stone)
Artwork/flowers absent
Formal seating arrangement (airport seating
arrangement)


However, the results showed that certain design features such as organic/orthogonal

forms, dim/moderate/bright lighting, low/moderate/high color contrast, display of

artwork/plants/flowers, use of stone, and certain seating arrangements (chairs that are

arranged in a 450 or a 900 angle) were considered to take on different meanings, under

different circumstances. One explanation for the fact that color contrasts did not appear

to differentiate between consideration and control is that the color schemes in all of these

eight photographs were quite neutral and somewhat similar. Specifically, my study only

examined one dimension of color, value contrast, and did not explore contrasts in hue or

chroma.








Most
Considerate






Moderate
in -
Consideration


Least
Considerate


30 35 40 45 50 55 60


Mean Scores for Consideration


Ul


Figure 5-1. Chart for consideration. 1) Figure 3-1. 2) Figure 3-2. 3) Figure 3-3. 4) Figure
3-4. 5) Figure 3-5. 6) Figure 3-6. 7) Figure 3-7. 8) Figure 3-8
Control
The firms that students identified as most controlling were slides 5 (Figure 3-5,

Table 5-5), 1 (Figure 3-1, Table 5-5), 3 (Figure 3-3, Table 5-5), and 7 (Figure 3-7,









Table 5-5). All of the 4 firms in these photographs displayed hard materials.

Specifically, 3 of these slides (slides 5, 1, and 3) had orthogonal forms (e.g., ceiling,

walls, and furniture). Moreover, slides 5, 1, and 7 all had predominantly used stone in

the reception areas. Two of the reception areas (slides 5 and 1) also featured airport

seating arrangements. Furthermore, slide 1 and slide 3 did not feature

artwork/plants/flowers. This suggested that when artwork/plants/flowers were not used

in office reception areas, it sent a message that the organization was controlling. Also,

slide 1 and slide 7 both had high value contrast. Additionally, slide 5 and slide 3 had dim

lighting.

According to Jarmel (2003), certain law firms use their office space to convey a

feeling of power and control. Thus, "the space can become a critical influence in gaining

leverage in negotiations" (Jarmel, 2003, p. 20). Furthermore, Goodsell (1977) found that

authoritative organizations such as state drivers licensing agencies and police stations try

to convey an image of control. My study suggested that orthogonal forms (e.g., ceiling,

walls, and furniture), stone, and an airport seating arrangement used in reception areas

conveyed an image of control.

Additionally, the slides that had airport seating arrangements, along with stone

floors and walls were perceived as most controlling. Specifically, the presence of hard

surfaces, along with formal seating arrangements (airport seating arrangements) within

the reception areas were both perceived to be very controlling, since it did not afford

opportunities for people to comfortably wait for a job interview. Furthermore, it is also

possible that since the airport seating arrangements did not afford opportunities for

communication, it may have implied something to the participants about the importance,









desirability, and suitability of communication in this office setting. These findings

support the ecological perception approach.


Table 5-4. Most controlling (slides 5, 1, 3, and 7)
Most controlling
Slide 5
Orthogonal forms
Dim lighting
Low color contrast
Hard materials (stone)
Artwork/flowers present
Formal seating arrangement (airport seating
arrangement)
Slide 3
Orthogonal forms
Dim lighting
Moderate color contrast
Hard materials (dark wood)
Artwork/flowers absent
Informal seating arrangement (chairs arranged in
a 90 angle)


Slide 1
Orthogonal forms
Moderate lighting
High color contrast
Hard materials (stone)
Artwork/flowers absent
Formal seating arrangement (airport
seating arrangement)
Slide 7
Organic forms
Bright lighting
High color contrast
Hard materials (stone)
Flowers absent
Formal seating arrangement (chairs
arranged in a 45 angle)


There was only one firm (slide 8) that was considered to be moderate in control

(Figure 3-8, Table 5-6). Specifically, this firm displayed orthogonal design elements

(e.g., ceiling, walls, and furniture), bright lighting, and low color contrast. Wood was the

predominant material used in the reception area. Furthermore, the waiting area chairs

were arranged in a 900 angle (informal seating arrangement). Artwork and flowers were

also present in the reception area.

Table 5-5. Moderate in control (slide 8)
Moderate in control
Slide 8
Orthogonal forms
Bright lighting
Low color contrast
Hard material (wood)
Artwork/flowers present
Informal seating arrangement (chairs arranged in
a 900 angle)









Finally, the firms that the students identified as the least controlling included slides

2 (Figure 3-2, Table 5-7), 6 (Figure 3-6, Table 5-7), and 4 (Figure 3-4, Table 5-7). All of

these slides had organic forms (e.g., ceiling, walls, and furniture) and displayed flowers.

Slides 2 and 4 both had soft materials (e.g., carpet flooring, upholstered chairs) and

slide 6 had used wood predominantly. Slides 4 and 6 both had informal seating

arrangements. Specifically, these firms displayed chairs that were arranged in a 450

angle with a small table in between, and a couch on the opposite side. Slide 6 displayed 2

other chairs that were arranged in a 450 angle with a small table in between. Slide 4 also

displayed 2 chairs next to each other separated by a small table. These findings

suggested that when organic forms, flowers, and soft materials were used in reception

areas, the organization was seen as least controlling. These results corroborate Ornstein's

(1992) findings that upholstery furniture and deep pile carpeting were perceived as less

controlling by the students and the executives (Ornstein, 1992).

Table 5-6. Least controlling (slides 2, 6, and 4)
Least controlling
Slide 2 Slide 6
Organic forms Organic forms
Dim lighting Moderate lighting
Moderate color contrast Low color contrast
Soft materials Hard materials (wood)
Artwork/flowers present Artwork/flowers present
Formal seating arrangement (chairs Informal seating arrangement (chairs arranged
arranged in a 45 angle) in a 45 and a sofa on the opposite side)
Slide 4
Organic forms
Bright lighting
High color contrast
Soft materials
Artwork/flowers present
Informal seating arrangement (chairs
arranged in a 45 angle and a couch on the
opposite side)














Most
Controlling








Moderate
in
Control








Least
Controlling
9.5


4 6


10 10.5 11
Mean Scores for Control


Figure 5-2. Chart for control. 1) Figure 3-1. 2) Figure 3-2. 3) Figure 3-3. 4) Figure 3-4. 5)
Figure 3-5. 6) Figure 3-6. 7) Figure 3-7. 8) Figure 3-8.

Relative Strength of Consideration as Opposed to Control

The Student-Newman post hoc comparisons of means revealed that the difference

between the means of the design variables associated with consideration is higher than


2
6









the difference between the means associated with control. Thus, students were more

sensitive to distinctions made on the consideration dimension than the control dimension.

These results build on those of Ornstein (1992) who indicated that "control is not a

particularly salient dimension of which people make judgments about organizations" (p.

105). The control dimension, in my study, accounted for considerably less variance than

did the consideration dimension. Specifically, the factor analysis indicated that the

consideration dimension accounted for approximately 51% of the variance and control

accounted for approximately 15% of the variance. While both consideration and control

were statistically significant, the consideration dimension was considerably stronger than

the control dimension. An alternative explanation for control being weak compared to

consideration is the lack of symbolic information-flags, seals, emblems, and logos-in

the photographs. Nonetheless, airport seating arrangements and use of stone floors and

walls appeared to convey control to the research participants.

Furthermore, it is possible that the students were less sensitive to distinctions made

on the control dimension, since they had very little or no prior work experiences in large

companies. This argument is consistent with the information-processing approach by

Schnieder & Schriffrin (1977), which explains that "people process information about the

environment and form cognitive schema consistent with their prior experiences"

(Ornstein, 1992, p. 88). Approximately half (52%) of the students had prior work

experiences at large companies, ranging from six weeks to twenty years. Since many

students had very little, or no prior work experiences in large companies, it is likely that

the students were less sensitive to distinctions made on the control dimension. There is

some support for this idea in the work of Ornstein (1992) who showed slides of office









reception areas to a group of undergraduate students as well as to business executives.

The finding indicated differentiation between the firms for both students and executives

in the area of consideration; however, only the executives exhibited differences in

impressions of the firms based on control (Ornstein, 1992). Given that the executive may

have more past experiences working at large companies, this might explain why the

executives exhibited differences but students did not.

Students' Impressions of Consideration, Control, and Liking to Work for the
Companies

To evaluate the third hypothesis, a correlation coefficient was computed between

rankings of consideration and preference. Significant correlations were found between

firms ranked by impressions of consideration and preferences for liking to work in these

firms (r=.660, p<.001). This suggested that students had a clear preference to work for

firms they found considerate. It makes sense that people will like places that appear more

considerate than controlling (Ornstein, 1992). Furthermore, this finding is consistent

with Ornstein's (1992) findings that showed that both executive and student groups liked

the firms that were perceived as considerate.

On the other hand, moderate negative correlations were found between firms

ranked by impressions of control and preferences for liking to work in these firms (r=-

.173, p<.001). This suggested that students had a clear preferences for disliking to work

for firms they found controlling. Finally, negative correlations were also found between

consideration and control (r=-.351, p<.001). This implied that the firms that were

perceived as considerate were not controlling, where as the firms that were perceived as

controlling were not considerate.









Hence, these findings also support the information-processing approach. Since

52% of the students had prior work experiences in a large company or an office with 30

or more employees, their past experiences might explain why students liked firms that

were considerate and disliked the firms that were controlling. Additionally, the fact that

the students wanted to work for organizations that were considerate, and not work for

organization that is controlling validates that individuals' impressions of the companies

determine whether or not they would like to work at the firm.

Suggestions for Further Research

My study found that design elements and arrangement of furniture in reception

areas-including elements such as form, finish materials and furniture arrangements-

communicated meanings that research participants used in forming impressions about

companies. Although the results of my study are promising, there are some issues that

need to be addressed in future research.

First, in my study, color schemes in all of the photographs were similar because my

study only examined the differences in the contrast of the color value. Future research

will need to explore the relative impact that variations among multiple color dimensions

might have on individual's impressions. For example, future studies can systematically

manipulate hue, value, and chroma dimensions. Furthermore, the results of my study

suggested that when a large amount of achromatic color (e.g., black) were used in office

reception areas, it sent a message that the organization was very controlling and

inconsiderate. On the other hand, a large amount of warm tones were perceived as

considerate and least controlling. This suggested that temperature contrast of colors

might have an effect on individuals' impressions. Future studies could expand on this

finding by systematically manipulating the color temperature (e.g., warm vs. cool) in









office reception spaces. Specifically, a new scale, warm-cool should be added to the

semantic differential instrument.

The findings of this thesis only supported the ecological perceptions approach.

However, these findings are based on the responses from the graduate students with little

or no prior work experiences. Future studies should test both ecological perceptions and

information-processing approaches by including research participants that have prior

work experiences in large companies (e.g., executives). By including both individuals

with experiences and those who do not have much experience, the researcher can

determine whether or not the findings support or deny these 2 theoretical perspectives.

Another area for future research might be to examine the impact of spaces that are

intentionally designed. Most interior designers believe that carefully constructed

interiors (e.g., spaces that are designed intentionally) will send specific desired messages

(Ornstein, 1989b). Thus, it may be interesting to assess whether explicitly designed

offices are better at creating desired impressions than ones that are not professionally

designed. Additionally it may be of interest to compare the designer's impressions to the

non-designer's impressions of the design elements used in reception areas. Specifically,

future studies could assess whether non-designers' impressions of a reception area

support the concepts designers were intentionally trying to convey about the image of a

certain company. Studies of this kind might be helpful for the designers to realize that

they view their designs differently from non-designers (Gifford, 2002). Thus, it might

validate the need for the designers to understand users' perceptions.









Suggestions for Architects, Designers, Corporate Planners, and Corporate
Managers

My study suggests that architects, designers, and corporate planners need to

recognize that design elements and furniture arrangements in the reception areas play a

significant role in influencing impressions. Another suggestion is that designers need to

work together with company managers and potentially, end users of the space to

determine the messages being conveyed to employees and the outside visitors and to

identify whether the messages are consistent with company's values (Ornstein, 1992).

Ornstein (1992, p. 107) further suggested that "if the messages connoted are not accurate

or appropriate," then this implies that the design of the reception areas might be changed.

The results of my study indicated that form, finish materials, and arrangements of

furnishings made a difference in impressions. While the present study will need to be

replicated, if the present results hold, the designers and the corporate managers will want

to incorporate design elements that help support the overall business objectives.

Pertaining to consideration (e.g., flexibility, warmth, and comfort), combinations of

organic forms (e.g., ceiling, walls, and furniture), abundance of soft materials (e.g., carpet

flooring and upholstery furniture), along with presence of artwork and flowers can be

used in reception areas. Furthermore, when wood is predominately used in an office

reception area, with low color value contrast, along with presence of flowers, it is likely

to convey a message that the organization is moderate in consideration. Moreover,

orthogonal forms, stone, and airport seating arrangements can be used in the reception

areas to convey a message that the organization is controlling (e.g., rigid and deliberate).

For instance, authoritative organizations might use these design elements and seating

arrangements in the reception areas to convey an image of control. Furthermore, when









organic forms, flowers, and soft materials (e.g., carpet, upholstery) are used in office

reception areas, it is likely to convey a message that the organization is not controlling. It

should be noted that even though presence of artwork, plants, and flowers tends to take

on different meanings under different circumstances, 2 of the reception areas that did not

display these elements were seen as very controlling and least considerate. Thus, it may

be important for the designers to remember that although presence of artwork, plants, and

flowers connote different meanings, absence of these elements tend to convey the

message that the organization is controlling/least considerate.

Conclusion

In conclusion, my study supports Ornstein's (1992) findings and lends additional

empirical support to the notion that the design of an office reception area-including

elements such as form, finish materials (e.g., carpet, upholstery, wood, and stone), and

furniture arrangements-communicates meanings that people use in forming initial

impressions about companies. These findings add to the knowledge base of symbolic

influences of the design elements and furniture arrangements in office reception areas on

individuals' perceptions of companies. Furthermore, these demonstrate a need for further

study of the design elements and furniture arrangements used in the office reception areas

as important sources of information about individuals' first impressions of companies.














APPENDIX A
THE 23 SEMANTIC DIFFERENTIAL SCALES FOR JUDGING THE
PHOTOGRAPHS












Please evaluate the reception areas shown by selecting a point on each of 23 Semantic differential scales.


Inexpensive
Fine
Low quality
Spacious
Out of proportion
Chaotic
Eclectic
Uncluttered
Traditional furniture
Traditional artwork
Contemporary detailing
Curved lines
Orthogonal furnishings
Organic architectural elements
Bright lighting
Windows
Exposed light fixtures
High contrast color scheme
Informal seating arrangement
Conversational seating arrangement
Seating arrangement discourages social interaction
Absence of artwork, plants, and flowers
Soft materials


Expensive
Substandard
High quality
Cramped
In proportion
Unitary
Similar style
Cluttered
Contemporary furniture
Contemporary artwork
Traditional detailing
Straight lines
Organic furnishings
Orthogonal architectural elements
Dim lighting
Absence of windows
Concealed light fixtures
Low contrast color scheme
Formal seating arrangement
Airport seating arrangement
Seating arrangement facilitates social interaction
Artwork, plants, and flowers significantly present
Hard materials















APPENDIX B
STUDENT QUESTIONNAIRE

You will be shown photographs of 8 different office reception areas. Imagine

yourself sitting in each of these reception areas waiting for a job interview. Imagine

"what it might be like to work for these companies." You will be shown each photograph

for 2 minutes. During this time, answer the questions about the photograph1

































' From "First impressions of the symbolic meanings connoted by reception area design," by S. Ornstein,
1992, Environment and Behavior, 24(1), p. 96. Copyright 1992 by Sage Publications. Adapted with
permission of the Sage Publications.










Photograph 1

* Please record your impressions of the company shown by choosing a point on
each of 12 scales listed2


Flexible


Rigid


Tense


Relaxed


Rewarding


Unrewarding

Orderly

Pleasant

Negative

Deliberate

Approving

Prohibitive

Impersonal


Chaotic


Unpleasant

Positive

Impulsive

Disapproving

Permissive


Personal


Good


Bad


Uncomfortable


Comfortable


* Please indicate on a 9-point scale how much you would like to work for the
company pictured1 (l=dislike extremely, 5=neither like nor dislike, 9=like
extremely) circle one


1
Dislike
extremely


2 3 4 5
Neither like
nor dislike


6 7 8 9
Like
extremely


1 From "First impressions of the symbolic meanings connoted by reception area design," by S. Ornstein,
1992, Environment and Behavior, 24(1), p. 96. Copyright 1992 by Sage Publications. Adapted with
permission of the Sage Publications

2 From First impression of the symbolic meanings connoted by reception area design," by S. Ornstein,
1992, Environment and Behavior, 24(1), p. 91. Copyright 1992 by Sage Publications. Reprinted with
permission of the Sage Publications.










Photograph 2

* Please record your impressions of the company
each of 12 scales listed2


Flexible

Tense

Unrewarding

Orderly

Pleasant

Negative

Deliberate

Approving

Prohibitive

Impersonal

Good

Uncomfortable


shown by choosing a point on


Rigid

Relaxed

Rewarding

Chaotic

Unpleasant

Positive

Impulsive

Disapproving

Permissive

Personal

Bad

Comfortable


* Please indicate on a 9-point scale how much you would like to work for the
company pictured1 (l=dislike extremely, 5=neither like nor dislike, 9=like
extremely) circle one


1
Dislike
extremely


2 3 4 5
Neither like
nor dislike


6 7 8 9
Like
extremely


1 From "First impressions of the symbolic meanings connoted by reception area design," by S. Ornstein,
1992, Environment and Behavior, 24(1), p. 96. Copyright 1992 by Sage Publications. Adapted with
permission of the Sage Publications
2 From First impression of the symbolic meanings connoted by reception area design," by S. Ornstein,
1992, Environment and Behavior, 24(1), p. 91. Copyright 1992 by Sage Publications. Reprinted with
permission of the Sage Publications.










Photograph 3

* Please record your impressions of the company
each of 12 scales listed2


Flexible

Tense

Unrewarding

Orderly

Pleasant

Negative

Deliberate

Approving

Prohibitive

Impersonal

Good

Uncomfortable


shown by choosing a point on


Rigid

Relaxed

Rewarding

Chaotic

Unpleasant

Positive

Impulsive

Disapproving

Permissive

Personal

Bad

Comfortable


* Please indicate on a 9-point scale how much you would like to work for the
company pictured1 (l=dislike extremely, 5=neither like nor dislike, 9=like
extremely) circle one


1
Dislike
extremely


2 3 4 5
Neither like
nor dislike


6 7 8 9
Like
extremely


1 From "First impressions of the symbolic meanings connoted by reception area design," by S. Ornstein,
1992, Environment and Behavior, 24(1), p. 96. Copyright 1992 by Sage Publications. Adapted with
permission of the Sage Publications
2 From First impression of the symbolic meanings connoted by reception area design," by S. Ornstein,
1992, Environment and Behavior, 24(1), p. 91. Copyright 1992 by Sage Publications. Reprinted with
permission of the Sage Publications.










Photograph 4

* Please record your impressions of the company
each of 12 scales listed2


Flexible

Tense

Unrewarding

Orderly

Pleasant

Negative

Deliberate

Approving

Prohibitive

Impersonal

Good

Uncomfortable


shown by choosing a point on


Rigid

Relaxed

Rewarding

Chaotic

Unpleasant

Positive

Impulsive

Disapproving

Permissive

Personal

Bad

Comfortable


* Please indicate on a 9-point scale how much you would like to work for the
company pictured1 (l=dislike extremely, 5=neither like nor dislike, 9=like
extremely) circle one


1
Dislike
extremely


2 3 4 5
Neither like
nor dislike


6 7 8 9
Like
extremely


1 From "First impressions of the symbolic meanings connoted by reception area design," by S. Ornstein,
1992, Environment and Behavior, 24(1), p. 96. Copyright 1992 by Sage Publications. Adapted with
permission of the Sage Publications
2 From First impression of the symbolic meanings connoted by reception area design," by S. Ornstein,
1992, Environment and Behavior, 24(1), p. 91. Copyright 1992 by Sage Publications. Reprinted with
permission of the Sage Publications.










Photograph 5

* Please record your impressions of the company
each of 12 scales listed2


Flexible

Tense

Unrewarding

Orderly

Pleasant

Negative

Deliberate

Approving

Prohibitive

Impersonal

Good

Uncomfortable


shown by choosing a point on


Rigid

Relaxed

Rewarding

Chaotic

Unpleasant

Positive

Impulsive

Disapproving

Permissive

Personal

Bad

Comfortable


* Please indicate on a 9-point scale how much you would like to work for the
company pictured1 (l=dislike extremely, 5=neither like nor dislike, 9=like
extremely) circle one


1
Dislike
extremely


2 3 4 5
Neither like
nor dislike


6 7 8 9
Like
extremely


1 From "First impressions of the symbolic meanings connoted by reception area design," by S. Ornstein,
1992, Environment and Behavior, 24(1), p. 96. Copyright 1992 by Sage Publications. Adapted with
permission of the Sage Publications
2 From First impression of the symbolic meanings connoted by reception area design," by S. Ornstein,
1992, Environment and Behavior, 24(1), p. 91. Copyright 1992 by Sage Publications. Reprinted with
permission of the Sage Publications.










Photograph 6

* Please record your impressions of the company shown by choosing a point on
each of 12 scales listed2


Flexible


Rigid


Tense


Relaxed


Rewarding


Unrewarding

Orderly

Pleasant

Negative

Deliberate

Approving

Prohibitive

Impersonal


Chaotic


Unpleasant

Positive

Impulsive

Disapproving

Permissive


Personal


Good


Bad


Uncomfortable


Comfortable


* Please indicate on a 9-point scale how much you would like to work for the
company pictured1 (l=dislike extremely, 5=neither like nor dislike, 9=like
extremely) circle one


1
Dislike
extremely


2 3 4 5
Neither like
nor dislike


6 7 8 9
Like
extremely


1 From "First impressions of the symbolic meanings connoted by reception area design," by S. Ornstein,
1992, Environment and Behavior, 24(1), p. 96. Copyright 1992 by Sage Publications. Adapted with
permission of the Sage Publications
2 From First impression of the symbolic meanings connoted by reception area design," by S. Ornstein,
1992, Environment and Behavior, 24(1), p. 91. Copyright 1992 by Sage Publications. Reprinted with
permission of the Sage Publications.










Photograph 7

* Please record your impressions of the company
each of 12 scales listed2


Flexible

Tense

Unrewarding

Orderly

Pleasant

Negative

Deliberate

Approving

Prohibitive

Impersonal

Good

Uncomfortable


shown by choosing a point on


Rigid

Relaxed

Rewarding

Chaotic

Unpleasant

Positive

Impulsive

Disapproving

Permissive

Personal

Bad

Comfortable


* Please indicate on a 9-point scale how much you would like to work for the
company pictured1 (l=dislike extremely, 5=neither like nor dislike, 9=like
extremely) circle one


1
Dislike
extremely


2 3 4 5
Neither like
nor dislike


6 7 8 9
Like
extremely


1 From "First impressions of the symbolic meanings connoted by reception area design," by S. Ornstein,
1992, Environment and Behavior, 24(1), p. 96. Copyright 1992 by Sage Publications. Adapted with
permission of the Sage Publications
2 From First impression of the symbolic meanings connoted by reception area design," by S. Ornstein,
1992, Environment and Behavior, 24(1), p. 91. Copyright 1992 by Sage Publications. Reprinted with
permission of the Sage Publications.










Photograph 8

* Please record your impressions of the company
each of 12 scales listed2


Flexible

Tense

Unrewarding

Orderly

Pleasant

Negative

Deliberate

Approving

Prohibitive

Impersonal

Good

Uncomfortable


shown by choosing a point on


Rigid

Relaxed

Rewarding

Chaotic

Unpleasant

Positive

Impulsive

Disapproving

Permissive

Personal

Bad

Comfortable


* Please indicate on a 9-point scale how much you would like to work for the
company pictured1 (l=dislike extremely, 5=neither like nor dislike, 9=like
extremely) circle one


1
Dislike
extremely


2 3 4 5
Neither like
nor dislike


6 7 8 9
Like
extremely


1 From "First impressions of the symbolic meanings connoted by reception area design," by S. Ornstein,
1992, Environment and Behavior, 24(1), p. 96. Copyright 1992 by Sage Publications. Adapted with
permission of the Sage Publications
2 From First impression of the symbolic meanings connoted by reception area design," by S. Ornstein,
1992, Environment and Behavior, 24(1), p. 91. Copyright 1992 by Sage Publications. Reprinted with
permission of the Sage Publications.









Background Information


Gender
a) Male
b) Female


Year you were born: 19


Highest education level completed
a) High school
b) Some college
c) Bachelor's degree
d) Graduate degree


What is your major?





Do you have any prior work experiences) in a large company or an office (30+ people)?
a) Yes
b) No


If YES, how long did you work for the company or an office?















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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

Jahae Park was born in Seoul Korea in June 1979. Jahae and her family moved to

Salt Lake City, Utah, USA in December of 1990. Since she was a child, she has always

been interested in the design of buildings and interior spaces. In May of 2001, she

obtained a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies from University of Utah. After

gaining some experience working at Don Brady Interior Design, Jahae became interested

in the field of interior design and decided to further her education in interior design. In

the fall of 2002, she enrolled in the Master of Interior Design program at the University

of Florida. Her primary research interest focuses on the symbolic messages conveyed by

office design. Upon completion of this master's thesis, Jahae plans to work in the

commercial design industry, particularly in the field of corporate design.