Managing the workplace in a globalized world: The role of national culture in workplace management

EB Plijter, DJM van der Voordt, Roberto Rocco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
239 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose: to provide a better insight into the role of national cultures on the management and design of workplaces of multinationals in different countries.
Design/methodology/approach: This explorative study is based on an extensive literature review of dimensions of national culture in connection to corporate real estate management, interviews with ten representatives of multinationals on corporate real estate strategies and workplace characteristics, and a multiple case study of two multinational firms with site visits and observations at offices in the Netherlands, Germany and Great Britain.
Findings: Whereas all interviewed companies had their real estate portfolio to some extent aligned to the local national culture, none had a strict central policy about this issue. Differences in workplace characteristics were mainly caused by the involvement of local people in workplace design. Using Hofstede’s cultural dimensions the case studies showed relationships between masculinity of a culture and the expression of status and between uncertainty avoidance and openness to innovation; however, no relationships were found related to differences in power distance and short/long term orientation.
Research limitations: The case studies were conducted in three EU countries. Due to practical reasons, most interviewees were Dutch. Additional empirical research including more different national cultures is needed to advance more unequivocal conclusions and to develop a clear set of guidelines for decision-making.
Practical implications: The findings stress the importance of finding a balance between aligning facilities to business purposes and meeting the needs of different (groups of) employees in multinational environments.
Originality/value: Although much has been written about national culture, not much research is available yet in connection to facilities management and corporate real estate management.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)744-760
Number of pages17
Issue number13/14
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Bibliographical note

Accepted Author Manuscript


  • national culture
  • corporate culture
  • facilities
  • corporate real estate management
  • workplace characteristics
  • decision-making


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