The influence of plants on productivity: A critical assessment of research findings and test methods

I Bakker, DJM van der Voordt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)
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This paper aims to review available research into the impact of plants on people and labour productivity in order to test a number of hypotheses and the reliability and validity of “evidence based” statements.
An extended literature review has been conducted of research concerning the potential impacts of plants on people and labour productivity. In order to be able to compare the findings of different researchers, an analysis has been made of similarities and dissimilarities with regard to the research context, starting-points and test methods.
The paper identifies a lack of precise descriptions of the research design and poor comparability between different research with regard to the characteristics of the plant, test persons, test procedures, surrounding conditions and contents of the reports. Although we may conclude that plants can have a positive impact on the productivity of human beings, it is remarkable that in research reports and research papers the properties of the plant itself are only mentioned by exception. The condition of the plant - whether it is healthy or not – is not described at all.
“Only” 17 studies and underlying papers were investigated and no new research has been conducted with the proposed improvements.
Practical implications The findings can be used by managers to legitimate investments in plants and by researchers to improve (the comparability of) research into plants.
In addition to the review of the impact of plants on different types of productivity a vision is presented about the impact of the vitality of plants. Furthermore recommendations are given on how to cope with the methodological problem of poor comparability of research.
Original languageDutch
Pages (from-to)416-439
Number of pages24
Issue number9/10
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Bibliographical note

Accepted Author Manuscript


  • plants
  • vitality
  • productivity
  • research methods
  • comparability
  • model

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