Allison Tsao


Profound changes are happening in the globalized work environment, challenging the existing way individuals operate at work and the traditional role of the workplace. The aim of this study was to examine the effects of the physical and social work environment through the lens of activity based working (ABW) to understand the effects ABW had on an individual’s ability to integrate their work and nonwork lives and how this contributed to wellbeing and productivity. Twenty qualitative interviews were conducted across three Australian-based organizations that had implemented ABW. By studying the pre and post change impacts through the lens of Person-Environment Fit Theory and Self-Determination Theory (SDT), the study presented findings that identify a strong linkage between the physical and social environments and how this linkage is able to fulfill an individual’s psychological needs—relatedness, autonomy, and competence—as defined by SDT. The study identified a greater sense of relatedness as the main benefit of an ABW intervention and suggested that there is a greater role for authenticity to play in the workplace in order to foster greater levels of autonomy. The study also identified competence as an area that organizations should focus more on in order to build and sustain the necessary skills and capabilities to work in an ABW environment. Participants described benefits to mental and physical health and wellbeing as well as productivity as a result of the ABW intervention.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (MA) -- Organization Development; Work-life balance -- Australia -- Case studies; Autonomy (Psychology) -- Social aspects; Identity (Psychology)

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graziadio Business School



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Egan, Terri;