Architecture Program


Date of this Version

Spring 4-17-2012


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Science, Major: Architecture, Under the Supervision of Professor Betsy Gabb. Lincoln, Nebraska: May, 2012

Copyright (c) 2012 Dale R. Landry


People can be creative anywhere but how can designers and organizations encourage this process to occur at an office workstation through the physical work environment? This four stage study investigated what Interior Designers, experts in a field that judges creativity, felt they needed to enhance their creativity while occupying a workstation in a commercial or home office.

An exploratory mixed method of social science qualitative and quantitative research was employed that applied methodological triangulation validating the data through cross verification of codes produced through the narrative process that were perceived to influence the creative phenomena in office workers. In stage one, 12 Interior Designers were asked to produce drawings of their workstations and write a narrative on how their workstations encouraged their creativity. This data was used to develop a survey that was completed by 213 Interior Designers across North America. One hundred and twenty-nine of these participants also completed the optional narrative at the end of the survey discussing how their workstations contributed to their creativity.

A list of the top thirty-five items from the physical office environment, that the participants perceived to encourage their creativity, was produced. Twelve themes were also developed through the extraction of codes from the survey narratives and ranked in order of importance. The uniqueness of each participant was evident and many voices were heard through the narrative process used in this research project.

This study has set the ground work for the development of an instrument of measure that can accurately determine the physical needs of an individual to maximize their creativity and allow for their successful integration into an organization’s physical office environment.

This research adds to the evidence based design portfolio available to designers and organizational managers who are responsible for making design decisions that affect office workers at their workstations in the built environment; workers who produce creative ideas that can transform into innovative products and contribute to the health of an organization.

Advisor: Betsy Gabb