Publication Date

Summer 2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




Howard Tokunaga

Subject Areas

Occupational psychology; Organizational behavior; Psychology


Previous research shows that the physical work environment is related to various work-related employee outcomes. However, researchers have not focused on employee preferences for the physical work environment, nor predictors of such preferences. The current study proposed that job level and job family might predict employee preferences for the layout and design of work environments. The study also examined gender and age as moderators of the relationship between job level and employee preferences, and the relationship between job family and employee preferences. The results of online surveys from 157 employees of a medical technology company showed that job level predicted employee preferences such that non-managers had stronger preferences than managers for the sights and sounds in a workspace. Results also demonstrated that female managers preferred a visually appealing workspace more strongly than female non-managers. Female engineers were found to prefer a more closed, private, and non-distracting work environment than female non-engineers, whereas male non-engineers were found to prefer a workspace with a low level of noise and distraction more strongly than male engineers. Age was not found to moderate any of the relationships. Theoretical implications of this study include that employee preferences for the physical environment are somewhat predictable and should be further investigated. Results of the present study provide guidance for practitioners who are interested in optimizing the design of physical work environments.