The Desk

Our final excerpt from The Dysfunctional Workplace: Theory, Stories, and Practice, “The Desk,” is about the experience of organizational space as symbol and metaphor.

June 18-25, The Dysfunctional Workplace is on sale for $20! Use code DW17 at checkout at our website or call 800-621-2736.

After Bob departed Frank had the office to himself. Frank’s experience of this space was how dominant Bob’s huge desk was in the space. The desk was very large and had two large extensions attached to it, making a U shape. The desk filled the room, leaving only a four foot aisle around the desk where eight armless metal chairs were lined up against the walls—four in the front and four to the right side. The desk on the left side was near a window, and it was a few feet from the back wall to allow walking around the desk to enter the U-shape. Frank’s experience of the desk in this space was one of sitting in a commanding position where everything else and everyone else were diminished, relegated to the thin strip of small chairs around the sides. Add to this a large high back chair and the feeling was one of power, dominance and mastery—a lord of the universe. When Frank replaced the desk with modern office furniture in the corner opposite the door to the room, the room turned out to be large and easily accommodated a small conference table for meetings in addition to having a welcoming sense of openness.

For more on the ideas behind the book, read a discussion with the authors.


Theory, Stories, and Practice
Seth Allcorn and Howard F. Stein

ISBN: 978-0-8262-2065-3 • Hardcover • 220 pp. • 6 x 9

On sale for $20 (regularly $45), June 18-25. Use code DW17 at checkout at our website or call 800-621-2736.

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