Tag Archives: Green

Changing Organisational Space: Green? Or Lean and Mean?


“As organisations strive towards creating a greener workspace, managers must take great care how they explain to staff the reasoning behind the changes. Too often, what’s intended to be ‘green’ is instead views as ‘mean’”, Professor Pauline Leonard.

A recent study at the University of Southampton’s Work Futures Research Centre was published in the leading government and public service media platforms: the Public Servant and Government Today.

The research project ‘Making the Workplace Work’, funded by the British Council for Offices, aims to contribute to sociological understanding of organizational environmentalism through a focus on the workplace and changes in workspace. Lead by Professor Pauline Leonard, Professor of Sociology and Co-Director of the WFRC, the research findings was published in the following articles:

Going Green? Look out for the backlash, Public Servant, Edition December 2012

Stop presenting sustainability as a ConGovernment Today, Featured Article, 27th November 2012.

he recent dynamism in the design of workspace is frequently constructed by developers and managers as motivated by a desire to improve sustainability. These claims are reflected in the growing currency of ‘greenspeak’ in organizational discourses and policies at local, national and global levels, as well as a developing academic interest in organizational environmentalism. This article explores the extent to which the increase in an environmental rhetoric has been accompanied by a meaningful shift in organizational practices. Drawing on a new empirical study exploring the place of sustainability within workspace transformation, the study engages with Lefebvre and Foucault to argue that ‘green’ has frequently become bound up with ‘lean’ and ‘mean’ within organizational discourses and imaginations. This has important policy implications for organizations as well as broader theoretical implications for organizational environmental sociology.

Further information:

Changing Organisational Space: Green? Or Lean and Mean? Sociology published online 16 May 2012