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Organizational space

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Organizational space describes the influence of the spatial environment on the health, the mind, and the behavior of humans in and around organizations. It is an area of scientific research in which interdisciplinarity is a central perspective. It draws from management, organization and architecture (Dale and Burrell, 2008) added with knowledge from, for instance, environmental psychology (Evans and Mitchell, 1998), social medicine (Macintyre et al., 2002), or spatial science (Festinger et al., 1950). In essence, it may be regarded as a special field of expertise of organization studies and change management applied to architecture. The knowledge area is related to evidence-based design in which the influence of the spatial environment on patient's health, healing, and customer satisfaction are being researched in health care. It is also related to practice-based areas of management such as facility management which is primarily devoted to the maintenance and care of commercial or institutional buildings and to property management in which the operation of real estate is central. Sometimes it is also referred to as organizational architecture. The scientific field of organizational space must be distinguished from social architecture in which the development of information and communication technologies is central and also different from space science which is concerned with the study of the universe.

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  • How Private Companies Will Revolutionize Spaceflight
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  • TEDxBratislava - Alex KUTKA - Space - inspiration, knowledge, prosperity


Private Space Industry The idea of affordable space travel for the average person is an extremely exciting idea for many people - but exciting ideas attract a lot of media attention, with varying degrees of journalistic rigour, which can often make it hard to separate fact from fiction. If you’ve been following the space industry for a long time, you’ll surely be aware that it’s rife with broken promises and dead ends. It’s easy to get pessimistic about the space news cycle - big announcements and media hype, followed by cancellations and disappointments in the following years. But don’t make the mistake of assuming that failure is a universal truth for the space industry. Every week, thousands of men and women working for public and private space organizations are discovering new knowledge, methods and technologies that will revolutionize the cost of access to space. Companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin are planning to scale up, and launch, land and refurbish rockets at an unprecedented rate - if they succeed, they’ll have a transformative effect on the space industry as a whole, lowering the cost of access to space, and enabling the growth of infrastructure and economic activity in Earth Orbit and beyond. But right now, this transformation is in its very early stages - In this video, you’ll be learning about what the space industry actually is and how it works. You’ll explore the history behind private space flight, the companies operating in the sector today, and the ways that space transportation could eventually get cheaper. For an industry that deals with strapping people to the front of ballistic missiles and launching them at several times the speed of sound, progress in human spaceflight has been pretty slow for the last few decades. However, technological advances, as well as NASA’s strong investment in the private sector in the last decade means that we might be on the verge of a significant acceleration in space travel, fuelled by lower costs and simpler architectures. Space travel has always involved coordination between several organizations, relying on the large-scale organizational capabilities of governments (or militaries) and the engineering expertise of several smaller design bureaus or private enterprises. Since the world’s spacefaring nations began deregulating the industry in the 1980s and 90s, private companies have been able to launch their own rockets, and have done so successfully and profitably - After all, there is always going to be plenty of demand to put satellites into space. But crewed spaceflight (that is, launching people into space) has always been the purview of government organizations. That might all be about to change. NASA has poured literally billions of dollars into its Commercial Crew Development programme, allocating funds to private companies to accelerate the development of crewed spacecraft. Since the retirement of the Space Shuttle, NASA has been dependent on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft to transport astronauts to the International Space Station. While the Soyuz is a solid, reliable craft, it makes perfect sense that NASA would prefer to launch American astronauts from American rockets, on American soil. SpaceX, Boeing, Sierra Nevada, and Blue Origin have all been beneficiaries of this investment, but the bulk of funding has been put into two vehicles: Boeing’s CST-100 “Starliner” and SpaceX’s Dragon 2 capsule. Both of these spacecraft are designed to carry a handful of passengers to orbit, spend long periods of time in space and are reuseable. Their more traditional capsule-based designs make them simpler to engineer and safer to fly than the expensive and unwieldy Space Shuttle, not to mention cheaper to operate. (Shuttle: $90-56 million per passenger ($450m gross), Soyuz: $76mil pp, Dragon 2: $20mil pp ($160m gross)) These spacecraft are purpose-built for crew transportation, while the Shuttle was envisioned with multiple roles in mind, including space station assembly and satellite deployment. The Shuttle was often described as a “space truck,” and these new craft are more like “Space Minivans” - built for transport with a little bit of cargo capability. If there are no more delays (which, if industry trends are anything to go by, is unlikely), these crafts will be taking their first flights to the International Space Station in 2018. But what’s the point of having these revolutionary, cheap space minivans if there’s just one place for them to go? While getting a person into orbit is costly, building somewhere for them to go is even costlier. The International Space Station itself cost an estimated $150 billion to build, including research, development and launch costs. Part of the reason why no humans have been sent past Low Earth Orbit since 1973 is because all the major space agencies agencies have been focussing on building infrastructure for Low Earth Orbit. Russia, for example, has been building Space Stations (military and civilian) since the 1970s, starting with Salyut 1 in 1971, then constructing the modular Mir from 1986 onwards, laying the technological foundations for the International Space Station, which was co-constructed with NASA, the ESA, Canada and Japan. The research and experimentation done in Low Earth Orbit for the past couple of decades has been essential for understanding how human bodies handle microgravity over long periods of time, and how best to mitigate its effects. But, It’s clear that space agencies around the world are starting to get tired of swimming in the shallow end. The last few years have seen renewed interest in the exploration of near-Earth Asteroids, Lagrange points, the outer planets and, of course, Mars. NASA’s successor to the Space Shuttle, the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle, is envisioned to take astronauts far further than LEO. But this doesn’t mean that Low Earth Orbit will be ignored - as its name suggests, it is the region of space that is closest to Earth, which means that it’s the ideal location to build space stations - assembly, resupply, maintenance and crew launches are all cheapest to this altitude. On top of that, LEO is the perfect staging area for on-orbit refuelling, or the construction of large, multi-part spaceships. “Once you get to Earth Orbit, you’re halfway to anywhere in the solar system.” -Robert A. Heinlein By privatising the “grunt work” of getting stuff and people into space (and lowering costs in the meantime), space agencies will hopefully be able to focus their efforts and funding on more ambitious missions, while relying on privatised infrastructure for launch capability, crew transfer and cargo resupply. At the same time, investment into inflatables has the potential to lower the cost of space habitats significantly - launching these habitats in their deflated configuration decreases the volume they take up on top of a rocket, enabling more habitable volume to be launched at a time. With the advent of the reuseable rocket, these habitats might eventually be launchable for a fraction of the cost they are today, which, much like the deregulation of space launches in the 1980s and 90s, has the potential to open the market up to nations, institutions and private organizations that would not have been able to afford it before. Just like how there are an infinite number of reasons why someone might want to put a satellite in orbit today, there are countless potential practical applications for an inhabited space station. In an earlier video, I likened the future potential growth of the space industry to the rapid growth of the computer industry in the 1970s, 80s and 90s. That is not to say that I think most people will have the opportunity to go to space in the next two or three decades. Rather, I think that many people will have the opportunity to invest in or work for a company that operates at least partially in space. Take this with a big grain of salt, because predicting the future is an impossible task, but the most likely scenario in my mind is that a more affordable way of getting to space will create a rich ecosystem of companies providing specialised services that are essential to keeping the sector functioning: things like debris collection services, space tugs, drydocks, propellant stations, station-to-station transport shuttles, just to name a few. And I haven’t even mentioned the possibilities opened up by asteroid mining and automated manufacturing in space - rather than expensively launching equipment from Earth, it’s a lot more economical to harvest an entire mountain of resources at a time, and process it on-site. Specialised materials that would be tricky or impossible to make under a full G on Earth can be manufactured in microgravity in space. The ultra-sterile environment also allows for the creation of extremely pure materials. Some products made in space will very likely be of much higher quality than their equivalents on Earth. This is all obviously pretty vague and speculative, but this is the most plausible situations to me. I haven’t covered all the bases (I haven’t even mentioned how this might tie into SpaceX’s Mars plans). If this ends up happening, it will happen at a slower rate than you might want, but quicker than anyone would imagine. Even today, of these technologies are actively being developed by talented individuals. There is enormous potential for a diverse economy to emerge in space, Once it does, it’ll be as commonplace as computers, or airplanes, or railways are to us today - so sit back, read up, and just enjoy watching it all come together.

Spatial, physical and built environment

This research strand distinguishes three different environments: the spatial environment from the physical environment and the built environment.

  • Spatial environment: the total context in which humans in and around organizations function.
  • Physical environment: all tangible physical entities in and around organizations.
  • Built environment: that what is commonly understood as architecture and that what is permanently fixed to it.

Organizational-spatial cycle of change

The coherence between the organization and its spatial environment may be regarded as an interwoven interdisciplinary cyclical flux from contingencies, intermediates, performances to interventions (Mobach, 2009). The contingencies are the organizational, architectural, technological, and natural conditions under which organization function. In the end they influence the performance of an organization, but first they mix in the intermediates. In this way humans in and around organizations will, for instance, notice these contingencies and will give them meaning (Clegg and Kornberger, 2006; Van Marrewijk and Yanow, 2010). Moreover, the contingencies will also influence social contact (Becker, 1981; Steele, 1973) and the degree to which a spatial environment can be functional (Sharles, 1923). Subsequently, the intermediates influence different performances, for instance, the health, the mind, and the behavior of people in and around organizations. The spatial environment can cause illness, such as with the sick building syndrome (EPA, 1991), but it can also positively influence the vitality of people or the recovery after an operation (Ulrich, 1984). The performances can provoke managerial intervention. In turn, these interventions will change the contingencies, and by doing so, change the elements, relations, and properties of the conditions under which people function.


  • Becker, F.D. 1981. Workspace: Creating Environments in Organizations. New York: Praeger. ISBN 0-03-059137-6
  • Clegg, S.R., Kornberger, M. (eds.). 2006. Space, Organizations and Management Theory. Copenhagen: Liber & CBS Press. ISBN 87-630-0164-0
  • Dale, K., Burrell, G. 2007. The Spaces of Organisation & The Organization of Space -Power, Identity & Materiality at Work. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan. ISBN 0-230-57268-5
  • EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency). 1991. Office of Air and Radiation. Indoor Air Facts No. 4: Sick Building Syndrome Washington: EPA.
  • Evans, G.W., Mitchell, J. 1998. When Buildings Don’t Work: The Role of Architecture in Human Health. Journal of Environmental Psychology. 18: 85-94.
  • Festinger, L., Schachter, S., Back, K. 1950. Social Pressures in Informal Groups -A Study of Human Factors in Housing. Stanford: Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-0173-3
  • Macintyre, S., Ellaway, A., Cummins, S. 2002. Place Effects on Health: How Can We Conceptualise, Operationalise and Measure Them? Social Science & Medicine. 55(1): 125-139.
  • Marrewijk, A.H. van, Yanow, D. (eds.) 2010. Organizational Spaces. Rematerializing the Workaday World. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar. ISBN 978-1-84844-650-2
  • Mobach, M.P. 2009. Een organisatie van vlees en steen. Assen: Van Gorcum. ISBN 978-90-232-4531-5
  • Sharles, F.F. (ed.). 1923. Business Building -A Complete Guide to Business for the Wholesaler, Retailer, Manufacturer, Agent etc. Volume I. London: Pitman.
  • Steele, F. 1973. Physical Settings and Organization Development. Addison-Wesley: Reading Massachusetts. ISBN 0-201-07211-4
  • Ulrich, R.S. 1984. View Through a Window May Influence Recovery From Surgery. Science. 224(4647): 420-421.
This page was last edited on 28 January 2018, at 14:08
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