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University Administrative Employees’ Perceptions of Their Offices’ Physical Environment Comfort


  • Ngcobo Sandiso

    (PhD, Professor, Mangosuthu University of Technology, South Africa)

  • Mhlanga Jabulani Samuel

    (MA, Lecturer, Mangosuthu University of Technology, South Africa)


Administrative office employees spend much time confined in their workspaces as they work hard to provide the critical support required for the overall performance of their organizations. As a result, their comfort should be given priority by their organizations, be it private or public. This article investigated the administrative employees’ perceptions of their offices’ physical environment comfort in a public university. Different aspects of their physical environment, such as furniture, noise, office temperature, lighting and space, were examined as variables influencing their performance. The systematization of literary sources for solving the problem of arranging a comfortable physical environment in private organizations proved a significant dependence of the productivity of employees on the physical environment in which they perform their duties. However, there is the scarcity of research conducted in a public organization, especially in the higher education sector. The methodological tool of the research was the method of quantitative analysis, in which a questionnaire was used to collect data from 81 administrative staff of a public university with several campuses in South Africa. The findings indicated that many respondents generally perceived a comfortable physical environment necessary to increase performance. These were, however, not always matched by their perceptions of what transpired at their offices. For instance, 63% of respondents viewed comfortable furniture as critical for the performance of their duties. Nevertheless, only 55% of respondents agreed that their university furniture was comfortable, with 24% disagreeing and 21% taking a neutral stance. The split in perceptions makes it imperative for the university to attend to areas of weakness and inequality in providing physical environment resources. A future study could examine whose offices are more comfortable than others in university contexts. In addition, a promising direction of future research should be the reconciliation of employees’ perception of the comfort of the physical environment in offices with the results of observations. This will enrich the obtained results.

Suggested Citation

  • Ngcobo Sandiso & Mhlanga Jabulani Samuel, 2022. "University Administrative Employees’ Perceptions of Their Offices’ Physical Environment Comfort," Business Ethics and Leadership, Sciendo, vol. 6(4), pages 61-78, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:vrs:belead:v:6:y:2022:i:4:p:61-78:n:5
    DOI: 10.21272/bel.64.61-78.2022

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    More about this item


    administrative staff; comfort; perceptions; performance; physical environment; public university;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions
    • J28 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Safety; Job Satisfaction; Related Public Policy
    • M12 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Personnel Management; Executives; Executive Compensation


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