Navigating the Activity Based Working Environment: Relationships of self-leadership, autonomy and information richness with cognitive stress and performance

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In Activity Based Working Environment (ABWE) offices, employees are allowed increased autonomy and are expected to choose where, when, with whom, and to some degree with what, to work; in other words, employees are expected to self-lead to a higher degree and to coordinateand align with colleagues. Effectsof these expectations on employees’cognitive stress and performanceare understudied. In the present study, Swedish ABWE workers (N= 416) are compared with workers in cell offices (N= 30) and landscape offices (N=64), and relationships of self-leadership, information richness, and autonomy with cognitive stress and performance were examined using regression analysis. Results show no relationship between office typeand outcomes. For cognitive stress, information richness had the largest negative relationship, followed by self-leadership:goal-settingand autonomy. For performance, self-leadership:goal-settinghad the largest positive relationship, followed by information richness.This suggests that when organizational situations cannot be strongly structured–for examplebecause the best work process is not known, or innovation or different collaboration constellations are needed–they need instead to be enrichedso that employee orientation and coordinationdo not become too much of a burden on the individual employee, disruptingcognitive functioning and performance.


  • Gisela Bäcklander
  • Calle Rosengren
  • Lena Lid Falkman
  • Cecilia Stenfors
  • Aram Seddigh
  • Walter Osika
  • Emma Stenström
External organisations
  • Stockholm School of Economics
  • Karolinska Institutet
  • National Institute for Psychosocial Factors and Health, Stockholm
  • KTH Royal Institute of Technology
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Business Administration
Original languageEnglish
JournalScandinavian Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Publication categoryResearch

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