Need more evidence that office personalization is a good thing? Read on, Byron and Laurence report that “Most employees personalize their workspaces with photos, memorabilia, and other items—even in the face of constraints such as rules prohibiting personalization. . . . the objects with which employees personalize their workspaces (and even the absence of such objects) symbolize who they are and who they want to be. Through their symbolic representations of self, they find common ground (often through shared nonwork experiences), establish a common understanding of employees' work roles, and share personalistic information about the self—all of which contribute to relationship development among employees and their coworkers, customers, and clients.”
Kris Byron and Gregory Laurence. “Diplomas, Photos, and Tchotchkes as Symbolic Self-Representations: Understanding Employees’ Individual Use of Symbols.” Academy of Management Journal, in press.