Physical Separation in the Workplace: Separation Cues, Separation Awareness, and Employee Motivation

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    Physical separation is pervasive in organizations, and has powerful effects on employee motivation and organizational behaviors. However, research shows that workplace separation is characterized by a variety of tradeoffs, tensions, and challenges that lead to both positive and negative outcomes. We develop new theory on the nature, antecedents, and motivational implications of separation awareness - a psychological state in which people are aware of their physical separation from others—and proffer a model of the mechanisms that link separation and motivation. We distinguish between control and autonomy affirmation as psychological states that are triggered by physical separation in the workplace, and discuss individual and context specific moderators, as well as motivational implications of separation awareness. In doing so, we reconcile the seemingly contradicting findings that have been produced in past research on the motivational and affective consequences of physical separation in organizations.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalEuropean Management Journal
    Issue number6
    Pages (from-to)462-471
    Number of pages10
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


    • Self-determination theory
    • Separation
    • Work motivation

    Cite this