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Society/business Center for Information Technology Research and Innovation Support Virtual Reality and Visualisation Virtual Reality and 3D-visualisation


I. Organizational and architectural design

Since time immemorial strong leaders have used architecture to enforce their power. King Kufu’s Great Pyramid at Giza, the Flavian amphitheatre by Vespasian in Rome, and the palace of Versailles by the sun king Louis XIV are just a few examples how architecture can express the power of a dominion. The attacks on the Twin Towers in New York have confirmed this assumption, although in an extreme obscure way, just as the brave response with the design by David Childs and Daniel Libeskind for ground zero. Truly, architecture is more than only bricks, glass and steel. It is quite clear that it can express the meaning and power of a society. For organizations, similar lines of thought can be followed. Organizations do not only use their building to sit dry and comfortable, but in many cases they actively seek to structure the work, improve the performance, and express the corporate identity through architectural design. Again in this context, the building by far exceeds the meaning of its combined materials.

It seems that organization and architecture have a lot in common. A construction or re-construction is therefore a wonderful opportunity for any organization. It can be used to support organizational design and change or to improve current organizational processes and outcome. For instance, to support knowledge management at an office, to smoothen the workflow at a hospital, to market the corporate identity of a gas company, to create exhibition space for a modern art gallery, to change the working system at a pharmacy, to create an open culture for a municipality, to confirm the hierarchy within a faculty, etc. In all these cases we may expect the leaders of organizations to confront their strategic vision with the design ideas of the architect. This confrontation is the main subject of several projects at the University of Groningen in The Netherlands, which includes 3D organization science, simulation, and research on health care organization and innovation.

II. 3D Organization Science

From above we can argue that the professional practices of manager and architect are entwined in the design process of a building. However, managers experience serious problems to understand two-dimensional representations of architectural design and to confront these with their own ideas. It is here argued that immersive virtual reality can improve decision-making in these interdisciplinary design practices. It allows static visualizations of the interior, e.g. floor layout, volume, colour, and form and dynamic visualizations, e.g. moving agents, real-time changes in the physical layout, and discussion of its possible organisational impact based on organisational facts and figures. As a consequence a new scientific perspective emerges: 3D organization science in which behavioural and physical design problems are closely connected. A physical layer consists of a simulation of physical environments in using a three-dimensional model, for instance of airports, factories, health-care institutions, museums, offices, penitentiaries, stores, supermarkets, etc. A behavioural layer refers to the simulation of behavioural, logistic, organisational, and strategic processes. Here, theoretical knowledge from different functional areas in organization science and also from other disciplines such as social and cognitive psychology can be formalised in simulation models. In combining both layers the University of Groningen implants organization knowledge in an architectural environment by using immersive virtual reality. As a consequence, a new corporate debate emerges. For example, in an advanced detailed virtual representation of a new pharmacy shop the logistic streams of patients and staff can be visualized, interior details at the waiting room can be changed real-time and these visualized changes and it’s supposed organisational impact can be discussed. For more information on virtual reality please visit our Centre for High Performance Computing and Visualization.

III. Centre for Simulation

Modern simulation techniques allow organization scientists to develop new methods of inquiry, to connect functional areas and scientific disciplines, as well as to improve the relation with practice. Therefore, the Faculty decided to establish a centre for simulation. In this centre for simulation the activities concentrate on the agility of decision-making in organization design and change. Organization scientists with various functional backgrounds such as organization design, production management, marketing, and systems approaches work on simulation for the advancement of organization sciences. The centre a dopts the current existing research activities on simulation and will make new relevant connections between the activities. It is a platform to share knowledge, to create new knowledge and knowledge nodes, and to stimulate the use of modern simulation techniques. For instance, immersive virtual reality in a virtual theatre or in a CAVE.

IV. Centre for Research on Health care Organization and Innovation

At the Faculty of Management and Organization a substantial part of the research performed is in the health care domain. The centre for research on health care organization and innovation serves as a platform allowing a structural debate between organization scientists in health care. The centre seeks to share existing knowledge, develop new knowledge, and disseminate knowledge on the organization and transformation of care processes in relation with patient processes and outcome. The research seeks to combine practical support with fundamental scientific innovations and is published in academic journals.

Last modified:04 August 2020 4.30 p.m.