5.1. Influence of Different Stakeholder Groups in Determining Key Space Management Components
Five stakeholder groups of space management in elderly facilities in China, including facility owners, facility managers, care staff, elderly residents, and academic researchers, were invited as Delphi panellists to participate in determining key space management components for China’s elderly facilities. After the selection of Delphi panellists, five academic researchers among these Delphi panellists were required to making the judgements upon the influence of different stakeholder groups based on the concept of stakeholder influencing factor (SIF). As a result, three rounds of discussion were carried out to reach an agreement on the parameters of stakeholder attribute value (A) and the vested interest-impact index (ViII).
The result of this judgement is summarized in Table 6
. Facility owners have the highest mean values for both vested interest level (v
= 4.2) and the influence impact levels (i
= 4.2). The facility manager group enjoys the second highest mean values with v
(3.6) and i
(3.8). All these five academic researchers agreed that facility owners and facility managers possess power (P
= 1/3), legitimacy (L
= 1/3) and urgency (U
= 1/3) in space management decisions, resulting in the attribute value of 1. Therefore, the normalized stakeholder influencing factor (Normalized SIF
= 0.333) of facility owners is the greatest of all the stakeholder groups, followed by the facility manager group with 0.293 (Normalized SIF
). The overwhelming majority of the academic researchers further confirmed the significant importance of facility owners and facility managers in the discussion rounds. In China, most elderly facilities are non-profit organizations with medium and small size. To reduce the human resource cost for maintaining bottom line profits, the majority of facility owners are responsible for operating and managing the elderly facility. Therefore, facility owners, who enjoy the highest power and pursue for obtaining the benefits of space management, would personally participate in space management practice and decision makings. This respect explains why facility owner have the highest stakeholder influencing value on space management. Besides, discussion results illustrated that the facility manager group took the space management work in practice and also they had the very professional experience on this work, which resulted in the higher value of stakeholder influencing factor.
In addition, the values of normalized stakeholder influencing factor in the groups of care staff, elderly residents and academic researchers are relatively low respectively with 0.105, 0.126 and 0.143. Academic researchers believe these three groups have no power to directly influence on space management in elderly facilities, leading to these groups’ low value of A
(2/3). As end-users of elderly facilities, the care staff group receives the lowest mean value of vested interest level (v
= 2.2) and the lowest mean value of influence impact level (i
= 1.8); the elderly residents gets the second lowest mean value of v
(2.6) and i
(2.2). This seems surprising since the concept users’ satisfaction has been promoted in recent years, especially in the research field of facility management [16
]. However, in the discussion on the selection of space management components, the care staff and elderly residents complained that they could have little impact on the space management decisions in practice. In China, elderly facilities pay more attention on the promotion of elderly care service rather than the end-users’ experience on space aspect, especially the care providers’ will for good workplace. Although the end users group having negligible impact on decision making, the academic researchers suggested that the end-users’ input should be further emphasized in the space management decision mechanism to promote the post-occupancy evaluation process. The last stakeholder group, academic researchers, claimed their strong will to have a real influence on space management practices. However, they also pointed out that their claims may not be treated by elderly facilities as formal recommendations. Academic researchers suggested that the encouragement of space management research would urge facility owners and facility managers to develop space management practice in elderly facilities.
5.2. Space Management Components in China’s Elderly Facilities
For the third step to generate the initial space management components, although most Delphi panellists made different selections, all these 11 potential space management components in Table 2
were marked with at least one vote. Through the content analysis on the voting results and the additional feedbacks (Table 7
), the initial list of space management components for China’s elderly facilities was generated (Table 8
) including space planning and assignment (marked as C1), space utilization rate audit (marked as C2), space occupancy cost audit (marked as C3), space inventory management (marked as C4), users’ space satisfaction management (marked as C5), space usability management (marked as C6), space change management (marked as C7), organization culture development (marked as C8), health safety and environment management (HSE management, marked as C9), and space strategy application (marked as C10). It was noted that the original component “staff productivity improvement” was removed due to its poor operability; space functionality management, space accessibility management and space flexibility management were integrated as space usability management; organization culture development and space strategy application were added to the initial list.
After two rounds of ranking on the space management components in the fourth step, 23 Delphi panellists reached an agreement. The facility owner group reached strong agreement (W = 0.774) after Round 1 and Round 2; the facility manager group had moderate agreement for the Round 1 and Round 2 (W > 0.50); the care staff group gave a moderate agreement with W = 0.639 after Round 2; the elderly resident group only require one round since its degree of consensus (W = 0.852) already reached strong in Round 1; the academic researcher reached strong agreement (W = 0.735) after two rounds. In other words, only the elderly resident group was required to rank for one round while the other groups were required to rank for two rounds. The results from two rounds of ranking along with their mean, standard deviation and the Kendall’s co-efficiency of concordance were shown in Table 8
With respect to the selection process in Step 5, seven space management components were chosen as key space management components for China’s elderly facilities based on cut-off point rules. All of these initial 11 components received lower standard deviation (SD < 1.0) in each stakeholder groups, illustrating the achievement of agreement level upon significance rating. Among of them, the components of C5 (users’ space satisfaction management), C8 (organization culture development) and C10 (space strategy application) were ranked with lower significance scores by majority Delphi panellists, resulting in their lower decision scores (see Table 8
). Therefore, these three components with lower decision scores (DS
< 3.0) were removed from the list of key space management components in elderly facilities in China.
This study further concludes the content of each space management component from literature review and Delphi panellists’ viewpoints. It is not surprising that the component of HSE (health, safety and environment) management have the highest decision scores. Prior studies also proposed that providing a comfortable, safe and healthy physical environment is a very critical goal in the operation of elderly facilities [54
]. Obviously, this goal can be achieved through HSE management which could directly enhance end-users’ living satisfaction or working productivity [16
]. Space planning and assignment (C1) receives the second highest decision score, which is one traditional part of space management work. In practice, the detail of this work includes linking space to core business, projecting space requirements, planning or re-planning the space configuration, assigning available spaces to end-users [56
]. The decision score of space usability management (C6) is ranked in the highest three of the components. The concept of usability has emerged in recent years, largely in the built environment. In terms of the elderly facilities, space usability describes the attributes of physical environment regarding functionality, accessibility, flexibility and so on, which is applicable in the post occupancy evaluation of the built environment [31
]. Most Delphi panellists claimed that the management of space usability in space management should be strengthened.
The audit of space utilization (C2) and space occupancy cost (C3) are recognized as classic space management work in modern integrated workplace management systems (IWMS) [23
]. Delphi panellists’ concern on these two components illustrates that classic space management practice is being widely promoted by stakeholders in elderly facilities. Space utilization management refers to gathering occupancy data for evaluate space utilization rate and optimizing space-use with strategies. In addition, space occupancy cost audit requires the organizations internally bill departments for the space they occupy. This practice also helps facility managers to understand the overall operational cost related to space and then to carry out strategies for reducing the operation cost of elderly facilities. Another component named space inventory management (C4) has been ranked at sixth position. However, in the framework of integrated workplace management systems, space inventory management is usually set in the first part of space management section. The space inventory management sector commonly includes the gathering and updating space hierarchy data, space layout and occupancy data, etc. In practical perspective, space inventory management should be paid more attention by facility owners and facility managers. Regarding space change management (C7), this work process is necessary since moves occurred frequently in elderly facilities due to organization growth, or individual movement. In addition, effective change management can have a significant impact on organization’s business strategy and bottom line, in which the factors of cost, risk and reaction time should be noted.
In addition, after an informal communication with Delphi panellists who rated C5, C8 and C10 with lower scores, several reasons could be concluded below for explaining why these three components were removed. Regarding users’ space satisfaction management (C5), this component is deleted since it has been involved in the management of C1, C2, C3, C6, C7 and C9. Although the organization culture development was being widely proposed in workplace management, few Delphi panellists noticed that space was the medium for expressing organizational culture and values in elderly facilities. This resulted in that the component of C8 had the second lowest decision score. For the application of space strategy (C10) such as benchmarking tools, gap analysis and technology tools, this is the tool for improving space management performance rather than the management components. It could be inferred that the majority space strategy were produced from the best practice of managing key space management components in elderly facilities. Besides, prior study on elderly facilities in China also pointed that informatization systems (IWMS) could not deliver efficiency to China’s elderly facilities because the scale of most elderly facilities is small and medium with less than 300 beds [17
5.3. Difference Views of Various Stakeholders upon Key Space Management Components in China’s Elderly Facilities
Unlike the conventional prioritizing approach in most Delphi studies, this study applies the stakeholder influencing factor (SIF) to fully consider all major stakeholders’ different opinions on the significance of space management components for China’s elderly facilities. The overall consensus level of Delphi panellists in both ranking rounds is 0.296 (W) and 0.460 (W), respectively, illustrating the weak agreement among Delphi panellists. This further claims that every stakeholder’s needs may be different or even conflicting and also explains why each stakeholder group performs the ranking process separately.
compares the mean values of significance score within each stakeholder group (Meanj
) and the decision score (DS
) of key space management components in all groups, which clearly shows that the decision score integrate all stakeholders’ benefits. It is worth noting that both the care staff and the elderly residents, as end users, have more concerns on the architecture aspects such as space usability management (C6) and HSE management (C9), while the management aspects such as space utilization audit (C2) and space inventory management (C4) are ignored by them. This is reasonable because only the influence of architecture aspects relating to space function and environment could be noticed directly by end users since they receive the space service directly, while the benefits of management aspects are not experienced directly. Another point needs to be described is that the line of facility manager generally align with the line of decision score, and there is only one big gap regarding the component of space inventory management (C4). It can be discovered that the ignorance of space inventory management by facility owners results in this big gap. It is surprise that there are still some facility owners who do not notice the big significance of space inventory management. In reality, space inventory management is the basic work for the audit of space utilization (C2) and space occupancy cost (C3). In general, the financial aspects (e.g., space utilization and space occupancy cost) are prioritized by facility owners and facility managers, while the architecture aspects (space usability and environment management) are being more valued from end users’ perspectives. Besides, the academic researchers prefer to the classic space management aspects such as C1, C2, C3 and C4. Their professional and theoretical knowledge on conventional space management scopes may force them to focus on these components.