Dogs at the Workplace: A Multiple Case Study
2. Theoretical Background
2.1. Dogs and Humans—In General
2.2. Dogs in the Workplace
2.2.1. Interaction and Group Dynamics
2.2.2. Employer Brand
2.3. Risks of Having Dogs at the Workplace
2.3.1. Allergies, Phobias, and Dislikes
2.4. Limitations of Existing Research
4. Data Analysis
5.1. Flexible Organizational Culture and Policies
5.1.1. Trial-And-Error Mentality
5.1.2. Open Communication
5.1.3. Autonomy in Job Design
5.2. Positive Influence on Job Satisfaction and Climate
5.2.1. Positive Work Environment and Stress Release
So I somehow sit and hack on my laptop and talk on the phone and he comes and then I notice immediately, I take my time, look down at him, cuddle him, take him on my lap, then cuddle him again, and then I recharge my batteries in that moment, which maybe half an hour of break wouldn’t have brought me.
They lead in any case to the fact that at least the dog-owners have to really do a lunch break, that can happen in agencies quite often that one tends to leave out the break if there is too much work at times. […] That was also for me personally one of the motives for having a dog.
I honestly notice that the dog helps her because she goes out with him twice, she goes out twice and that’s sometimes very good and when she comes back with him after 20 min I get the impression that a few knots have loosened in the 20 min and it seems to be the fresh air.
5.2.2. Communication Improvement
[D]ogs definitely contribute to the exchange across the teams because the dogs are such a connecting element. […] so even if I’m only with a team because my dog is running there, or vice versa, that’s just a lot more social exchange in the whole agency.
5.2.3. Social Cohesion
5.2.4. Appreciation and Commitment
5.3. Symbolic Functions of Dogs at Work: Brand and Values
5.3.1. Applicant–Company Fit
[T]hen I would also immediately think, OK if he already starts like that, then he doesn’t fit in here either. That’s just the way it is in agencies, that everything is always very open and relaxed and that’s kind of like that.
5.3.2. Values and Implications
So we want to give our employees as much freedom and entertainment as possible and work-life balance and life-life balance and opportunities, and for me that includes that [being able to bring the dog to work].
5.4. Deriving a Grounded Theoretical Model
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
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|Kind of company||Marketing agency||Film production||Marketing agency||Public Ralations Agency||Marketing agency|
|Number of employees||10||6||40||30||12|
|Number of dogs total||2||1||1–3||5||4|
|Number of employees bringing dogs||1||1||1–3||5||4|
|Time since dog-friendly policy||5 years||3 months||9 years||20 years||20 years|
|Number of interviews held||2||2||3||3||2|
|“Going to the office without a dog is really more relaxed, because I also say, now I can have a date with a colleague, now I don’t have to go for a walk, now I can have dinner or something. Well, it is, it is a liberation sometimes”.|
“Well, I sometimes find it stressful to have a dog at work because I have this responsibility”.
“If I’m so busy, I still have to go out”.
“Bringing dogs with you of course also means obligation. Of course, you always have an eye on what they’re doing”,
“There are sometimes situations where they bark. But that’s relatively short. So, if this were to degenerate into barking through permanently”.
|Increased responsibility at work|
|[Answer on the question what it would mean for the dog-owner if the dog could not come to work anymore] “I would have to look what I can do with him the three days a week, so who takes care of him. It’s like a kid suddenly who doesn’t have a day care place anymore”|
“Because if you can’t bring your dog to work anymore, then you have a really big problem”.
|Increased responsibility in general|
|“So there is no regulation, there is only a gut feeling and I would discuss it with all employees”.|
“So if you find out[that it doesn’t work] after the dog had a chance, after a long enough period of time, after you got to know the dog”
“I would rather say there were no motives not to allow it”.
|Trial and error mentality|
|[Interviewee talking about breaks when the dog needs one] “Which is not a problem, no one’s looking at the clock and says that’s not OK. I wouldn’t say now that, somehow, the productivity suffers. Well, no more as if there are people standing at the coffee machine for too long, so it’s not like we have a fixed time anyway, but you have to do what has to be done and how long that takes…so if you can do the work in 5 h, you can go home and if you need 10 h, then you need 10 h”.||Autonomy in job design|
|“[W]e have regular personnel sprints, i.e., four-eye interviews with the management and employees, and that’s where we talk about something like that [dog behavior]. Both positive and negative”.|
“So there was a time when a dog actually growled at this typical example of postman or something. But there was the solution that the colleague really brought a dog psychologist with her”.
“[W]e have an agreement with all dog-owners that we also address critical situations, which can also lead to us prohibiting the bringing of the specific dog”.
|Positive work environment and stress release|
“Has that ever come up during interviews?”
[Interviewee after being ask what would happen if he could not bring his dog to work anymore] “I have a dog and I can never see him and I would ask myself if that is really the place where I would have to work”.
“I actually asked when I had my interview if I could take my dog with me”.
|Appreciation and commitment|
“So if someone here would say “Ah, do you really have dogs here, I can’t bear that at all”, then I would also immediately think, OK if he also starts like that, then he doesn’t fit in here either”.
|“[B]ut it is also a factor for every dog-owner, how my employer deals with the fact that I have a dog and because as an owner one has a responsibility and must plan continuously”.|
“So if something is important for an employee, then I do”.
“So we want to give our employees as much freedom and entertainment as possible and work-life balance and life-life balance and opportunities, and for me that[being able to bring the dog to work] includes that”.
|Values and implications|
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Wagner, E.; Pina e Cunha, M. Dogs at the Workplace: A Multiple Case Study. Animals 2021, 11, 89. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11010089
Wagner E, Pina e Cunha M. Dogs at the Workplace: A Multiple Case Study. Animals. 2021; 11(1):89. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11010089Chicago/Turabian Style
Wagner, Elisa, and Miguel Pina e Cunha. 2021. "Dogs at the Workplace: A Multiple Case Study" Animals 11, no. 1: 89. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11010089