Dogs at the workplace: a multiple case study

Elisa Wagner, Miguel Pina e Cunha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
285 Downloads (Pure)


As the work environment is increasing in competitiveness and stressfulness, more and more companies try to increase employee well-being. One option is allowing employees to bring their dogs to work, building on the considerable evidence that dogs have a positive influence on people’s well-being. However, little is known about how a dog’s presence influences the employees and the companies in offices. Therefore, we empirically scrutinize the presence of dogs in organizations and the impact of pet-friendly organizational policies, with multiple case studies with semi-structured interviews as their foundation. Based on an inductive approach for the data analysis, we found that organizational members consider that dogs can lower their stress, improve communication, and foster social cohesion when a flexible organizational culture is in place. This includes the following: Problems in the company are openly addressed; employees have job autonomy, with flexibility to take breaks; and mistakes and errors are allowed to be made by employees and their companions alike, and room to find solutions is given. The inflexible permission of pets at work can, on the contrary, create pressure and stress in employees. For the business world, this implicates that this kind of incentive only leads to success if the right framework and culture is in place, and it cannot only be seen as an instrument to increase employee well-being.

Original languageEnglish
Article number89
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021


  • Dogs in organizations
  • Human–dog relationship
  • Pet-friendly policies


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