Here are a few tips about sources, search terms, and strategies that you may want to try. Note that these tips are just a start: think broadly about the sort of information you need and about who might have that information (government/association/academic/news/etc.).
1. The following academic article outlines many of the key benefits and drawbacks that you will need to consider, so might be a good one to scan early in your research: "Perceptions of Dogs in the Workplace: The Pros and the Cons." (Tip: As with many academic articles, this one isn't a simple read. Consider scanning the Abstract, Discussion, and Conclusion sections first.)
2. The Dogs at Work Pro list of resources will help you dig deeper into this topic, but note that their list is largely focused on resources that are in favour of such policies.
- Many of the arguments for and against having pets at work centre on their psychological effects, both positive and negative, so it makes sense to focus on psychology journals. Start with this broad search.
- Note: If you see Dissertation Abstracts International as the source for some of your PsycInfo results, that means that document is a thesis or dissertation. In such cases, try searching Google for the title as many dissertations are now freely available via the institution where the student graduated. For instance, this dissertation is freely downloadable here.
- And for a less academic (but still psychology-focused) angle, check out this Psychology Today magazine article by noted dog expert and UBC professor, Stanley Coren: Dogs in the Workplace.
- Start with this very rough exploratory search.
- This business article database has articles on the "Pets in the workplace" aspect of this topic, especially in the form of articles in non-academic magazines read by HR practitioners (e.g. Employee Benefit News or HR Magazine). Such magazines will often mention real examples and external research -- be sure to follow such leads and look for the original sources!
- For instance, this recent article in HR Magazine mentioned this study published by a pet hospital, and this Investor's Business Daily article refers to this survey report by The Capital Group.
- I see that the pet hospital mentioned above conducted a second annual edition of their survey of pet-friendly workplaces in 2017:“Pet-Friendly Workplace: PAWrometer™”
1. Check for any law journal articles or even law reports on significant cases that have made it into the courts. For Canadian legal material, start with LawSource or CanLII. However, in my experience most law reports can be very dense and full of jargon. It's often simpler to start by looking for blog posts and magazine articles written by lawyers. For example: Pets: A Workplace’s Best Friend?.
2. The following article has a US focus (very different legal environment!), but it may still bring up legal issues and concerns that you could look into in a more Canadian context:
- Von Bergen, C. W., & Bressler, M. S. (2015). Employees' Best Friends and Other Animals in the Workplace. Employee Relations Law Journal, 41(1), 4-34.
Tips & miscellaneous resources
- Don't ignore older journal articles! In many cases such articles are exactly the clues you need to find newer research. Depending on the database involved, you will often see links to "Times Cited in This Database" which will guide you to more recent -- and likely directly related -- articles.
- For instance, the 2001 article "Critters in the cube farm: Perceived psychological and organizational effects of pets in the workplace" has been cited by 13 newer articles in PsycInfo (look for the Times Cited link on the left side of that article record). And when I check a broader tool such as Google Scholar, I find that at least 61 newer articles and chapters have cited my initial (old) article.
- I've come across more "pro" articles than "con" ones in my exploratory searches. I'm unsure if the evidence is stronger on one side, or if this is a case where the "feel good" momentum is resulting in more positive articles. You may need to make a special effort to ensure you've found and documented any possible negative aspects of this topic. Dig deep!
- For example, see this Fast Company article: Why Pets In The Workplace May Not Be As Great As You Thought
- Here's a recent and local CBC news article that mentions negative aspects: In dog-friendly Vancouver, some office workers ask: 'Who let the dogs in?'
- And this recent Slate article: "The Office That Became a Circus of Barking Dogs" is essentially a summary of the author's Q&A with people who have raised such issues on her Ask a Manager site. She's dealt with several questions about pets (esp. dogs) in the workplace. Be sure to read the comments on her site as they may bring up perspectives and issues you hadn't thought of, then research those perspectives and issues in more depth in other sources.
- I notice that the researcher "Dr. C.W. Von Bergen" has come up a few times in my searches, and at least two times on this wiki guide. That leads me to think that he might be an expert on this topic. Maybe check out his CV to see what other articles, presentations, chapters, etc. he has published?
- This article (found in Medline) explores some of the health aspects of the issue:
- The Better Cities for Pets site features toolkits, playbooks, and other resources aimed at supporting advocates for pet-friendly cities, businesses, etc. It's sponsored by a major petcare firm (Mars), and all of the resources appear to be strongly "pro," so be sure to seek out alternative perspectives and solid evidence from other sources!
- The Conversation ("an independent source of news and views, from the academic and research community, delivered direct to the public") has a recent article on this topic: The growing demand for pet-friendly workplaces which raises (but doesn't answer!) some important questions on this topic.
- Many HR associations and websites offer examples and advice on this topic. For example, see post at YourWorkPlace.ca and this one at the HRD: Human Resources Director Canada site.
- You may want to read the policies of other organizations. In most cases, internal company policies of this sort aren't made public, but public sector organizations are a major exception -- their internal policies are often freely available (with a bit of digging). Here are a few random examples:
- I was just searching for something completely different when I came across the following recent article:
- Wilkin, C. L., Fairlie, P., & Ezzedeen, S. R. (2016). Who let the dogs in? A look at pet-friendly workplaces. International Journal of Workplace Health Management, 9(1), 96–109. https://doi-org.proxy.lib.sfu.ca/10.1108/IJWHM-04-2015-0021
- And on a quick search of Google Scholar, I see that the above article has been cited by at least 10 newer articles and chapters since it was written in 2016. Maybe some of those citing articles will also be useful?
<No further suggestions yet - but keep checking. Also, don't forget that this is your wiki: you are welcome to add any tips here whenever you'd like. --- MB>