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Playing at Work: Organizational Play as a Facilitator of Creativity

West, Samuel LU (2015)
Abstract (Swedish)
Popular Abstract in Swedish

Syftet med avhandlingen var att undersöka om och hur lek påverkar arbetsplatsens kreativitet. Forskning har visat att leken är viktig för barns kreativitet, men leken kan också gynna vuxnas kreativitet. En vanlig definition av kreativitet är att den innebär skapandet av något som är både nytt och nyttigt. När lek definieras beskrivs den som ett mentalt tillstånd eller en inställning till det aktören gör snarare än en specifik aktivitet. Lek kan därmed definieras utifrån dess fem utmärkande egenskaper; leken är självvald, lättsinnig, upplevs som rolig, involverar fantasin och att leken växer fram utifrån en struktur eller givna regler. Lekens lättsinnighet är ett viktigt element eftersom leken... (More)
Popular Abstract in Swedish

Syftet med avhandlingen var att undersöka om och hur lek påverkar arbetsplatsens kreativitet. Forskning har visat att leken är viktig för barns kreativitet, men leken kan också gynna vuxnas kreativitet. En vanlig definition av kreativitet är att den innebär skapandet av något som är både nytt och nyttigt. När lek definieras beskrivs den som ett mentalt tillstånd eller en inställning till det aktören gör snarare än en specifik aktivitet. Lek kan därmed definieras utifrån dess fem utmärkande egenskaper; leken är självvald, lättsinnig, upplevs som rolig, involverar fantasin och att leken växer fram utifrån en struktur eller givna regler. Lekens lättsinnighet är ett viktigt element eftersom leken görs enbart för att det är roligt, leken leken syftar inte till resultat.



Avhandlingens första studie utforskade hur leken används av konsulter för att främja kreativitet i organisatoriska sammanhang, hur man tror att leken ökar kreativiteten samt hur leken främjas i arbetssammanhang. Undersökningens resultat tyder på att leken har stor potential att öka kreativiteten genom att träna öppenhet, öka medarbetarnas inre motivation och leda till goda relationer på arbetsplatsen. Studien identifierade även vad som anses främja eller dämpa lekfullheten på arbetsplatsen. Lekfulla stimuli och en uttalad tillåtelse att leka främjar arbetsplatsens lekfullheten medan påtvingat förkoreograferat “kul” och en hög stressnivå dämpar lekfullheten.



I den andra studien fick deltagare lekfulla stimuli eller ‘cues’ under ett vanligt inbokat arbetsmöte, medan en kontrollgrupp fick en vanlig fruktkorg. Experimentet visade att lek-cues/stimuli ökar mötets kreativa klimat, lekfullhet samt även deltagarnas upplevelse av mötes-produktiviteten.



Den tredje studien undersökte hur en längre lekintervention bestående av en kurs i lekfull improvisationsteater påverkade medarbetarnas kreativitet. Jämfört med kontrollbetingelsen, visade interventions-gruppen efter lekinterventionen en ökning av både individuell kreativitet och gruppkreativitet.



Huvudslutsatsen av avhandlingens tre undersökningar är att det finns ett positivt samband mellan arbetsplatsens lek och kreativitet. Den kunskapen är av stor vikt för de organisationer som strävar efter att öka kreativitet och innovation, då främjandet av ett lekfullt arbetsklimat potentiellt gynnar såväl arbetsglädjen som kreativiteten. (Less)
Abstract
This thesis investigates how play may benefit creativity in organizational contexts. Play and playfulness have previously been linked to creativity in children and adults, but empirical organizational research is scarce. A widely accepted definition of creativity is that it involves the production of something that is both novel and appropriate. Play is defined as a behavioral approach that is characterized by play being: voluntary, fun, frivolous, imaginative, and in some way bound by structure or rules. An important distinguishing feature of play is that it is frivolous, which means that play is done just for fun and no other results or outcomes are expected.



The first study was an exploration of how play is used by... (More)
This thesis investigates how play may benefit creativity in organizational contexts. Play and playfulness have previously been linked to creativity in children and adults, but empirical organizational research is scarce. A widely accepted definition of creativity is that it involves the production of something that is both novel and appropriate. Play is defined as a behavioral approach that is characterized by play being: voluntary, fun, frivolous, imaginative, and in some way bound by structure or rules. An important distinguishing feature of play is that it is frivolous, which means that play is done just for fun and no other results or outcomes are expected.



The first study was an exploration of how play is used by organizational consultants to promote creativity, how play was thought to enhance creativity, as well as how play is encouraged in organizational contexts. The results suggested that play promotes organizational creativity via the mediating factors openness, intrinsic motivation, and the collaborative relationships needed to co-create and innovate. The investigation also identified a number of encouragers and discouragers of organizational play. Playful contextual cues and explicit permission to play are examples of encouragers, while imposed play activities and a stressful work environment are examples of discouragers.



The second study explored the effect of playful cues introduced during a scheduled workplace meeting versus a control condition receiving a conventional refreshments. The findings suggested that playful cues are a promising means by which to enhance the creative climate and playfulness in workplace meetings. The findings furthermore indicated that introducing play-cues does not risk meeting productivity.



The third study investigated the impact of an intervention of playful improvisational theater on organizational creativity. Organizational teams participated in a play intervention that consisted of three workshops of playful improvisational theater. Compared with the control condition receiving no intervention, the intervention group reported an increase of workplace playfulness and scored higher on post-test measures of individual and group creativity.



The combined results of these three studies support previously proposed creativity enhancing effects of organizational play. The implications for organizations wishing to enhance creativity and innovation are that fostering a climate of playfulness may be a means of stimulating organizational creativity. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
supervisor
opponent
  • Professor Mainemelis, Babis, ALBA Graduate Business School at The American College of Greece
organization
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
subject
keywords
improvisation, workplace meetings, organizations, innovation, organizational creativity, playfulness, creativity, Play
pages
74 pages
publisher
Department of Psychology, Lund University
defense location
Kulturens auditorium, Tegnérsplatsen, Lund
defense date
2015-12-04 13:15
ISBN
978-91-7623-478-5 (print)
978-91-7623-479-2 (pdf)
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
b150e689-f2e8-4b23-b8cf-fbbcd7e5ec98 (old id 8082537)
date added to LUP
2015-10-27 12:16:44
date last changed
2016-09-19 08:45:08
@phdthesis{b150e689-f2e8-4b23-b8cf-fbbcd7e5ec98,
  abstract     = {This thesis investigates how play may benefit creativity in organizational contexts. Play and playfulness have previously been linked to creativity in children and adults, but empirical organizational research is scarce. A widely accepted definition of creativity is that it involves the production of something that is both novel and appropriate. Play is defined as a behavioral approach that is characterized by play being: voluntary, fun, frivolous, imaginative, and in some way bound by structure or rules. An important distinguishing feature of play is that it is frivolous, which means that play is done just for fun and no other results or outcomes are expected. <br/><br>
<br/><br>
The first study was an exploration of how play is used by organizational consultants to promote creativity, how play was thought to enhance creativity, as well as how play is encouraged in organizational contexts. The results suggested that play promotes organizational creativity via the mediating factors openness, intrinsic motivation, and the collaborative relationships needed to co-create and innovate. The investigation also identified a number of encouragers and discouragers of organizational play. Playful contextual cues and explicit permission to play are examples of encouragers, while imposed play activities and a stressful work environment are examples of discouragers. <br/><br>
<br/><br>
The second study explored the effect of playful cues introduced during a scheduled workplace meeting versus a control condition receiving a conventional refreshments. The findings suggested that playful cues are a promising means by which to enhance the creative climate and playfulness in workplace meetings. The findings furthermore indicated that introducing play-cues does not risk meeting productivity.<br/><br>
<br/><br>
The third study investigated the impact of an intervention of playful improvisational theater on organizational creativity. Organizational teams participated in a play intervention that consisted of three workshops of playful improvisational theater. Compared with the control condition receiving no intervention, the intervention group reported an increase of workplace playfulness and scored higher on post-test measures of individual and group creativity.<br/><br>
<br/><br>
The combined results of these three studies support previously proposed creativity enhancing effects of organizational play. The implications for organizations wishing to enhance creativity and innovation are that fostering a climate of playfulness may be a means of stimulating organizational creativity.},
  author       = {West, Samuel},
  isbn         = {978-91-7623-478-5 (print)},
  keyword      = {improvisation,workplace meetings,organizations,innovation,organizational creativity,playfulness,creativity,Play},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {74},
  publisher    = {Department of Psychology, Lund University},
  school       = {Lund University},
  title        = {Playing at Work: Organizational Play as a Facilitator of Creativity},
  year         = {2015},
}