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Making Fun: A case study exploring how managers can impact workplace fun

Spencer, Mona Sylvia LU (2015) MGTN59 20151
Department of Business Administration
Abstract
Work and fun have traditionally been seen as opposites. There is however increasing interest among academics and businesses in the potential benefits of uniting the two. Yet, not a great deal has been studied on how managers are to impact such a process. The literature often sees the role of managers limited to that of “party planners” where they conduct a series of fun activities, with varying and unpredictable degrees of success. The aim of this thesis is to go beyond such an understanding to explore in greater depth how managers can impact workplace fun in a manner that is meaningful for employees. In addition, two supplementary questions are explored as to what shapes employees’ experiences of workplace fun and what the perceived... (More)
Work and fun have traditionally been seen as opposites. There is however increasing interest among academics and businesses in the potential benefits of uniting the two. Yet, not a great deal has been studied on how managers are to impact such a process. The literature often sees the role of managers limited to that of “party planners” where they conduct a series of fun activities, with varying and unpredictable degrees of success. The aim of this thesis is to go beyond such an understanding to explore in greater depth how managers can impact workplace fun in a manner that is meaningful for employees. In addition, two supplementary questions are explored as to what shapes employees’ experiences of workplace fun and what the perceived effects of workplace fun are. A theoretical framework is employed where fun is seen as a subjective experience enabled and constrained by boundaries, and a distinction is made between organized and organic forms of fun. Qualitative methods are employed using a single case study of a medium sized company in Iceland. 22 semi-structured interviews were conducted and a week was spent in the organization, allowing for participant observation. The findings reveal that managers can meaningfully impact workplace fun through more subtle ways than previously thought. Employees experience of their manager’s trust towards them emerged as a central factor enabling organic and spontaneous fun in the workplace, as employees felt comfortable with having fun at work knowing that their managers trusted them. Moreover, managers were seen as informal and themselves taking part in the fun, which further enhanced overall workplace fun. Although previous literature has not addressed the role of organic fun emerging naturally in the workplace, organic fun was found to be of central importance to employees. Moreover, organic and organized fun were found to have a mutually reinforcing effect on each other, enhancing the success of each. Problematic dynamics were found when general organizational boundaries were not in line with personal boundaries of individuals, resulting in dissatisfaction among some who viewed the level of fun to be too high. The main implications of the findings pertain to the role of managers in impacting workplace fun, as managers may more meaningfully impact workplace fun by shaping an environment where fun can emerge more naturally. The findings of this project show the positive effects of workplace fun to include: job satisfaction, lower turnover rates and enhanced collaboration. (Less)
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author
Spencer, Mona Sylvia LU
supervisor
organization
course
MGTN59 20151
year
type
H1 - Master's Degree (One Year)
subject
keywords
workplace fun, boundaries, organic fun, managers
language
English
id
7373790
date added to LUP
2015-06-29 14:26:20
date last changed
2015-06-29 14:26:20
@misc{7373790,
  abstract     = {Work and fun have traditionally been seen as opposites. There is however increasing interest among academics and businesses in the potential benefits of uniting the two. Yet, not a great deal has been studied on how managers are to impact such a process. The literature often sees the role of managers limited to that of “party planners” where they conduct a series of fun activities, with varying and unpredictable degrees of success. The aim of this thesis is to go beyond such an understanding to explore in greater depth how managers can impact workplace fun in a manner that is meaningful for employees. In addition, two supplementary questions are explored as to what shapes employees’ experiences of workplace fun and what the perceived effects of workplace fun are. A theoretical framework is employed where fun is seen as a subjective experience enabled and constrained by boundaries, and a distinction is made between organized and organic forms of fun. Qualitative methods are employed using a single case study of a medium sized company in Iceland. 22 semi-structured interviews were conducted and a week was spent in the organization, allowing for participant observation. The findings reveal that managers can meaningfully impact workplace fun through more subtle ways than previously thought. Employees experience of their manager’s trust towards them emerged as a central factor enabling organic and spontaneous fun in the workplace, as employees felt comfortable with having fun at work knowing that their managers trusted them. Moreover, managers were seen as informal and themselves taking part in the fun, which further enhanced overall workplace fun. Although previous literature has not addressed the role of organic fun emerging naturally in the workplace, organic fun was found to be of central importance to employees. Moreover, organic and organized fun were found to have a mutually reinforcing effect on each other, enhancing the success of each. Problematic dynamics were found when general organizational boundaries were not in line with personal boundaries of individuals, resulting in dissatisfaction among some who viewed the level of fun to be too high. The main implications of the findings pertain to the role of managers in impacting workplace fun, as managers may more meaningfully impact workplace fun by shaping an environment where fun can emerge more naturally. The findings of this project show the positive effects of workplace fun to include: job satisfaction, lower turnover rates and enhanced collaboration.},
  author       = {Spencer, Mona Sylvia},
  keyword      = {workplace fun,boundaries,organic fun,managers},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Making Fun: A case study exploring how managers can impact workplace fun},
  year         = {2015},
}