Fun at Work: Research Variables

Subject: Sciences
Pages: 6
Words: 1676
Reading time:
7 min
Study level: PhD

‘Fun at work’ entails any social or interpersonal task that is meant to be entertaining in nature. The tasks are meant to provide employees with amusement, joy, and pleasure when carrying out their usual duties at the workplace. The activities do not necessarily have to be related to the job the employees are involved in. The pleasure experienced positive impacts on the attitude and productivity of all the employees involved (Decker, 2012). Generally, fun at work is a broad and encompassing field. As a result, various researchers have engaged in the task of identifying all its elements. Initially, there were three major categories of activities that were considered to be fun contributors. They include recognition of personal milestones, social occasions, and public celebrations of professional achievements (Penenberg, 2013). Today, researchers have managed to develop comprehensive models that generate the fun element.

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As already indicated, fun at work has three distinct categories. They include celebrating, socializing, and enjoying personal freedoms. Two important aspects of this element are taken into consideration when studying excitement at the workplace. They include the experience of fun and an individual’s attitude towards enjoyment. Employees who fully enjoy their work experience report reduced levels of stress. In addition, they exhibit low tendencies of turnover and absenteeism (Russo, 2010). They are more energized and motivated to carry on their duties compared to their counterparts who do not enjoy the work.

In this paper, the author will identify five articles that investigate mediating, moderating, or independent variables related to fun at the workplace. The major objective of this undertaking is to make contributions to the fun at work theory.

Research Articles Analyzing Fun at Work Theory

A total of five quantitative research articles were obtained. All the sources address the issue of fun at work and its impact on employees and productivity in general.

Variables that Influence Fun at Work

The five articles address various theories and models used in identifying variables that dictate physical activities and work behaviors. Researchers analyze assumptions made in the theories from two major perspectives. The first is by examining relations between hypothetically derived variables and behavior (MacKinnon, 2011). The second is by assessing interventions intended to alter the influence associated with behavioral change. The erratic associated with the fun at work concept is independent, mediating, moderating, and dependent.

In the articles, mediating variables act as intermediates between independent casual elements and final results. They are considered as factors that alter the impact of ‘x’ on ‘y’. The erratic is used to approximate the manner in which a variable ‘z’ affects ‘x’ on ‘y’ (MacKinnon, 2011). Mediators are approximated in four dimensions. They are path analysis, structural equation, multilevel modeling, and proxies set in linear regression. In a program, substantive mediators are considered as the key mechanisms that produce effects.

In the five articles, moderating variables change the strength of a relationship between two erratic (MacKinnon, 2011). They indicate the conditions under which a certain effect can be expected. In addition, they alter the direction of a relationship. Independent variables are controlled by the researchers in the studies reported. However, they are not dependent on the alterations of other variables. In addition, they are considered as the presumed cause or antecedent. In non-experimental cases where influence is not present, independent variables are erratic. They have some level of effect on dependents (Jackson, 2012). Dependent variables refer to the results needed by the researcher. They are the elements measured in an experiment.

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Analyzing the Five Articles

Prospective analysis of register-based outcomes

The first article is by Clausen, Nielsen, Carneiro, and Borg (2011). In this article, Clausen et al. (2011) aim at exploring the psychological effects associated with specific job demands in a nursing home. The study was carried out among nurses in these institutions. The key constructs in the theory are the psychological aspects associated with employees and the outcomes of the effects (Clausen et al., 2011). The relationship between the results forms the interaction present between the two. The mediating construct, in this case, is the psychological issue experienced. The effect is the quality of work.

The constructs are operationalized by analyzing their effects on each other and how they help to complete the researcher’s cause. The study involved employees in 35 Danish towns (Penenberg, 2013). Major work demands and resources were investigated to analyze they affected employed. The research method used to collect data was questionnaires.

The statistical analysis methodology employed was Cox proportional hazards model. The findings revealed 6.5 percent of the participants were greatly affected by the huge jobs demands and their need to deliver results as expected (Penenberg, 2013). Clause et al. (2011) interpreted the findings and concluded that employees need breaks. The reason is so as to help them relax. As a result, they will feel less burdened and enjoy their work more.

A realistic look at why work is not more fun

The second article is by Lyttle (2010). The research explored the importance of humor in workplaces. The key constructs are amusement, distraction, and credibility. Their association results from the link between them. The effect of one aspect gives rise to another element. The mediating construct is humor. The mediator is the employees credibility.

The constructs are operationalized by the research process employed by the experts. The survey used 809 participants from a corporate industrial setting. It examined 12 theoretically-derived explanations on quality of work and safety (MacKinnon, 2011). The research method used was interviewing. The statistical analysis employed was ANOVA. The results indicated that many employees considered humor to be an important aspect of their working environment. The group against amusement thought it might distract workers from their focus on quality and safety. Lyttle interprets the findings to mean that humor is important at the workplace.

Unauthorized fun at work

The third article was by Decker (2012). The researcher explores motivation theory associated with play at work (Decker, 2012). The key constructs in the study are motivation and supervision. They are related in that they all are linked to an employees performance and quality of work. The effect construct is the result of goofing. The cause is the minimal supervision. The constructs are operationalized by analyzing them together to determine their effects on employees behavior.

The study involved students in undergraduate management classes at Atlantic University. It used 192 males and 158 females (Decker, 2012). Each respondent was required to indicate their employment status. The research was conducted by use of questionnaires. The statistical method used to analyze the results was regression and factor analysis. It was found that majority of employees ‘goof’ on the job and value fun. From the data collected, the researchers concluded that fun is a motivating factor among employees. They enjoy their duties more when they are having fun.

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Workplace fun and job satisfaction

The fourth article is by In and Ching (2010). It is a dissertation for a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business Administration. The researchers explore the aspect of attitude (Lamm & Meeks, 2009). The key constructs are employees’ feelings of satisfaction and perception towards work. They are related in that one aspect affects the other. When an employee is unhappy, he or she will have a negative outlook towards the job. The moderating construct is attitude. The mediator is the satisfaction. They are operationalized by analyzing them together to determine their effects on employees behavior.

The study involved 102 workers from Mass Transit Railway Corporation Limited (Lamm & Meeks, 2009). Data were collected by the use of questionnaires. The statistical method applied was hierarchical regression analysis. The results revealed that the majority of the respondents favored the fun at work initiative. From the findings, the researchers concluded that excitement is crucial to job satisfaction, especially in stressful work environments (In & Ching, 2010).

Effects of workplace fun on employee morale and performance

The final article was by Patel and Desai (2013). In this article, the researchers explore the aspect of morale (Penenberg, 2013). The key constructs are monotony and performance. The moderating construct is morale. The effect is poor performance. The two are related by the influence they have on each other. They are operationalized by analyzing their impact on the employee.

The study involved 129 respondents. Each was required to provide details on how fun motivated their performance by reducing monotony. The data was collected by the use of structured questionnaires (Penenberg, 2013). The statistical methodology applied to analyze the findings was regression and factor analysis. It was found that more than a third of the participants favored a fun working environment. From the results, Patel and Desai (2013) concluded that enjoyment plays a similar role as an energy drink. To this end, it helps retain employees in an organization (Patel & Desai, 2013).

A gap in the Knowledge of Fun at Work Theory

Most employers consider only two elements when it comes to motivating employees to work harder, faster, and smarter. The two are threats and remuneration. However, threatening is no longer effective in today’s society. On its part, paying workers more money provides only short-term success (Decker, 2012). Fun at work should be extended to the employees’ and employer’s families. They can be included by organizing open fun days, for example, once every three months. In the process, workers can engage in various entertainment and competitive activities. As a result, the bonds between employees will strengthen, improving the working environment.

One example of a moderator variable study that can contribute to the theory is analyzing lack of seriousness. Some employees may decide to misuse the fun concept and take matters in the workplace lightly (Russo, 2010). As a result, their coordination may become poor when dealing with complex issues, which require attention.


Fun workplace activities play a big role in enhancing employees’ productivity. Consequently, employers should come up with challenging, creative, and fun environments for workers and for themselves (Lamm & Meeks, 2009). When conditions are right, workers derive satisfaction from their job, increasing productivity. In addition, they attract more clients. As a result, the company registers more profits.

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Clause, T., Nielsen, K., Carneiro, I., & Borg, V. (2011). Job demands, job resources, and long-term sickness absence in the Danish eldercare services: A prospective analysis of register-based outcomes. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 68(1), 127-136.

Decker, W. (2012). Unauthorized fun at work (goofing off): Predictors and implications. International Journal of Business and Social Science, 3(5),1-7.

In, C., & Ching, Y. (2010). Workplace fun and job satisfaction: The moderating effects of attitudes toward fun. Thesis. School of Business, Hong Kong Baptist University.

Jackson, S. (2012). Research methods and statistics: A critical thinking approach (4th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

Lamm, E., & Meeks, M. (2009). Workplace fun: The moderating effects of generational differences. Employee Relations, 31(6), 613-631.

Little, J. (2010). A realistic look at why work is not more fun. International Journal of Arts and Sciences, 3(13), 532-541.

MacKinnon, D. (2011). Integrating mediators and moderators in research design. Research on Social Work Practice, 2(21), 675-681.

Patel, B., & Desai, T. (2013). Effect of workplace fun on employee morale and performance. International Journal of Scientific Research, 2(5), 323-326.

Penenberg, A. (2013). Play at work: How games inspire breakthrough thinking. New York: Portfolio Hardcover.

Russo, D. (2010). Making room for fun in the workplace. Upper Saddle River, N.J: FTPress Delivers.