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Fun in the Workplace: Toward an Environment-Behavior Framework Relating Office Design, Employee Creativity, and Job Sati...

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FUN IN THE WORKPLACE: TOWARD AN ENVIRONMENT-BEHAVIOR FRAMEWORK RELATING OFFICE DESIGN, EMPLOYEE CREATIVITY, AND JOB SATISFACTION By ALEXANDRA M. MILLER A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF INTERIOR DESIGN UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2005

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Copyright 2005 by Alexandra M. Miller

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS First, I would like to thank my committee chair, Dr. Margaret Portillo, for her direction and guidance throughout the entire research process. I would also like to thank Dr. M. Joyce Hasell for her support and valuable expertise. Additional thanks go to Dr. Larry Winner for his indispensable assistance as a statistical consultant. I would also like to thank PUSH for providing an excellent example of a fun workplace. In particular, I would like to thank partners John Ludwig, Chris Robb, and Rich Wahl for allowing me to conduct a case study of their business. Additional thanks go to Ron Boucher, Jourdan Crumpler, and Gordon Weller for taking the time to participate in interviews. I would also like to express my gratitude to Kathryn Voorhees for her help, humor, and friendship as she accompanied me throughout the research process. Finally, I would like to thank all of my friends and family for their support. In particular, I would like to thank to my parents for their constant support and for helping me to achieve my dreams. iii

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TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS .................................................................................................iii LIST OF TABLES ............................................................................................................vii LIST OF FIGURES .........................................................................................................viii ABSTRACT .......................................................................................................................ix CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION........................................................................................................1 Purpose .........................................................................................................................2 Assumptions .................................................................................................................4 Significance ..................................................................................................................4 Delimitations .................................................................................................................6 Research Questions .......................................................................................................6 Conclusion ....................................................................................................................7 2 LITERATURE REVIEW.............................................................................................8 Theoretical Background ................................................................................................8 Fun in the Workplace (Worker-Environment Interaction) .........................................10 Physical Work Setting ................................................................................................12 Worker Characteristics ...............................................................................................14 Management Style ......................................................................................................14 Outcomes ....................................................................................................................15 Creativity .............................................................................................................15 Job Satisfaction ....................................................................................................18 Conclusion ..................................................................................................................20 3 METHODS.................................................................................................................21 Research Design .........................................................................................................21 Case Selection.............................................................................................................22 Instruments .................................................................................................................24 Preface .................................................................................................................24 Job in General .....................................................................................................24 iv

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KEYS: Assessing the Climate for Creativity ........................................................25 Development of Interview Protocol ............................................................................26 Procedures ...................................................................................................................27 Standardized Tests ...............................................................................................27 Observations ........................................................................................................29 Photography .........................................................................................................30 Interviews ............................................................................................................30 Analysis ...............................................................................................................31 Limitations ...........................................................................................................33 Conclusion ...........................................................................................................33 4 FINDINGS..................................................................................................................34 The Social Environment at PUSH ..............................................................................34 Company Profile ..................................................................................................34 Employee Demographics .....................................................................................35 Creativity .............................................................................................................37 Job Satisfaction ....................................................................................................39 Workplace Fun ....................................................................................................40 The Physical Environment at PUSH ...........................................................................43 Entry/Lobby .........................................................................................................45 Conference Room ................................................................................................48 Workspaces ..........................................................................................................49 Kitchen ................................................................................................................53 5 NARRATIVE.............................................................................................................56 Orientation to Narrative ..............................................................................................56 Pushing the Boundaries of Work and Play .................................................................56 Interpretation ...............................................................................................................60 Conclusion ..................................................................................................................64 6 DISCUSSION.............................................................................................................66 The Social Environment at PUSH ..............................................................................67 Company Profile ..................................................................................................67 Employee Demographics .....................................................................................67 Creativity .............................................................................................................69 Job Satisfaction ....................................................................................................73 Workplace Fun ....................................................................................................76 The Physical Environment at PUSH ...........................................................................78 Entry/Lobby .........................................................................................................79 Conference Room ................................................................................................79 Workspaces ..........................................................................................................80 Kitchen ................................................................................................................83 Suggestions for Designers ..........................................................................................83 Suggestions for Further Research ...............................................................................85 v

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Conclusion ..................................................................................................................86 APPENDIX A PARTICIPATION REQUEST LETTER....................................................................88 B INTERVIEW QUESTIONS.......................................................................................89 Standard Interview Questions.....................................................................................89 Management Interview Questions ..............................................................................91 LIST OF REFERENCES ...................................................................................................93 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .............................................................................................96 vi

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LIST OF TABLES Table page 4-1. Normative KEYS data for PUSH................................................................................37 4-2. Creativity subscale scores by individual item ............................................................38 4-3. Normative JIG data for PUSH ....................................................................................40 4-4. Fun activities at PUSH...............................................................................................42 vii

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LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 2-1. Model for workplace environmental psychology .........................................................8 2-2. Model for fun in the workplace ....................................................................................9 3-1. Fun in the workplace model, showing methods .........................................................28 4-1. Employee education levels .........................................................................................36 4-2. Employee fields of study ............................................................................................36 4-3. Creativity subscale scores by individual item ............................................................39 4-4. Exterior of building ....................................................................................................43 4-5. Floorplan .....................................................................................................................44 4-6. Office design ...............................................................................................................45 4-7. Lobby space ................................................................................................................46 4-8. Reception desk............................................................................................................47 4-9. Additional lobby features ...........................................................................................48 4-10. Conference room ......................................................................................................49 4-11. Open workspaces ......................................................................................................50 4-12. Private office.............................................................................................................51 4-13. Wall displaying current campaign ideas ...................................................................52 4-14. Workspace before and after renovation ....................................................................53 4-15. Kitchen......................................................................................................................54 4-16. Collection of empty tequila bottles displayed in the kitchen....................................54 viii

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Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Interior Design FUN IN THE WORKPLACE: TOWARD AN ENVIRONMENT-BEHAVIOR FRAMEWORK RELATING OFFICE DESIGN, EMPLOYEE CREATIVITY, AND JOB SATISFACTION By Alexandra M. Miller December 2005 Chair: Margaret Portillo Major Department: Interior Design This study explored the role of office design in creating a fun work environment with the aim of improving creativity and job satisfaction. Moreover, this study tested an empirical framework of fun in the workplace. This framework was explored through a narrative case study examining PUSH, an advertising agency located in Orlando, Florida. PUSH was selected for this research based on their explicit inclusion of fun as a goal in their core values, recognition for their innovative office design, and their success as an award-winning advertising firm. PUSH was comprehensively investigated in three stages. First, employees completed standardized tests for creativity, job satisfaction, and demographics to create an in-depth profile of those who worked in the organization. Second, the workplace was photographed and observed to understand the role of the physical environment. Third, interviews and on-site observations took place to capture processes relating to fun in the ix

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workplace. Then, combining data from all three stages, a narrative was created that explored employees perceptions and experiences of fun at work. Findings supported a multi-dimensional model of fun in the workplace. Worker characteristics, management style, and the physical work setting were all related to fun in the workplace at PUSH, where high creativity and job satisfaction levels were also found. Combining all of these components, the narrative Pushing the Boundaries of Work and Play provided a true account of fun in the workplace as employees prepared for a pitch with a large prospective client. In particular, the story reflected the role of office design in supporting workplace fun; and showed how this related to employee creativity and job satisfaction. In sum, PUSH advertising agency provided an excellent model for fun in the workplace and how it related to office design, employee creativity, and job satisfaction. Given the lack of empirical research on the subject, a great deal of additional research is needed to gain a better understanding of workplace fun and its possible benefits for employees and businesses. Nevertheless, this study shows fun in the workplace to be a promising concept and supports the need for further research on the subject. x

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CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Imagine walking into an office where instead of sitting calmly at their desks, employees are playing miniature golf and shoo ting rubber bands at one another. Imagine employees returning from meetings to find th eir doors glued shut or sealed off by a web of hot-glue-gun strands. These may not sound like the workings of a successful and productive business; but in fact, they are. This is the home of IDEO, located in Palo Alto, California, one of the worlds leading product-design companies. IDEO has created such famed products as the Apple computer mouse, Palm V handheld organizer, and Crest Neat Squeeze toothpaste tube. David Kelley, CEO and founder, believes that the companys fun work environment is key in fostering its high level of innovation (Butler, 1999). Does the interior design of an office have a significant impact on the employees inhabiting the space? Many businesses are willing to turn to office design as a way of improving factors such as employee satisfaction, performance, recruitment, and retention (Laabs, 2000). As evidenced at IDEO, a recent trend in office design is the incorporation of fun into the workplace. This is evident in growing numbers of offices with features such as ping-pong tables, video games, and indoor golf greens. However, these offices are not just limited to the West Coast. Prominent companies such as Lands End, Gymboree, and MicroStrategy all subscribe to the ideas of a fun work environment (Meyer, 1999). Companies such as these believe that a fun workplace may improve employee morale, communication, performance, recruitment, 1

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2 and retention (Ford, McLaughlin, & Newstrom, 2003). Despite all of these suggested benefits, few studies have examined the role of interior design in promoting an environment that supports workplace fun. Purpose This study explored the role of office design in creating a fun work environment with the aim of improving creativity and job satisfaction. This was explored through a narrative case study examining PUSH, an advertising agency located in Orlando, Florida. PUSH was selected for this research based on their explicit inclusion of fun as a goal in their core values (PUSH website, 2005), their recognition for innovative office design (Zelinsky, 2002), and their success as an award-winning advertising firm (Orlando Advertising Federation website, 2005). An in-depth investigation of PUSH involved interviews with four key employees, standardized instruments, photographs, and on-site observations. End results of this study were a profile of PUSH that examined the social and physical environment and a narrative capturing employees first-hand experiences working in an office environment designed to embrace fun. Key variables in this study were creativity and job satisfaction. Creativity was defined as the production of novel and useful ideas and things (Amabile, Burnside, & Gryskiewicz, 1999, p.1). This is different from innovation, defined as the successful implementation of creative ideas by an organization (Amabile et al., 1999, p.1). Job satisfaction was defined as the feelings a worker has about his or her job or job experiences in relation to previous experiences, current expectations, or available alternatives (Balzer, Kihm, Smith, Irwin, Bachiochi, Robie, Sinar, & Para, 2000, p. 7).

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3 For the purpose of this study, workplace fun was defined as follows: A fun work environment intentionally encourages, initiates, and supports a variety of enjoyable and pleasurable activities that positively impact the attitude and productivity of individuals and groups. Simply put, a fun workplace may be defined as "a work environment that makes people smile" (Ford et al., 2003, p. 22). Companies can realize workplace fun in a wide variety of ways. Ford (2003) divides these activities into ten categories: recognition for personal milestones, social events, public celebrations of professional achievements, opportunities for civic volunteerism, stress-release activities, humor, games, friendly competitions, opportunities for personal development, and entertainment. This study explored how the physical environment relates to these social dimensions of fun in the workplace. Work-related attitudes were evaluated through a measure of self-reported job satisfaction. Instead of defining productivity as the traditional output per hour of labor (United States Census Bureau, 2004), this study evaluated more qualitative aspects of productivity. Since this study focused on the inventive field of advertising, productivity was evaluated through a self-reported measure of the creative environment (a factor that is critical to success in this profession). The experience of fun in the workplace was explored through the narrative method, also known as storytelling. The narrative method is particularly valuable, as it was recently recognized in the interior design field as an excellent tool for understanding human perceptions of the physical environment. With its ability to capture the myriad voices of end-users, clients, and designers, narrative inquiry is uniquely suited to tapping into the reservoir of practitioner knowledge in interior design (Portillo, 2000, p. iv).

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4 This ability to recognize multiple perspectives is one of the largest benefits of narrative inquiry. Assumptions A number of assumptions underlie this study. First, the researcher assumed that PUSH exemplifies a fun work environment. This assumption was based on (1) the inclusion of fun as a goal in the companys published core values; (2) the companys website, which contains features that most would consider fun (i.e., photographs of employees heads pasted on silly bodies, and a video clip of employees playing with hand puppets); and (3) their playful office environment, which features vibrant colors, bold artwork, and even a basketball hoop. Second, it is assumed that all data were collected under normal working conditions at PUSH, without any extraneous circumstances affecting the employees. For example, if the business had recently laid off a large number of employees, or if employees had an unusually large workload, this might negatively impact employee morale. Similarly, if employees had just received their annual bonus checks, employee moral might be higher than during normal pay periods. Third, this study assumed that employees provided truthful and accurate answers when completing questionnaires concerning self-perceptions of creativity and job satisfaction. It is also assumed that during interviews employees provided accurate accounts of their workplace experiences. Significance Fun in the workplace is a relatively new concept. While numerous articles in the popular press suggest the importance of fun at work for improving employee morale and productivity (Mariotti, 1999, McGhee, 2000, Meyer, 1999), there is little empirical

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5 knowledge on the subject. Ford and colleagues (2003) conducted what might be the most extensive research to date on what a fun work environment is, its component characteristics, and its advantages for employees, work teams and organizations (p. 18). While they examined the perceived social outcomes of fun, they failed to consider the factors that may be used to stimulate fun, such as the physical environment. This precedent study will examine the impact of office design on promoting fun in the workplace. Since more time and resources may be required to create a fun and innovative environment, it will be informative to know if benefits outweigh any extra costs. Knowledge gained through this study will be useful to architects and interior designers creating offices aimed at promoting fun. In addition to helping designers, this study will also benefit business owners. Factors such as job satisfaction, creativity, and productivity are essential considerations in business. They can have a large impact on the success and profitability of an organization. Thus, if the design of an office can promote workplace fun and consequently affect these factors, this knowledge will be valuable for employers. It may allow them to produce happier, more creative employees and more productive businesses. Finally, this study is important because of the long hours that many employees spend in their workplaces. Business owner John Mariotti (1999) states, Social interaction with people from work often can occupy more of our waking lives than any other activityeven time spent with spouses and children (p. 63). In 2002, executive, administrative, and managerial workers averaged 40 hours per week. Administrative support workers averaged 36.4 hours. In total, white-collar workers in the United States averaged 36.1 hours per week (United States Census

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6 Bureau, 2004). This means that with a traditional 5-day workweek, the average worker spends approximately 7.2 hours a day working. Employees in the advertising field often exceed this average, working on tight deadlines to produce creative products (Hecker, 1999). This adds up to a substantial amount of time spent in office environments. Therefore, it is important to study ways of creating more enjoyable atmospheres for office workers. Delimitations PUSH, an advertising agency located in Orlando, Florida is the only business that was investigated. While it would be valuable to examine a larger number of firms, this does not fall within the scope of this masters research. Therefore, one business was studied comprehensively. Participants consisted of the 42 employees currently working at PUSH. Data was based on 35 workers self-reported assessments of job satisfaction and perceived environmental support for creativity. Interviews also tapped into four employees perceptions of the work environment. Research Questions With the lack of empirical knowledge regarding fun in the workplace, this study attempted to gain a better understanding through a case study of PUSH advertising agency, an exceptionally fun business. By creating a detailed profile of the business and examining the physical environment, this study hoped to discover how one real-life company implements fun in the workplace. This study asks the following research questions: Does fun in the workplace have any effect on employee perceptions of creativity and job satisfaction? How does office design relate to fun in the workplace and what experience does this create for employees?

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7 Also, what impact do individual characteristic s and management style have on workplace fun? Conclusion A number of successful companies subscribe to the idea that having fun at work can improve factors such as employee satisfaction, performance, creativity, and retention. However, there is little empirical research on the subject. As a result, this study investigated the role of interior design in promoting workplace fun, targeted at improving creativity and job satisfaction. A case study of the advertising agency PUSH was conducted through interviews, standardized tests, photography, and on-site observations. The end product of this study was a detailed profile of the business, including creativity and job satisfaction, as well as a narrative account of employees experiences demonstrating workplace fun.

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CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW Theoretical Background Gifford (2002) proposes a theoretical framework for the study of the workplace, using an environment-behavior model (Figure 2-1). In this model, he identifies six main components: physical work setting, worker characteristics, work policies, workerenvironment interaction, psychological processes, and outcomes. The framework is centered on worker-environment interaction, with three factors contributing to it (physical work setting, worker characteristics, and work policies) and two factors resulting from it (psychological process leading to a series of outcomes). Physical Work Setting For example: Fixed or shifting Quality of materials Noise, temperature, light, density, privacy Worker-Environment Interaction For example: Congruence Meaning Outcomes For example: Stress Health Performance Satisfaction Interpersonal Relations Psychological Process For example: Arousal Personal Control Adaptation Effect Overload Affect Worker Characteristics For example: Experience Job Level Personality Ability Motivation Work Policies For example: Rules Incentives Management style Figure 2-1. Model for workplace envir onmental psychology (Gifford, 2002, p. 339) 8

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9 With the numerous factors that come together to make up a workplace, this model identifies and organizes them into a comprehensive framework through environmentbehavior interaction. Giffords model serves as the basis for this research, guiding the methodology for the present study. Therefore, each of the six categories is further addressed in the literature review. Giffords framework was then adapted to serve as a model for this study of workplace fun (Figure 2-2). In this model, individual worker characteristics, physical work setting, and management style all affect worker-environment interaction. However, in this model, worker-environment interaction is specifically defined as fun in the workplace. This fun then influences creativity, based on Amabiles 1997 Componential Theory of Creativity, which combines expertise, creative thinking skills, and intrinsic motivation. The final outcomes are creative products, job satisfaction, and productivity. Physical Work Setting Function Design Social Climate Worker Characteristics Age Gender Education Department Job Level Outcomes Creative Product Job Satisfaction Productivity Creativity Expertise Creative thinking skills Intrinsic motivation FUN IN THE WORKPLACE Management Style Figure 2-2. Model for fun in the workplace, adapted from Gifford (2002) and Amabile (1997)

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10 Fun in the Workplace (Worker-Environment Interaction) The concept of fun in the workplace began in Silicone Valley during the dot-com era of the nineties when start-up companies, replete with technology-driven employees just out of college, began to create a new corporate culture (van Meel & Vos, 2001). While spending 80 plus hours a week at work, employees began changing the office environment to suit their needs. They began making it a place for not only work, but also leisure activities. Pool tables, golf greens, beanbag chairs, and other fun items were incorporated into the office environment to offset the long hours at work. The physical environment was not the only characteristic that dot-com companies changed. Employees began dressing casual, not just on Fridays, but everyday (Oleck & Prasso, 2001). The whole atmosphere took on a fun, youthful spirit at these dot-com companies. Business became less associated with work and more related to play (van Meel & Vos, 2001). While the dot-com era has undergone changes, the idea of making work fun has remained in some sectors. Meyer (1999) asserts that a growing number of U.S. companies are incorporating fun into the workplace in order to boost employee morale, communication, recruitment and retention. A handful of businesses are examined by Meyer, focusing on how they implement fun and the benefits they have received. For example, Massachusetts PR firm Schwartz Communications features ping-pong tables, dartboards, video games and Thank God its Thursday parties where employees drink beer and eat pizza. This fun atmosphere has been credited for the companys low 12% turnover rate, one third of the industrys average. Some may find the idea of playing games at work to be surprising, as work and play are generally considered opposites; however, this idea can be misleading. Blanchard

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11 and Cheska (1985) use four general attribut es to define play: voluntary, intrinsically motivated, involving active engagement, and having a make-believe quality. They maintain that the opposite of work is leisure, while work has the potential to be considered play. Furthermore, extensive research on play asserts that it is an important mediator for learning and socialization (Rieber, 1996). Yet, fun in the workplace is not a panacea. Fun cannot compensate for poor managers, a lack of resources, or a number of other significant problems. Furthermore, clients may not take such unorthodox companies into consideration as serious enterprises, choosing to hire more traditional companies instead. Employees as well may think twice before working for such an unconventional company. Finally, businesses must consider the additional worker downtime in which no money is being made. In spite of all this, Meyer maintains that the benefits of a fun work environment outweigh the risks. Ford, McLaughlin, and Newstrom (2003) conducted an e-mail survey of 527 human resource managers to learn about fun at work. The most common ways of promoting fun were found to be casual dress days, recognition for employee achievements, and gatherings involving food and beverages. Managers believed that fun at work can lead to improved employee recruitment, lower turnover rates, less absenteeism, more communication and commitment, improved organizational culture, and greater customer satisfaction. However, most managers believed that their employees were not having as much fun at work as they should. Overall, the human resource managers surveyed were strongly in favor of promoting fun at work. A limitation of the Ford, McLaughlin, and Newstrom study is that it is conducted solely through surveys. It relies on self-repor ted answers, without the verification of on

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12 site assessments. The study is also limited by focusing on the opinions of human resource managers, not the majority of lower-level employees who may have different views on fun in the workplace. With all of the recent attention on having fun at work, the question ariseswill fun become a permanent objective for businesses, or is it merely a trend? For example, the dot-com inspired trend of casual dressing has met a recent backlash. With 34% of 3,500 executives polled blaming sloppy dressers for crossing the line, some companies are now returning to more formal business attire (Oleck & Prasso, 2001). This raises the questionwill the concept of fun in the workplace meet a similar fate? Physical Work Setting Since the 1950s, one ideal advanced by the International style movement was the high-rise office expressed in glass, steel, and concrete, designed to impress clients and passersby. Lobbies were filled with marble and rich wood and executives were placed in high-up corner offices (van Meel & Vos, 2001). This style transcended borders, as a way for businesses to demonstrate their success, stability, and power. However, with todays ideas of fun in the workplace, certain companies no longer want to express themselves in such a traditional and hierarchical way. While the executives of the past were seen sitting at large mahogany desks, conveying the appearance of security and reliability, this is no longer true for all. One venue of todays successful managers seeks to express individuality and a sense of humor through office design. The office environments of such professionals may display an unconventional prop, perhaps a snowboard hung from the ceiling, expressing their personal interests and making them more approachable (van Meel & Vos 2001).

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13 According to a study by Hixson (Laabs, 2000), a Cincinnati-based Design, Architecture, and Engineering firm, many managers are unsatisfied with their office facilities. The study surveyed over 650 managers of Fortune 1000 and dot-com companies. When evaluating the impact of their workplaces on productivity and business objectives, 72% gave their space a grade of C or lower. The managers held that employee productivity, satisfaction, recruitment, retention, and teamwork could be aided through improved workspaces. In fact, 61% said they would be willing to reduce employee benefits by 50% to improve office spaces. This may be a worthwhile investment when considering life cycle costs of the workplace. Wineman (1986) states that over the 40-year life cycle of an office facility, 2 to 3% is spent on initial costs, 6 to 8% is spent on maintenance, and 90 to 92% is spent on employee salaries and benefits. Further research may investigate if investments in office design (such as creating a fun work environment) can improve organizational effectiveness, thereby lowering personnel costs. In addition to explicit life cycle costs, there are a number of implicit costs that may also be affected by improvements in offi ce design. A well-designed office may improve a businesss ability to recruit new workers, reducing recruitment expenses and attracting top-quality employees. Danko (2000) demonstrates this idea, using the narrative method to examine how one companys office design helped to recruit a highly sought after employee. Successful office design may also help to retain current employees, lowering turnover rates, and therefore reduce training costs. Furthermore, an effectively designed office can aid productivity, allowing more work to be done is less time. Yet these are just

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14 the most concrete benefits. Less obvious advantages may include improving employee morale, making an impression on clients, and inspiring creativity in employees. Worker Characteristics The concept of fun in the workplace can be linked to a changing labor market. With the new information era has come a new generation of employees. These workers are educated, professional, self-managing, independent and increasingly mobile, moving upwards from job to job with little concern for the old security of job for life (van Meel & Vos, 2001, p. 328). These recent college graduates consider work as a form of self-expression, not just a way to earn money. They not only want a great salary and stock options; they want a fun and interesting job. Therefore, companies who are interested in attracting such employees are attempting to create workplaces that fit their modern lifestyles (van Meel & Vos, 2001). Ford, McLaughlin, and Newstroms 2003 study addresses how worker characteristics relate to fun in the workplace. Their survey of human resource managers investigated whether worker characteristics determine the type and amount of fun that employees desire. They found that while the age of the employees made little difference in the amount of fun, the age of managers predicted the number of fun activities, with younger managers being associated with more fun. The study also found that organizations with managers holding higher education levels were more likely to offer fun activities such as personal development measures, recognition of personal milestones, and stress relief activities than organizations with less educated managers. Management Style A study by human resource consulting firm, William M. Mercer Inc. suggests that a number of companies have work policies aimed at promoting fun in the workplace

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15 (Employers stress workplace fun, 1999). In a survey of 286 employers, 8% had mission or value statements that advocated fun or humor as a company goal. Twenty-nine percent of employers said that fun was encouraged, just not in formal terms. Sixty-two percent of the respondents believe that promoting fun and humor through the management style benefits employees and the entire organization. However, 8% formally or informally discouraged workplace fun, suggesting that fun in the workplace may not be for everyone. In addition to policies on fun, there are a number of other management procedures that can affect the work environment. Mayfield and Mayfields 2004 study examined the effects of management communication on worker innovation. The motivating language scale survey was administered to 133 university students with previous work experience. The study found a significant relationship between leader communication and worker innovation. The results predicted a 2.7% increase in employee innovation for every 10% increase in motivating language. Outcomes Creativity While it is often assumed that creativity comes from naturally creative people, the Componential Theory of Creativity proposes that all humans with normal capacities are able to produce at least moderately creative work in some domain, some of the timeand that the social environment (work environment) can influence both the level and the frequency of creative behavior (Amabile, 1997, p. 42). According to this theory, the three main components of individual and small group creativity are expertise, creative thinking skills, and most importantly, intrinsic task motivation. Creativity is most likely

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16 to occur when these three components overlap. Furthermore, higher levels of each of the three components will lead to higher levels of creativity (Amabile, 1997). When examining organizational creativity, there are some ambiguities, as creativity is a broad term that can apply to many different processes. Wise (2003) created a model that categorized businesses into four different categories of creativity. First, the model distinguishes between creativity-centered industries, which must constantly create new products to survive, and creativity-enhanced industries, which benefit from creative enhancement of current services. Second, the model differentiates between aesthetic creativity, which relates to communication and visual arts, and technological creativity, which relates to innovation in computer hard ware, software, or physical and biological sciences. Firms that demand high levels of both aesthetic and technological creativity are considered Technical Artists. Firms that require high aesthetic creativity, but low technological creativity are defined as Artists. Firms that demand constant technical innovation, but only use aesthetics for communication, packaging, and facilities design are known as Inventors. Finally, firms that require neither aesthetic nor technological creativity, relying on distributing others products or adapting to the innovations of others, are considered Distributors and Adaptors. A study by Amabile, Conti, Coon, Lazenby, and Herron (1996) examined the work environments surrounding highly creative team projects versus less creative team projects. The study took place at an international electronics company using KEYS: Assessing the Climate for Creativity as the primary instrument. Middle-level managers were asked to nominate projects from the last 3 years that demonstrated the highest and

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17 lowest creativity. After selecting the projects, members of each project team were asked to complete the KEYS survey to assess the creative climate for their particular project. The projects nominated for high-creativity scored significantly higher than those nominated for low-creativity on all six stimulant scales and the two outcome scales. However, some factors played a more significant role than others. Resources, workload pressure, and freedom carried moderate weight. Meanwhile, striking differences were found in positive challenge in the work, organizational encouragement, work group supports, supervisory encouragement, and organizational impediments, suggesting these are critical factors in team creativity. However, this study was limited by its examination of only one business; therefore, these findings need to be replicated in multiple organizations. There are numerous factors that can affect the creativity of an organization. The impact of humor on creativity was investigated in a study by Isen, Daubman, and Nowicki (1987). In their experiment, 65 psyc hology class students were given a task that could be solved through creativity. This involved using a group of everyday objects to solve a specific problem. Prior to the task, half the students watched a funny film, while the other half watched a neutral film. Subjects exposed to the humorous film produced significantly more solutions than those who watched the neutral film. In a study by Stokols, Clitheroe, and Zmuidzinas (2002), the physical and social predictors of perceived creativity in the workplace were examined. Ninety-seven employees from five different offices participated. They received questionnaires evaluating their perceptions of support for creativity, the importance of creativity, social climate, personal stress, and job satisfaction. Additionally, researchers objectively

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18 recorded workspace conditions. This included documenting square footage, levels of enclosure, pedestrian traffic and noise, and visual exposure. The findings of this study showed that a more positive social climate was related to greater perceived support for creativity at work. Meanwhile, higher environmental distraction (e.g. high pedestrian traffic, noise levels, and visual exposure) was related to lower perceived support for creativity at work. In addition, the social climate and level of environmental distraction significantly predicted job satisfaction. One limitation of the Stokols, Clitheroe, and Zmuidzinas study is that it was crosssectional, as opposed to longitudinal. Therefore causal relationships cannot be inferred, merely correlations. Nevertheless, this study is important in suggesting that the physical and social work environment affect creativity and job satisfaction. Leonard and Swap (1999) also suggest that the physical environment can have an effect on group creativity. Based on normative research, they assert that a well-designed space can facilitate divergent thinking, incubation of ideas, and team convergence, all of which are essential steps in the creative process. To do so, the environment should contain spaces that encourage spontaneous or unplanned interaction between employees. Leonard and Swap also state that the design of a workplace can reflect a companys mission and values, particularly the importance of creativity. It is also noted that creative groups tend to surround themselves with physical icons, cultural icons, and playful objects that can help to create a stimulating and fun environment. Job Satisfaction Research on job satisfaction has been carried out for decades. In the process, a number of different instruments have been developed to measure job satisfaction. Van Saane, Sluiter, Verbeek, & Frings-Dresen conducted a study in 2003 comparing 29

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19 different instruments, based on reliability and validity. Through a systematic literature review, they found seven instruments that met all of their criteria. These were the Andrew and Withey Job Satisfaction Questionnaire, Emergency Physician Job Satisfaction Scale, McCloskey/Mueller Satisf action Scale, Nurse Satisfaction Scale, Job Satisfaction Survey, Measurement of Job Satisfaction Scale, and Job in General Scale. Surprisingly, the Job Descriptive Index (JDI) did not meet the requirements for validity and reliability, although it is the most commonly used instrument. The largest limitation with the Van Saane study was its aim to determine the best tools for measuring job satisfaction in a hospital setting. However, since many of the instruments were applicable to all fields, the results can be useful in studying office environments. The instrument with the highest reliability and validity for all fields was the JIG, suggesting it is the best measure of job satisfaction for this study. When evaluating the psychometric properties of the Job in General (JIG), the instrument scored 0.91 for reliability in terms of internal consistency. It scored between 0.66 and .80 for convergent validity when compared to the Brayfield-Roth Scale, 0.76 compared to the Adjective Scale, and 0.75 compared to the Faces Scale. Finally, the JIG was also the only instrument to provide information on responsiveness to change. According to a 2005 press release from The Conference Board, only half of all U.S. workers are satisfied with their jobs (U.S. job satisfaction, 2005). This shows a decline since 1995, when almost 60% of workers were satisfied. These lower satisfaction levels can be found across all age groups and income levels. The employees with the lowest satisfaction rate were those between ages 35 to 44 and those earning between $25,000 and $35,000 per year. Older workers were found to be the most satisfied employees.

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20 These results, based on a survey of 5,000 workers, suggest that methods of improving job satisfaction should be investigated. In one such study, Morrison (2004) examines the association between office friendships and job satisfaction (among other factors). Her study consisted of two parts. The first used questionnaires to survey 124 employees of a large hospital in New Zealand. The second used an Internet questionnaire to study 412 employees from diverse fields in New Zealand and the United States. Both parts used the Workplace Friendship Scale to assess friendship and the Job Satisfaction Scale to measure job satisfaction. The results showed that more opportunities for friendship had a direct positive relationship with job satisfaction. A limitation of the Morrison study is that the majority of respondents were from New Zealand, not the United States. Yet, the question arisescould fun in the workplace help people to develop relationships that lead to friendships? If this is the case, as many believe, this study suggests that workplace fun may be associated with improved job satisfaction. Conclusion Giffords 2002 model for workplace environmental psychology serves as the framework for this study and was adapted to examine fun in the workplace. Based on this model, a thorough literature review investigated fun in the workplace, physical work setting, worker characteristics, management style, creativity, and job satisfaction. Over the course of this review, three major themes became apparent. These themes were fun activities, team building, and the expression of self.

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CHAPTER 3 METHODS Research Design This study combines a case study approach with a qualitative research method known as narrative inquiry. Through this amalgamation, a noted advertising agency was comprehensively investigated in three stages. First, employees completed standardized tests for creativity, job satisfaction, and demographics to create an in-depth profile of those who worked in the organization. Second, the workplace was photographed and observed to understand the role of the physical environment. Third, interviews and onsite observations took place to capture processes relating to fun in the workplace. Combining data from all three stages, a narrative was created that expressed employees perceptions and experiences of fun at work. By mixing the qualitative narrative inquiry with quantitative methods, the studys construct validity was strengthened. The benefits were twofold. First, interviews and observations provided rich, detailed knowledge, while standardized tests measured creativity and job satisfaction in quantifiable terms (and offered a means to compare the case to national norms). Second, the multiple methods allowed dual perspectives. Interviews and questionnaires assessed subjective perceptions of creativity, job satisfaction, and workplace fun, while on-site observations provided an objective point of view. The narrative method was selected for a number of reasons. First of all, narrative inquiry has received a great deal of attenti on in the interior design field recently. A 21

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22 special issue of the Journal of Interior Design was dedicated to the narrative approach, featuring three articles and two reports on the subject (Portillo, 2000). Ganoe (1999) expresses the reasons for recent attention on narrative inquiry: It provides a comprehensive method for analyzing the human experience of environment. Interpreting interior space as a narrative adds depth and breadth to the understanding of how environment is psychologically inhabited by the individual (p. 4). Narratives have the ability to capture thoughts, emotions, sensory details, and tension points in a manner unlike any other research method. Furthermore, a well-crafted narrative has the ability to capture all of these aspects from multiple perspectives, providing a holistic view of the environment. The narrative approach is particularly conducive to studying business organizations. As businesses are large complex environments, narratives have the ability to express their intricate workings as a set of specific events or experiences. Business guru Stephen Denning (2004) believes that narrativ es are one of the most effective tools a leader can use. He suggests that while facts generally drive business thinking, Storytelling can translate those dry and abstract numbers into compelling pictures of a leader's goals (2004, p.123). Case Selection In order to select a workplace for this case study, a four-part case criterion was developed as follows. First, the office must house a business that generates new products or designs, relying heavily on creativity, such as an advertising or architecture firm. Second, the office must have received some form of external recognition for exceptional workplace design. Third, the office needs to demonstrate an innovative management

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23 style. Lastly, the business must incorporate fun in the workplace as a goal for improving employee performance and satisfaction. The business selected for this case study is PUSH, an advertising agency located in Orlando, Florida. Founded in 1996, the business currently has 42 employees. PUSH has been recognized for its innovative office design, appearing in the book The inspired workplace: Interior designs for creativity and productivity (Zelinsky, 2002). Most importantly, the business has an innovative management style, including fun as a goal in its published list of core values. The value statement asserts, Have fun. Fun plays a key role in the su ccess of any business. Smile a little more. Talk a little more. Spend more time together discussing what makes you feel good about the job youre doing. If youre having fun the work will be that much better (PUSH website, 2005). After determining that PUSH advertising agency met all of the case criteria, the companys participation was requested. A letter was first sent to one of the business partners explaining the purpose of the study, the reasons for selecting PUSH, the amount of time required for participation, and the be nefits (See Appendix A). Two weeks later, the researcher made a telephone call to the partner, requesting the business participation. Upon verbal agreement of the partner, PUSH agreed to be a part of the research study. Since the study involved human subjects, approval from the University of Florida Institutional Review Board (IRB) was require d. An abstract of the studys methods, along with a series of consent forms, was submitted to the board. After reviewing the documents, the IRB granted complete approval to the study.

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24 Instruments Preface Since this study explores the role of workplace fun aimed at improving creativity, innovation, and job satisfaction, it is important to examine these constructs. The Job in General Scale, or JIG was selected to measure PUSH employees overall feelings toward their jobs. In addition, KEYS: Assessing the Climate for Creativity was selected to evaluate the creative environment at PUSH. The JIG and KEYS evaluations were not used to examine individuals, but to gather an overall understanding of PUSH. Job in General The first instrument selected for this study was the Job in General scale (Bowling Green State University, 1985). The JIG was developed by Ironson, Smith, Brannick, Gibson, and Paul to provide an overall evaluati on of how employees feel about their jobs. It was designed as an addition to the Job Descriptive Index or JDI (Bowling Green State University, 1997), the most frequently used measure of job satisfaction (Balzer et al., 2002). While the JDI assessed the five main facets of job satisfaction (work on present job, pay, opportunities for promotion, supervis ion, and people on your present job), it was felt than at overall measure of satisfaction was needed. The JIG was created for this purpose. In developing the JIG, a list of 42 adjectives and short phrases describing general feelings about the job were assembled. These items were administered to a sample of 1149 civil service workers. The best of these items were selected based on traditional item analysis techniques, factor analysis, and item response theory models. These items then went through further analyses and were eventually narrowed down to the final items (Balzer et al., 2002).

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25 The Job in General scale contains a total of 18 items that assess the global, longterm evaluation of the job. Respondents are asked to answer each item by circling Yes, No, or ?(meaning the respondent cannot decide). About half of the items are worded favorably (e.g., superior) and half are worded unfavorably (e.g. undesirable). In total, the test takes approximately five minutes to complete. Based on the Bowling Green data pool of 3566 respondents, JIG reliability estimates exceed .90 (Balzer et al., 2002). Construct validity is established through correlations with other scales of global satisfaction, including the Brayfield and Rothe (1951) and the Faces scale (Kunin, 1955). These correlations range from .66 to .80 (Balzer et al., 2002). KEYS: Assessing the Climate for Creativity The second instrument selected for this study was KEYS: Assessing the Climate for Creativity (Center for Creative Leadership, 1995). Teresa Amabile, a leader in the field of creativity research, created the KEYS to measure how employees perceive stimulants and obstacles to creativity (Ovid, 2004). The survey was developed through a group of interviews in which participants described work experiences demonstrating high and low creativity. Through a content analysis of the transcribed interviews, a group of creativity-inhibiting and creativity-promoting factors was produced. After undergoing four revisions, these factors were translated into the 78 items of the KEYS (Amabile, Burnside, & Gryskiewicz, 1999). These 78 items are divided as follows: 66 items form the eight work environment scales (6 stimulants and 2 obstacles to creativity) and 12 items form the two outcome scales. The stimulants to creativity are: Organizational Encouragement of Creativity, Supervisory Encouragement of Creativity, Work Group Supports, Freedom, Sufficient

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26 Resources, and Challenging Work. The obstacles to creativity are: Organizational Impediments and Workload Pressure. The two outcome scales are creativity and productivity. At the end of the survey, there are three checklist questions addressing the most important factors for creativity. In addition, the survey collects basic demographic data. The KEYS takes approximately 15 to 20 minutes to complete and is conducted as a pencil-and-paper survey. Each of the 78 items is bubbled in using a four-point response scale. The possible responses are: never, sometimes, often, and always. By using a four-point scale, a middle point is eliminated, preventing respondents from taking a neutral position. Using a sample of 12,100 respondents, KEYS: Assessing the Climate for Creativity has internal scale reliability estimates ranging from .66 to .91. The median was .84, with only two scales showing reliabilities less than .80 (Freedom and Workload Pressure). Convergent validity was testing using the Work Environment Scale (WES; Insel and Moos, 1975) and showed a moderate correlation (Amabile, Burnside, & Gryskiewicz, 1999). Development of Interview Protocol Prior to data collection, the researcher pilot tested the interview portion of the methodology by conducting two practice interviews. The first was administered to a licensed designer who reflected on his recent experiences working at a large architecture firm in Washington DC. This interview was highly successful as the firm encouraged workplace fun, providing genuine accounts of fun at work. The second interview was conducted with a former manager of a Fortune 500 company and focused on management practices. Both interviews were analyzed for fluidity and appropriate content. Overall,

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27 the interview protocol was effective; however, there were two minor modifications. These included removing a question that was redundant and rewording the question which asked participants to trace the development of a specific project at PUSH. Procedures For this study, all data was collected on-site by the researcher. Data collection was divided into four parts. First, two sta ndardized questionnaires were distributed to the entire office. The Job in General Scales or JIG (Bowling Green State University, 1985) was used to measure overall job satisfaction, while KEYS: Assessing the Climate for Creativity (Center for Creative Leadership, 1995) was used to measure perceived stimulants and obstacles to creativity. Sec ond, the researcher observed the office over the course of three days, from May 31 st through June 2 nd 2005, while collecting data. Third, photographs were taken throughout the workplace to document the office design. Fourth, interviews were conducted with four employees, three from the Creative Department and one from Accounts Supervision, to gather their perceptions of fun at work. Figure 3-1 illustrates how the four stages of data collection fit within the model of workplace fun. Standardized Tests In order to gain cooperation from the PUSH employees, a business partner introduced the researcher during the start-of-the-week staff meeting. The researcher gave a brief explanation on the purpose of the study, as well as the data collection methods to be used. All references to creativity, job satisfaction, and fun were eliminated from the description to prevent any biases based on hypotheses guessing, or when participants alter their answers on the basis of what they believe the study is about. Questionnaire packages were distributed to all employees present during the staff meeting, which took place at 9:00 AM on a Tuesday morning. These packages included:

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28 two consent forms, the Job in General Scales, KEYS: Assessing the Climate for Creativity a number two pencil, and a candy lollipop as an incentive to promote high response rates. Physical Work Setting Photographs Observations Floor Plan Interviews Outcomes KEYS Survey JIG Survey Creativity Interviews KEYS Survey FUN IN THE WORKPLACE Interviews Observations Website Worker Characteristics Survey Demographics Management Style Interviews KEYS Survey Figure 3-1. Fun in the workplace model, showing methods used to assess each component (adapted from Gifford, 2002) First, instructions were given to sign both consent forms, returning one and keeping the other for personal records. Next, participants were advised that the questionnaires should take approximately 20-25 minutes to complete, and should be filled out using the provided pencil. They were also informed that there were no right or wrong answers, and that individual results would be kept confidential. Finally, employees were asked to complete the questionnaires by 3:30 PM that business day. To improve the response rate, an e-mail was sent to the entire office staff reminding them to complete the surveys. The e-mail reiterated the announcement made during the staff meeting for any employees who were not present. It also informed

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29 employees that the finished questionnaires should be turned in at the reception desk by the end of the day. Additionally, the researcher walked around the office at 3:30 PM, asking each employee if they had submitted their questionnaires. The employees who had not completed the questionnaires were asked to turn them in by the end of the day. During this walk-through, a number of employees revealed not being present during the staff meeting and were given questionnaire packages to complete. Of the 42 employees at PUSH, 41 received the questionnaire package at some point during the three-day period. The single employee who did not receive one was away on vacation. Of the 41 employees who were given questionnaires, 35 responses were collected, resulting in an 85% response rate. Observations The second stage of data collection was observations. First, the researcher received a tour of the workplace from one of PUSHs founding partners. During this tour, information was provided on each space, including its functional purpose and why the design was chosen. The researcher was also given the opportunity to ask questions and take notes on the office and its design. After this, the researcher walked through the workplace again, independently, taking more detailed notes on the design of each space and how employees functioned within it. To observe group behavior among employees, the researcher sat in during three PUSH staff meeting. The first was the be ginning-of-the-week staff meeting, used to discuss events of the previous week as well as upcoming events. Second, the researcher attended a small meeting between four Public Relations employees, discussing their current agendas. The final meeting was open to the entire office and traced the

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30 development of a recent advertising campaign, from market research all the way to completed print ads. Photography The third stage of data collection used photography to document the physical work environment. This process consisted of photographing the entire office, systematically documenting each major space. These major spaces included the building exterior, entryway, reception area, conference room, break room, open work areas, and the largest individual offices. In addition to taking photographs of the overall spaces, pictures were also taken of specific design details (i.e. decorative metal pieces on the reception desk). Interviews The final stage of data collection consisted of interviews. These interviews were semi-structured and lasted approximately one hour each (Appendix B). They were taperecorded using a lapel microphone to receive clear sound and two recorders to insure at least one successful recording. Since this study focuses on the relationship between fun and creativity, the majority of employees interviewed were from the Creative Department. To select the specific employees, a member of management was asked to recommend employees from the creative department, as well as from another department, who would have articulate and diverse stories to share of their experiences at the company. In total, four interviews were conducted. Three interviews were conducted with lower-level employees and one interview was conducted with management. Three of the employees, including the management member, were in the Creative Department, while

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31 one employee was in the Accounts Supervision Department. In addition, three of the participants were male, while one was female. The interviews were divided into four sections. The first section asked general questions on workplace fun and then about specific occurrences at PUSH. For the second part, participants were shown eight photogra phs of the PUSH office (previously taken by the researcher) and asked about the workplace design. The third section asked participants to compare PUSHs office design to others. For the fourth and final section, participants were asked to share stories about fun experiences at PUSH. The management interview differed slightly from the other three. In the management interview, the photograph section was replaced by a series of questions regarding management structure, corporate culture, employee incentives, and other management-related topics. Analysis The data collected at PUSH was analyzed in three stages. First, the photographs and observations of the physical environment were compiled into a detailed description of the office design and how workers functioned within the space. Second, the standardized tests were statistically analyzed and compared to national norms. Third, the interviews were dissected and used to create a narrative account of workplace fun. For the first phase of analysis, the physical environment was examined. Based on photographs and observations, each major workspace was described in detail. These spaces were examined in terms of both design and function. The spaces investigated were the building exterior, entryway, reception area, conference room, break room, open work areas, and managements individual offices.

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32 The second phase of analysis began with the Job in Gener al scales. First, the JIG scores were summed for each individual to determine the level and percentage of employees who were satisfied overall with their jobs. Descriptive statistics of the employee scores were calculated and compared with national norms for the JIG Next, the KEYS: Assessing the Climate for Creativity surveys were assessed. Scores were determined for the six environmental stimulants to creativity (Organizational Encouragement of Creativity, Supervisory Encouragement of Creativity, Work Group Supports, Freedom, Sufficient Resources, and Challenging Work), two obstacles to creativity (Organizational Impediments and Workload Pressure), and two outcome scales (creativity and productivity). Descriptive statistics of these scores were then computed and compared to national norms for the KEYS For the final phase, the interviews were transcribed and then reviewed to identify the major issues and themes, as well as a detailed story reflecting fun in the workplace. The following criteria were used to develop the storyline for this study: 1. Told from multiple perspectives 2. Involved a large segment of the workplace 3. Contained sensory detail 4. Represented the companys approach to workplace fun 5. Showed how the interior environment supported fun This story was then used in combination with Labovs six-point framework to create a narrative account of fun in the workplace. The framework is as follows: abstract, orientation, complicating action, evaluation, resolution, and coda (Riessman, 1993). In addition, the researcher examined a number of case studies from the Harvard Business Review, such as Whats stifling the creativity at Coolburst? (Wetlaufer, 1997), as examples of successful business narratives. Finally, a number of drafts were written

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33 before the narrative went through emic verification, which involved sending the story back to the central characters for approval. Based on their responses, minor changes were made, insuring that the final narrative accurately reflected their experiences. Limitations Although a number of measures were taken to insure high survey response rates, 15% of the employees chose not to complete the standardized tests. No analyses are available to establish the differences between those employees who chose to participate and those who did not. In addition, of the employees who completed the standardized tests, not all provided responses to every single item. As a result, the response rates are lower for items that some employees left blank. Conclusion Using an environment-behavior framework, this study combined quantitative methods with narrative inquiry to gather both objective and subjective data. A successful advertising agency was examined through a case study consisting of three stages. First, employees completed standardized tests for creativity, job satisfaction, and demographics to gain an in-depth understanding of the organization. Second, the office facilities were photographed and observed to investigate the role of the physical environment. Third, interviews and group observations were conduc ted to gain a detailed understanding of fun in the workplace. Finally, data from all three stages was combined to create a narrative account of employees experiences working in a fun environment.

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CHAPTER 4 FINDINGS The Social Environment at PUSH Company Profile The advertising agency PUSH was founded in 1996 by partners Julio Lima, John Ludwig, and Rich Wahl. The company was established on the idea that we are in business to make things happen for our clients (PUSH website, 2005). Yet being clientcentered was not enough for the partners, who had greater goals for their agency. Therefore, PUSH published the following vision statement- to become a sought after company that constantly surprises our clients, our peers, our industry and ourselves with creativity, clarity, and fearlessness (PUSH website, 2005). This statement suggests that the company places a high premium on innovation and is not afraid to take risks in order to succeed. Nearly ten years since the companys inception, PUSH has grown from just a few employees to 42 at present. The management has also changed, with partner Chris Robb joining the firm in 2003, in place of partner Julio Lima. Today the company provides a complete range of services including brand strategy, media, design, and public relations. PUSH has clients ranging from regional to national companies and their client roster includes AAA, the Consumer Credit Counseling Service, and the Orlando Sentinel. In one recent account, PUSH created the Its the Frog campaign for Middleton Lawn & Pest Control, consisting of three 60-sec ond radio spots and six 30-second TV spots (PUSH Website, 2005). The TV ads bring Middletons frog icon to life as he comically 34

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35 exterminates animated bugs using items such as a ray gun, magnifying glass, and poisonfilled martini. Acknowledging their standing, PUSH has received a number of awards for their work in the advertising field. At the 2005 Orlando ADDY Awards honoring excellence in creative advertising, PUSH won 50 awards, more than any other company in Central Florida. They collected 21 Gold ADDYs and 25 Silver ADDYs (Orlando Advertising Federation Website, 2005). PUSH also won six national ADDY awards, with only two other agencies in the country receiving more (PUSH Website, 2005). Employee Demographics To learn about the employees at PUSH, demographics were collected for age, gender, education level, field of study, and company tenure. All of the demographic information was based on data from the KEYS and JIG surveys, as well as three locally developed measures. The KEYS is an 81-item survey assessing stimulants and obstacles to creativity, while the Job in General is an 18-item survey measuring overall job satisfaction. The results represent the 35 employees who completed these questionnaires, an 83% response rate. Of the 35 employees, the ages ranged from 23 to 48, with a mean age of 31.89 and standard deviation of 7.407. When comparing gender, 45.7% (n=16) of employees were male while 54.3% (n=19) were female. Employees were also classified by education level, with nearly three fourths of the employees (n=26) having received a college degree. Following this, 14.3% of employees (n=5) attended some graduate school or received a graduate degree and 8.6% (n=3) attended some college. Figure 4-1 shows a pie chart reflecting these categories and percentages of responses.

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36 EDUCATION LEVEL5.7% n=2 8.6% n=3 2.8% n=1 8.6% n=3 74.3% n=26 Attended some college College graduate Attended some graduate school Received graduate degree Other Figure 4-1. Employee education levels In addition, employees were asked to provide their fields of study. The most common response was Advertising/Public Relations, with 43% of employees (n=15) studying this. This was followed by Art/Design (n=5), Marketing (n=4), and Communications (n=4). Figure 4-2 shows a pie chart reflecting the complete list of responses. Responses that appeared only once were placed into the Other category and included Psychology, History, and Photography. FIELD OF STUDY14.3% N=5 11.4% N=4 11.4% N=4 5.7% N=2 42.9% N=15 14.3% N=5 Advertising/Public Relations Art/Design Marketing Communications Business Other Figure 4-2. Employee fields of study Using demographic data from the KEYS survey, employees were also categorized by their years of service at PUSH. Since PUSH was formed just nine years ago, the 33

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37 responses were divided into two categories. Twenty-five employees or 75.8% have worked at PUSH for five years or less, while eight employees or 24.2% have worked at PUSH for six to nine years. Creativity KEYS: Assessing the Climate for Creativity allowed PUSH employees to gauge their perceptions of the work environment compared to normative data from the KEYS database, consisting of 12,525 managers and employees. The scores for each subscale were computed in two steps. First z-scores were computed by taking PUSH respondents raw mean scores and subtracting the database means, then dividing this by the database standard deviation. Next T-scores were calculated by multiplying the z-scores times 10, then adding 50. Table 4-1 shows the mean and standard deviation scores for each of the six stimulants to creativity (organizational encouragement, supervisory encouragement, work group support, freedom, sufficient resources, and challenging work). It also shows scores for the two obstacles to creativity (organizational impediments and workload pressure) and the two outcomes (creativity and productivity). Table 4-1. Normative KEYS data for PUSH n Mean Std. deviation Organizational Encouragement 31 81.5755 22.74232 (Lack of) Org Impediments 30 74.4907 18.07059 (Lack of) Workload Pressure 35 62.2222 23.61640 Supervisory Encouragement 34 60.777 27.67939 Productivity 35 58.8492 19.66866 Work Group Support 35 56.8067 26.25655 Creativity 34 54.9465 29.96438 Sufficient Resources 31 52.6588 20.49117 Freedom 35 46.5873 29.63012 Challenging Work 35 45.7792 28.60995 n = number of employees who completed all questions for the subscale

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38 For each scale, a higher score is generally associated with higher creativity (Amabile et al., 1999, p.183). Therefore, organizational impediments and workload pressure were scored in reverse to reflect a lack of organizational impediments and a lack of workload pressure. A set of percentile ranges allows PUSH scores to be classified according to the KEYS as: Very High (above 60), High (55-60), Mid-range (45-55), Low (40-45), and Very Low (below 40). Organizational Encouragement, (Lack of) Organizational Impediments, (Lack of) Workload Pressure, and Supervisory Encouragement all scored in the Very High category. Following this, Productivity and Work Group Support fell in the High category, with Creativity falling between th e High and Mid-range. Finally, Sufficient Resources, Freedom, and Challenging Work scored in the Mid-range. When considering PUSHs success in the creative field of advertising, their score for Creativity was lower than expected. Therefore, the creativity subscale was examined in further detail. First, the scale was broken down by departments, where the creative departments (n=19) scored 65 and the non-creative departments (n=15) scored 42. Next, the creativity subscale score was broken down by item as seen in Table 4-2 and Figure 43. The highest scoring item was item number 69, with a mean score of 61. The lowest scoring item was number 76, with a score of 43. Table 4-2. Creativity subscale scores by individual item n Mean Std. Deviation 5. Area is Innovative 35 56.7582 29.15958 47. Area is Creative 35 46.1714 40.66671 52. My own Creativity 35 58.9011 30.20656 55. Great Creativity 35 51.0714 34.86382 69. Group Creativity 34 61.3043 32.11082 76. I am Creative 35 43.8312 38.77598

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39 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60 65 70 75 80Area is Innovative Area is CreativeMy Own Creativity Great CreativityGroup CreativityI am Creative Figure 4-3. Creativity subscale scores by individual item Job Satisfaction In addition to assessing creativity, this study also examined overall job satisfaction at PUSH using the Job in General Scale. To assess job satisfaction in absolute terms, the Job In General scale was divided into three scoring ranges: unsatisfied (0-22), neutral (23-31), and satisfied (32-54). PUSH employ ee scores ranged from a minimum of 33 to a maximum of 54. Remarkably, every single employee surveyed fell into the satisfied range, with nine employees receiving scores of 54, the highest possible score for job satisfaction. When analyzing the group as a whole, the mean score was 47.77 with a standard deviation of 7.08. To assess job satisfaction relative to other businesses, PUSH data was compared to national JIG norms, stratified by company tenure, organization type, age, education, and gender. When comparing the PUSH data to the national norms, the median score, rather than the mean, was used to prevent skewed results.

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40 Table 4-3 shows how PUSH median scores compared to the national norms by percentile. For example, PUSH employees under the age of 25 had a median score of 52, falling into the 98 th percentile. This indicates that 98% of employees under 25 nationally score the same or lower on the JIG scale than employees at PUSH. Table 4-3. Normative JIG data for PUSH Category n Median Score Percentile Company tenure 0-5 Years 25 50 81-83 6-10 Years 8 52 90 Organization Type Profit 35 50 85 Age Less than 25 5 52 98 25-29 11 49 80 30-34 9 50 83 35-39 3 54 99 40-44 5 37 33 45-49 2 50 87 Education Some college 3 50 83 College degree 28 51 85 Graduate degree 3 50 76 Gender Male 16 51 87 Female 19 50 82 n = number of employees in each category Most PUSH scores showed little variation, with medians ranging from 49 to 54 and percentiles in the eighties and nineties. However, one notable exception is the employees between the ages of 40 to 44. These workers have significantly lower scores, with a median of 37, placing them in the 33 rd percentile of national scores. Workplace Fun Fun in the workplace was examined through interviews with four PUSH employees, consisting of three lower-level workers and one member of management.

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41 Also, three of the participants were males in the Creative Department, while one was a female in the Accounts Supervision Department. These interviews investigated employees descriptions of the work environment, definitions of fun, perceived benefits of a fun workplace, and specific fun activities at PUSH. First, participants were asked what adjectives they would use to describe their workplace, prior to being introduced to the topic of workplace fun in the semi-structured interview. The most common answers all expressed a sense of excitement in the workplace, using adjectives such as vibrant, chaotic, energetic, exciting, passionate, and lively. The other adjectives that appeared more than once were fun, creative, and stressful. Employees were also asked to define fun in the workplace in their own terms. One employee described fun as when you can come to work everyday and high five your workmates, meaning that you dont dread coming to work everyday. Another employee responded, I think its just being able to have a good conversation without feeling like youre up against time constraints or rigidity of any kind. When analyzing the responses, three main themes emerged: enjoyment of the job, camaraderie between employees, and freedom from rigidity and time constraints. In addition, employees were asked what they believed the benefits of a fun work environment were. One employee responded, Hands down, the benefit of workplace fun is being able to get the most out of employeesPeople work 70 and 80 hours a week with no hesitation because its fun and you dont hate doing it. Overall, the employees perceived three main benefits: increased productivity, higher job satisfaction, and lower stress levels.

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42 Finally, specific examples of fun activities at PUSH were examined. Based on the interviews, a list of fun activities was compile d, along with their settings within the work environment (Table 4-4). These items were then organized into the Fords ten categories of workplace fun: recognition for personal milestones, social events, public celebrations of professional achievements, opportunities for civic volunteerism, stress release activities, humor, games, friendly competitions, opportunities for personal development, and entertainment (Ford et al., 2003). Table 4-4. Fun activities at PUSH, categorized according to Ford et al. (2003) Activity Location Category Tippy-Tap (basketball game created Workspaces Game by employees) Scooter races Hallway Game Cubicle volleyball Workspaces Game Golf putting Hallway Game Annual lake party Off-site Social event Happy hour (almost every Friday at 5:00) Kitchen Social event Annual Post-ADDY's party Off-site Public celebration of professional achievements Tequila shots (when big accounts are won) Kitchen Public celebration of professional achievements Creating goofy pictures, videos, etc. for Workspaces Humor website Pranks (e.g. filling an employee's office Workspaces Humor with cotton) Throwing soft stress balls at one another Workspaces Stress release activity Birthday parties Break Room Recognition for personal milestones The fun activities that seemed to occur most frequently at PUSH were games, followed by social events, public celebrations of professional achievements, and humor. The other categories found were stress release activities, humor, and recognition for personal milestones, while PUSH lacked opportunities for civic volunteerism, friendly competitions, opportunities for personal development, and entertainment. Activities took place in all of the major spaces except for the lobby and conference room.

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43 The Physical Environment at PUSH When PUSH was first formed in 1996, the business was housed in a decrepit old warehouse. As the company grew, acquiring new accounts and employees, the warehouse space became too small and cramped. PUSH commissioned Orlando based architecture firm The Evans Group to design their new office building. An empty lot in a mixed-use area of downtown Orlando was selected as the site for the new office building. Using the PUSHs metal business cards as inspiration, The Evans Group designed an 8,000 square foot structure with a stainless steel faade (See Figure 4-4). The firm stated that their goal was to design a building that reflected their [PUSHs] energy and imaginative nature (The Evans Group website) and in June of 2000, PUSH moved their 22 employees into the new office space. Figure 4-4. Exterior of building The PUSH building shell consists of a simple rectangular from, featuring large window apertures on all four sides. The floorplan, also laid out in rectilinear forms, is

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44 divided into two distinct zones for public and private functions (See Figure 4-5). The public zone is located near the revolving door entrance, consisting of the lobby, conference room, restrooms, and kitchen. The remainder of the space makes up the private zone, consisting of offices and workstations. Figure 4-5. Floorplan. The highlighted area shows the new workstations constructed to accommodate additional employees. The interior design of the PUSH office is quite innovative, instantly communicating to visitors that this isnt your typical company. The office is painted in a number of saturated hues, including orange, yellow, green, and blue (Figure 4-6). The building offers floor-to-ceiling windows throughout, as well as a number of skylights to capitalize on daylighting. In addition, the exposed ceilings are painted white, maximizing light reflectance.

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45 Angled elements are a common theme throughout the design of the PUSH office. Explaining the significance of this, partner John Ludwig states, There is so much creative energy, its pushing the walls out. Beginning with the exterior, the stainless steel faade is composed of slightly angled planes that expand outwards as they gain heighth. Next, angled bars divide the window panes. Angles can also be found in the walls of employee workstations, which slope upwards towards the back plane. Furthermore, fluorescent light fixtures ar e hung at random angles, instead of in a traditional grid pattern. All of these angled elements combine to create a dynamic atmosphere within the space, used to spark innovation. Figure 4-6. Office design Entry/Lobby When entering the PUSH office, one must pass through a large revolving door. While more costly and difficult to install, this door serves a symbolic purpose. In the original warehouse space all of the doors were pulled open, contradicting the companys

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46 name. Therefore, the new building was designed with a revolving door, which is always pushed and never pulled (Figure 4-7A). A B Figure 4-7. Lobby space. A) Interior view of the revolving door. B) Lobby seating area, featuring artwork taken from PUSH campaigns. The walls of the lobby are painted with PUSHs signature chartreuse green (Figure 4-7B). Partner Rich Wahl explained we wanted to use the chartreuse because green is the color of moving forward, and of prosperity (Zelinsky, 2002). This color is used to make a first impression, but is rarely used in the rest of the building, heightening its impact. In contrast to the bright green walls is the cool gray concrete floor. The slightly distressed concrete floor lends an industrial feeling to the hip and youthful space. The semi-circular reception desk is also made from concrete, with a glass surface placed on top to form a counter. The glass rests on small orange rubber bases, an unexpected shot of color that adds a bit of f un to the desk. In addition, the front of the desk features three round metal details, which appear to be pieces of industrial hardware.

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47 Behind the reception desk, the name PUSH is designed to be projected onto the wall with light. However, at the time observations were conducted for this study, the light was broken, leaving an oddly blank wall behind the desk (Figure 4-8). Figure 4-8. Reception desk The design of the lobby demonstrates near-symmetry. Upon entering, a front view of the reception desk is centered between two doors. The wall to the left of the reception desk displays a grid of squares, each squa re featuring artwork from a different PUSH campaign (Figures 4-7A and 4-8). The wall to the right of the reception desk features a display case showcasing the companys numerous awards (Figure 4-9A). Along the perimeter of both right and left walls is comfortable leather seating for visitors, with two armchairs on the left and a sofa on the right. The lobby space is expansive in scale due to its openness and nearly 15-foot high ceiling height. The exposed metal ceiling is painted white, further emphasizing the sense

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48 of loftiness. In addition, the ceiling features a large pyramid-shaped skylight, allowing natural light to flood the space (Figure 4-9B). A B Figure 4-9. Additional lobby features. A) Display of awards. B) Skylight in the center of the lobby. Conference Room When entering the conference room, the deep blueberry color of the walls offers instant character to the space, and this hue reflects the history of the original office space (Figure 4-10A). Years earlier when pitching to a client, PUSH painted their conference walls the same shade as their clients signature blue color. PUSH succeeded in winning the account and retained the blue conference room as a good luck measure. The conference table is made up of two glass sheets, supported by thin metal bases. Each leg of the bases features a small orange spring at the bottom, adding a fun detail that reinforces their ability to surprise their clients (Figure 4-10B). Around the table, which can seat approximately 15 individuals, are black ergonomic conference chairs. In

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49 addition, low black storage cabinets run along two walls of the space, serving as additional seating space during large meetings. A B Figure 4-10. Conference room. A) Conference room table. B) Detail of table leg. The ceiling of the conference room is exposed; however, black fabric panels stretch across the ceiling to improve acoustical quality. Also hung from the ceiling are three large pendant lights, each featuring five adjustable arms with exposed bulbs on the ends, giving the impression an undersea creature with wild tentacles. Natural lighting comes from the floor-to-ceiling windows that run along one side of the conference room. These windows contain black roll-down shades to darken the room when necessary. Workspaces In their original warehouse building, PUSH found that having too many walls hindered communication between employees. As a result, the new office building has fewer full-height walls. The majority of workers are placed in cubicle-sized enclosures with sloping partitions. These partitions are approximately four-feet at the lowest point,

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50 allowing others to easily see in (Figure 4-11). In fact, the low walls often act as ledges, supporting employees as they lean over to have impromptu conversations. Figure 4-11. Open workspaces A few private offices can be found around the perimeter of the building, with two of the corner offices occupied by company partners (Figure 4-12). Some of these private offices have doors, while the others simply have openings. One would never notice the difference, however, since the office doors were always left open during the three-day on-site observations for this study. This was even true for the partners, who appeared easily approachable. The workspaces are painted in vivid yellow, orange, green, and blue hues. While the bright colors are credited with adding an element of fun to the space, some employees objected to the saturation level. In particular, the yellow found in many of the offices and workspaces seems to be distracting to some employees. One member of the creative team stated I think its anxiety inducingit drives me nuts.

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51 Figure 4-12. Private office PUSH employees have the ability to arrange their workspaces according to their personal preferences. Some workers place their desks facing a wall, while others place their desks facing forward. They also have the opportunity to bring in furniture and other items to personalize the space. For instance, one employee placed an old school desk in his workspace, using it mostly as a surface to pile papers on. Other items such as photographs, framed posters, and inspirational print ads can be found throughout the office (Figures 4-11 and 4-12). The workspace area also features a number of places for ideas and projects to be displayed. In particular, the wall between founding partner John Ludwigs office and new partner Chris Robbs office is used to display current campaign ideas (Figure 4-13). This allows employees from all departments to follow the creative process and discuss their opinions with the creative team. At the time observations were conducted, this surface displayed a number of concepts for the Orlando Sentinel campaign.

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52 Figure 4-13. Wall displaying current campaign ideas When the PUSH office was completed in 2000, there were only 22 employees on staff. With plenty of extra room, the area in the center of the workspace was used as an open conference area, containing tables, chairs, and even a basketball net (Figure 4-14). However, as the company grew to over 30 employees, more individual office space was needed and the open conference area was replaced by six additional workstations (Figure 4-14). While the newly constructed workstations provided much needed space for additional employees, there were also negative effects. First, with the conference space removed, the lack of meeting areas became a problem. This was somewhat alleviated when PUSH purchased a small house across the street to use as additional meeting and storage space. The second consequence was that there was less space for employees to have fun. For example, the basketball hoop was moved to the kitchen where it is no longer in use.

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53 A B Figure 4-14. Workspace before and after renovation. A) The open conference area as originally designed in 2000. B) The new workstations built to accommodate additional employees. The additional workspaces only alleviated the space problems temporarily. At the time of observations, PUSH had grown even larger. The building was cramped once again, with employees sharing offices and being placed anywhere available. For instance, one employee was located in the small space next to the copy machine. As a result, PUSH was on the verge of relocating to a new building. During observations, this new space was under construction at a large office building in downtown Orlando. Kitchen Compared to the other spaces at PUSH, the kitchen is quite functional but lacks the same level of innovation in its design. The space features white walls, as well as white kitchen cabinets and countertops (Figure 4-15). Yet one element of fun appears in the bold black and white floor tile pattern. In addition, a large collection of tequila bottles form a line stretching across the kitchen cabinet tops (Figure 4-16).

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54 Figure 4-15. Kitchen The kitchen table can seat approximately ten employees at a time. Generally, employees gather in the space to prepare and eat lunch. However, the room also affords fun activities, such as when PUSH workers meet on Friday afternoons to drink beer and catch up with one another. Figure 4-16. Collection of empty tequila bottles displayed in the kitchen The kitchen also serves as a makeshift storage area. Extra boxes, not yet moved to the house across the street, are piled up in front of the full-length windows, blocking the

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55 view. Next to the boxes, a metal rack holds clothing from the dry-cleaners. Also stowed in the kitchen is the basketball hoop previously located in the open conference area.

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CHAPTER 5 NARRATIVE Orientation to Narrative The following narrative, entitled Pushing the Boundaries of Work and Play, is based on four employees accounts of their experiences working at PUSH, an Orlando advertising agency. The story follows two members of the Creative Department, Gary and Matthew, as they prepare for and pitch to a large prospective client. The story illustrates how PUSH brings fun into the wor kplace, as well as how this influences the creative process. Gary is a Senior Copywriter at PUSH, responsible for concepting ideas, writing copy for ad campaigns, and assisting junior copywriters. As an experienced copywriter in his early thirties, Gary has worked at PUSH for approximately three years. On the other hand, Matthew is in his late forties and a Partner with the company after joining a few years earlier. Matthew is also the Creative Director, responsible for overseeing the quality and strategic direction of creative work at PUSH. Pushing the Boundaries of Work and Play Gary glanced down at his watch. It was 11:43 PM and he was still at work. Rubbing his sore neck, he couldnt recall the last time he had stopped to take a break. It was no surprise that Garys body was aching. He was standing on a ladder in the middle of the conference room taping newspapers to the wall. Not alone in this endeavor, about eight of Garys coworkers at PUSH surrounded him, forming an assembly line to tape and hang the papers. The goal of this seemingly odd project was to prepare the office for a meeting with a prospective client at 9:00 AM the following morning. Not just any client, this was the largest newspaper in the Orlando area, The Orlando Sentinel. This would be a major account to land. For that reason, PUSH decided to go all out by wallpapering the entire conference room with copies of the newspaper. 56

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57 Section by section, the bright blue conference room walls were rapidly disappearing as they transformed into a giant collage of newspapers. As Gary reached down for Sarah to hand him the next sheet, he realized that she was not paying attention, too busy snacking on a slice of pizza. Sarah! he said, I need another page to put up! And get me a beer while youre at it. She laughed and retrieved both items for Gary. There was an electric feeling in the office that night. Employees from all departments were pitching in to prepare the office for the next morning. Outside in the parking lot, workers were cutting particleboard and then fastening it to the reception desk, transforming it into a newspaper stand complete with papers, magazines, and candies. Back inside, other employees were scurrying around placing doormats at the entrances to all 36 workspaces, each with a copy of the Sentinel deposited on top. Gary felt exhausted, yet excited to be part of such a large and exciting project. * How did PUSH come up with all of these crazy ideas? Gary began thinking back. Well, this certainly wasnt the first time they had transformed the conference room to impress a client. There was the time they were pitching to a lawn company and covered the entire conference room floor in fresh sod. That was backbreaking work, carrying those huge pallets up the stairs of the old building. And man did it smell. But at the end of the day, PUSH sold the client on their company and landed a major account. With the Orlando Sentinel pitch, it began one afternoon while Gary was sitting at his bright yellow workstation checking his e-mail. Partner and Creative Director Matthew walked up the aisle of the creative department, stopping in the center near Garys desk. Hey everyone, why dont you all gather around for a few minutes? The low walls allowed the whole creative group to hear the announcement, and they quickly assembled together. Gary stood up and leaned against his workstation half-wall, curious to see what the impromptu meeting was about. The Orlando Sentinel pitch is coming up soon. We need to come up with something big to catch their attention Matthew announced. This is a huge project so its critical that we win this account, Matthew added in a serious tone. Gary could hear the stress in Matthews voice. Just then, a small bright red object sailed over one of the cubicle walls, hitting Matthew squarely on the head. It was a spongy stress ball, one of many that the PUSH employees had gotten from a recent trade show. The entire group burst out laughing, along with Dan, the employee who had thrown it. Matthew hurled the ball back at Dan, causing a stress ball war to quickly ensue. The whole creative group got involved, throwing balls and ducking behind workstations to avoid getting hit. After about five minutes, the group sensed that the surrounding employees, who were trying to concentrate on their work, were starting to get annoyed. The group stopped goofing around and reconvened together. A bit more relaxed, Matthew continued So, as I was saying, we need to come up with something really impressive to grab their attention as soon as they walk in the door. Do you have any ideas?

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58 The group tossed ideas around for about ten minutes before hitting on one they really liked. Thinking back to the time they covered the conference room floor with sod, Gary said, What if we cover the whole conference room with newspapers? It could be all over the walls and the floor! Its an interesting idea, but walking all over their product might not send the best message someone rebutted. Gary agreed. But . . Matthew added, What about if we just cover the conference room walls with newspaper? Growing more excited, he said, It would look like custom Orlando Sentinel wallpaper. Yeah! several in the group responded. Everyone agreed it was a great idea, so they decided to go for it. Building from that concept, the other ideas came quickly. Dan said, What if we build a newspaper stand in the lobby? Or better yet, turn the reception desk into a newsstand! Yeah! Then someone else said We should put welcome mats in front of each workstation so it looks like each one is the entrance to a house. And then we should put newspapers on every mat so it looks like the Sentinels were just delivered! Another great idea. Within twenty minutes, the whole plan was put together. The group agreed that this was a surefire way to wow the Orlando Sentinel executives. As the idea spread across the office, excitement mounted as the details were worked out. Every time Gary mentioned the idea to someone, they would say Wow! I want to be a part of that. Sign me up. Even those employees completely unrelated to the Sentinel project wanted to pitch in. Reflecting on all of their ideas now becoming a reality, Gary wished he could be there to see the Orlando Sentinels reaction. Unfortunately, he would be out of the office in the morning, helping with a recording session for another ad campaign. But he knew that Matthew and the other partners would make a great pitch. He had a feeling they would blow the Orlando Sentinel executives away. * Groggy from the previous late night, Matthew blinked hard, trying to focus on the task ahead. The Orlando Sentinel group was due to arrive any minute now. In his head, Matthew was trying to rehearse his part of the pitch, explaining the superior creative capabilities found at PUSH. Looking around at the space, Matthew couldnt believe everything the employees had accomplished the previous night. The reception desk now stood as a convincing newspaper stand, complete with all of the Orlando Sentinel products, as well as a variety of candies. The conference room showed no signs of its original blue wall color. It was now covered in newspapers up to the ceiling. Its fantastic thought Matthew who was becoming reenergized.

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59 Just then, two older men and a conservatively dressed younger woman arrived from the Orlando Sentinel. When they walked into the lobby and saw the newsstand, their eyes all widened in surprise. They st ood there stunned for a moment, taking it all in. The woman was the first to break the silence. This is amazing! I cant believe you did all of this. The men concurred, nodding in agreement. Matthew and the other partners introduced themselves and then led the Orlando Sentinel group into the conference room for th e pitch. Once again, the prospective clients were clearly impressed. I really didnt expect this, one of the men said. You really know how to get our attention. During the pitch, the PUSH partners carefully laid out all of the reasons why the Orlando Sentinel should give their advertisi ng campaign to PUSH. They explained the agencys capabilities in brand strategy, advertising, design, and media. Each point was underscored with examples of successful campaigns they had done for other companies. At the end of the presentation, Matthew and the other partners capped off the pitch with a tour of the office. Interestingly, this was a selling technique that PUSH always used. The fun and innovative office design really showed clients what the company was all aboutthat this wasnt just a run-of-the-mill ad agency. The clients were excited to see the doormats in front of each workspace, replete with the latest copy of the Sentinel. After the initial excitement subsided, the prospective clients focused on the design of the office. The bright colors, bold artwork, and the overall dynamic feeling of the space enthused the group. They all agreed that their own office space mundane compared to the environment at PUSH. Can I move in? the woman joked. * After the Orlando Sentinel executives left and the adrenaline subsided, Matthew felt a sense of relief. The pitch had gone well. Moreover, the clients had been impressed by the newspaper-themed lobby and conference room. The PUSH team had really worked hard and come together to show the clients the creativity and performance that defined their company. Yet in the week ahead, Matthew felt his uncertainty growing with each passing day. The pitch was good, but was it good enough? Would the clients base their decision on PUSHs creative presentation? Or would they choose to go with a more conventional and established advertising agency? Matthew tried to push his doubts aside. Only time would tell. * Exactly two weeks later, PUSH received a large manila envelope from the Orlando Sentinel. Matthew and the other partners gathered around the unopened envelope, anxious to learn what was inside. This is it Matthew though to himself. The seal was torn off and inside was a copy of the Sentinel newspaper, with a large headline reading PUSH wins Sentinel Account! The news spread quickly across the office, with everyone cheering and congratulating one another on the success. Gary was especially excited, having participated in the pitch preparations. He was one of the first employees to lead the way into the kitchen.

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60 Soon the whole office filled the kitchen, surrounding the central table. As was the tradition, someone grabbed a bottle of tequila and began pouring shots into glasses. Gary helped to pass the drinks around. Within minutes, everyone who wanted to take a shot was holding one, including all three PUSH partners. To the Orlando Sentinel! someone yelled out. To the Orlando Sentinel! the group replied, clinking their shot glasses together in celebration. Everyone downed their tequila shots in unison, coughing and making pained faces afterwards. Cheer up everyone Matthew said. Now that we have the account, the real fun begins. Interpretation The narrative Pushing the Boundaries of Work and Play illustrates the creative process at PUSH, following two employees as they prepare for a pitch and successfully win a large client. The two main characters in the story are Gary, a copywriter and Matthew, a partner and creative director. Through these characters experiences one can see the role of interior design in promoting workplace fun, particularly aimed at improving creativity and job satisfaction. The narrative can be divided into five major themes based on the model of fun in the workplace (Figure 5-1). These themes are: (1) fun and worker characteristics, (2) fun and the physical setting, (3) fun and management style, (4) fun and creativity, (5) fun and job satisfaction (6) fun and stress, and (7) fun and client relations. When examining the relationship between fun and worker characteristics in the narrative, the two main characters must first be analyzed. Beginning with age and job level, Gary is in his late twenties and a middle-level employee, while Matthew is in his mid-forties and one of the three partners at PUSH. Yet despite the differences in age and job level, both employees participate in the same fun activities, including a stress ball

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61 fight and a tequila shot. Yet what remains to be seen is if Matthew would pull rank if the fun got out of hand. When exploring gender, both main characters are male and represent a male perspective, while the female perspective is somewhat overlooked. The reason for this is that the story focuses on the Creative department, which is made up of mostly males. Therefore, it is difficult to compare male and female perspectives of fun in this particular workplace. Nevertheless, some females are included, such as Sarah who assists in the conference room transformation and the female executive representing the Orlando Sentinel. The narrative also illustrates that not all employees are comfortable with spontaneous acts of fun in the workplace. In the scene where the creative team is having a stress ball fight, they eventually notice that other employees are becoming annoyed by the distraction. While for some the annoyance may be caused by a need to concentrate, it also suggests that some employees may have individual characteristics that make them less supportive of fun in the workplace. The next concept explored in the narrative is fun and the physical setting This topic is examined as fun activities take place throughout the PUSH office environment. The conference room is the first setting for fun as employees enthusiastically prepare the space for the Orlando Sentinel pitch. While this is not an area that facilitates fun on a daily basis, it shows how employees can take a space traditionally used for meetings and turn it into a fun setting with pizza and beer. The conference room also demonstrates how PUSH frequently changes the physical environment to suit its clients, an idea not often utilized in business. The main

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62 example provided is the Orlando Sentinel pitch, transformed with a newspaper-covered conference room and a newsstand reception desk. However, references are also made to an occasion when PUSH covered the conference room floor in sod when pitching to a lawn company. This suggests that PUSH frequently transforms their physical setting to create a fun atmosphere for clients. Next, the narrative shows how the open workspaces facilitate fun at PUSH, as represented in the brainstorming session. First, the open workstations allow everyone to hear one another, illustrated when Matthew announces an impromptu meeting, which gathers the entire creative teams attention at once. The open workspace also allows the employees to gather together informally for the brainstorming session. Next, the workstations are depicted as the site of the stress ball fight, with employees ducking and hiding behind the low-height walls. While this is not the intention of the space, it shows how the low walls encourage interaction, whether it is through the exchanging of ideas or, in this case, the playful throwing of balls. On the other hand, the open workstations had several disadvantages. These spaces provide little privacy and can cause employees to become distracted by surrounding noise and activity. The narrative illustrates this difficulty during the stress ball fight when certain employees become irritated by the distraction. As a result, the creative team halted their game in consideration of the other employees. The final physical setting that supports fun in the narrative is the kitchen. With its large size, this environment allows the whole office to gather together in celebration after the pitch is won. Also, designed as a space for activities involving food, the kitchen provides an ideal setting for the group as they take a victorious shot of tequila.

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63 Next, the relationship between fun and management style is seen through the character of Matthew. As a partner with the company, one might expect Matthew to generally remain in his office dealing with important management issues. However, Matthew does not hesitate to participate in fun activities with the rest of the employees. In the narrative, he can be seen instigating the stress ball fight, as well as participating in the tequila shot. This shows that the management style at PUSH is casual and supportive of fun in the workplace. However, the partners also have corner offices, which shows that they retain a certain level of hierarchy. The next theme explored by the narrative is the relationship between fun and creativity This concept is mainly depicted in the brainstorming session used to generate ideas for the Orlando Sentinel pitch. At the beginning of the session, someone throws a stress ball at Matthew, starting a fight that lasts about five minutes. This serves as an icebreaker for the group, helping them to get into a fun and creative state of mind. The technique appears successful, because after the game, the employees come up with a number of creative ideas for the pitch. The narrative also explores the relationship between fun and employee satisfaction While these ideas are not directly stated, the employees at PUSH appear to be generally upbeat and enthusiastic about their jobs, as supported by the JIG data. The employees eagerness to pitch in with preparations for the pitch shows that they are excited about the project and anticipate that it will be an enjoyable experience. Furthermore, the employees willingness to stay late at work shows their dedication to the company and its success.

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64 The narrative also explores some additional outcomes of fun in the workplace, not represented in the model. First, the story illustrates how fun can be used as a means of reducing stress. In the scene where Matthew is explaining the importance of winning the Orlando Sentinel account, his level of stress becomes evident. As a result, one of the employees hits him with a soft stress ball, inciting a stress ball fight. This helps him to put things in perspective, and at the end of the game, Matthew finds himself calmer and more relaxed about the issue. Playful activities such as this can allow employees to temporarily take their minds away from stressful situations and allow them to return with a cleared head. In the narrative, another outcome of the fun atmosphere at PUSH was that the clients became involved in the fun too. With the amusing transformation of the reception desk into a newsstand and the conference room wallpapered in newspapers, the Orlando Sentinel executives sensed the fun attitude that embodied PUSH. As a result, the Sentinel was inspired to continue with the imaginative and fun experience at its own workplace. Instead of calling or sending a letter to PUSH letting them know they won the account, the Sentinel creatively made the announcement on the headline of a newspaper. This demonstrates how a fun workplace can inspire others to become more fun and innovative. Conclusion The narrative entitled Pushing the Boundaries of Work and Play captures a true experience of how PUSH uses the creative process to develop and implement strategic ideas. The story vividly illustrates how the workplace is transformed to secure a large client account, as well as demonstrates the results of this transformation. Furthermore, it shows how fun in the workplace affects PUSH employees, as well as the prospective clients.

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65 Given the complexity of this narrative, the central themes were categorized according to the model of fun in the workplace. The primary surfacing themes were: fun and worker characteristics, fun and the physical setting, fun and management style, fun and creativity, fun and job satisfaction, fun and stress, and fun and client relations. By allowing these multi-faceted themes to blend together in one story, the narrative provided a comprehensive picture of fun in the workplace at PUSH.

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CHAPTER 6 DISCUSSION This study addressed how interior design related to fun in the workplace and what experience this created for employees. It also examined the relationship between a fun workplace and employee perceptions of creativity and job satisfaction. Finally, it investigated the link between individual characteristics and management style on having fun at work. This study was based on the model of workplace fun in Figure 3-1. In order to understand each of the six factors, a number of data collection methods were combined. These included qualitative methods including interviews, observations, photographs, and floorplans as well as quantitative methods including surveys assessing creativity and job satisfaction. The results of this study provide evidence that the factors of the model are linked together. Worker characteristics, management style, and the physical setting can all be related to fun in the workplace at PUSH. The outcomes of high creativity and job satisfaction can be found at the company as well. Overall, the findings of this study support a multi-dimensional model for fun in the workplace. The narrative Pushing the Boundaries of Work and Play is the final piece that ties all of the models factors together as a real-life example showing how worker characteristics, management style, and the physical work setting come together to make PUSH a fun workplace and relate it to creativity and job satisfaction. Worker characteristics are examined by age, gender, and job level, while management style 66

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67 explores the roles of the companys partners. Finally the narrative shows how the physical work setting affords fun in terms of both design and functionality. The Social Environment at PUSH Company Profile Founded in 1996, PUSH is a relatively new advertising agency. With nine years in the industry, the company has established a name for itself; however, it is not yet steeped in traditions. Having grown steadily since its inception, PUSH has grown from XX to 42 employees. This is large enough for the company to provide a wide range of services, yet small enough for everyone to know one another. This combination of a new business, along with a relatively small staff, may explain the competitive advantage PUSH has over older, more established companies. This is evident in the companys vision statement, which encourages creativity, clarity, and fearlessness. It can also be seen in PUSHs ad campaigns, which have a young and imaginative tenor. For example, in the Middleton Lawn & Pest Control campaign, PUSH created a series of digitally animated TV spots featuring Middletons frog icon. In one ad, the talking frog destroys an obnoxious cockroach using a ray gun. The numerous ADDY awards won by PUSH suggest that the company is highly respected in their industry. These awards also suggest that PUSHs risk-taking and funpromoting ideals have been successful. It would be interesting to investigate if the company retains these ideals as it matures over time. Employee Demographics With a range from 23 to 48, the mean age of PUSH employees surveyed was 31.89 years old, reinforcing the relatively young workforce. In part, this can be explained as a standard of the advertising business. As stated by one of the PUSH partners, companies

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68 often prefer to hire young employees because they have fresh ideas and are more in touch with young consumers. In fact, as creative advertising employees get older, they are often expected to switch to other areas of th e field. Nevertheless, the low age of PUSH employees may contribute to the companys fun and innovative work culture. However, this is not the only factor, as mangers must also retain a youthful attitude as they create the policies that shape the work culture. In terms of gender, 45.7% of the participating employees were male and 54.3% were female. This is a closely balanced ratio of men to women, with a slightly higher number of women. As a result, the general findings of this study are unaffected by gender and apply equally to both men and women. However, it is important to note that PUSH does not have any female partners, meaning that gender may affect the management style. When examining education level, nearly three-fourths (74.3%) of PUSH employees were college graduates. In addition to this, 14.3% of employees attended some graduate school or received a graduate degree. Therefore, in total, 88.6% of PUSH employees received some college degree. In addition, no employees were hired with simply a high school diploma. This suggests that, as a whole, PUSH employees were well educated. The greatest percentage of employees completing the survey for this research (42.9%, n=15) listed Advertising/Public Relati ons as their field of study. This is not surprising since PUSH is an advertising agency. The remaining respondents (57.1%, n=20) were evenly distributed between Art/Design, Marketing, Communications, Business, and Other. Since most of these fi elds are closely related to advertising, this

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69 suggests that most PUSH employees attended school with plans to enter the advertising business. Finally, company tenure was examined at PUSH. Approximately one-third of the workers had 6-9 years tenure, while three-fourths of the workers had five years or less. This is indicative of the companys growth since its inception in 1996. It shows that a quarter of PUSH employees remained with the company since its first few years in business, while the majority was hired later as the company grew. Based on the demographic data, a general picture can be painted of the employees working at PUSH. In sum, the employees are young, balanced between males and females, and have worked at PUSH for five years or less. They also have a college degree and went to school with intentions of entering the advertising business. Creativity PUSH places a high premium on creativity; yet there are many different types of creativity within organizations. According to the Wise (2003) model of organizational creativity, businesses can fall into four different categories: Technical Artists, Artists, Inventors, and Distributors and Adaptors. Based on observations, PUSH falls into the Artists category, which combines high aesthetic creativity with low technological creativity. This is because PUSH uses high le vels of aesthetic creativity when creating ad campaigns, and although they use computer technology to aid this process, they are not responsible for inventing the technology. To learn about employee perceptions of creativity at PUSH, KEYS: Assessing the Climate for Creativity, developed by Teresa M. Amabile, was utilized. First, this was used to test the assumption that PUSH is a creative organization. Second, the survey determined the stimulants and obstacles to creativity, as well as the outcomes. Finally,

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70 the survey allowed the company to be compared to others, determining where it falls compared to national norms. PUSH employee scores were compared to the KEYS norms for each of the surveys ten subscales. After reversing the two obstacles to creativity scores (so that a higher score represented a lack of obstacles) the scales were categorized as follows: three scales fell into the Very High range, two scales fell in the High range, four scales fell in the Middle range, and one score fell in-between the High and Middle ranges. None of the overall PUSH scores fell into the Low or Very Low ranges. Each of the six stimulants to creativity, two obstacles to creativity, and two outcome scales is addressed in further detail below. When examining the KEYS results, the highest scoring subscale at PUSH was Organizational Encouragement of Creativity. This was defined as an organizational culture that encourages creativity through fair, constructive judgment of ideas, reward recognition for creative work, mechanisms for developing new ideas, an active flow of ideas, and a shared vision of what the organization is trying to do (Amabile et al., 1999, p. 15). PUSH scored in the 82 nd percentile for this scale, falling into the Very High category. Therefore, the organizational encouragement of creativity appears to be one of PUSHs greatest strengths. The KEYS subscale with the second highest score was the lack of Organizational Impediments. This was defined as An organizational culture that impedes creativity through internal political problems, harsh criticism of new ideas, destructive internal competition, an avoidance of risk, and on overemphasis on the status quo (Amabile et al, 1999, p. 15). PUSH received a mean score of 75, which also fell into the Very High

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71 category. PUSHs encouragement of risk-taking may be a large reason for such a high score on this scale. Also scoring highly was the lack of Workload Pressure, described as Extreme time pressures, unrealistic expectations for productivity, and distractions from creative work (Amabile et al, 1999, p. 15). PUSH scored a mean of 62, placing them in the Very High range. This suggests that PUSH places less workload pressure on employees than the majority of companies. The time taken out of the workday to facilitate fun activities may contribute to this. The next subscale was Supervisory Encouragement of Creativity, defined as A supervisor who serves as a good work model, sets goals appropriately, supports the work group, values individual contributions, and shows confidence in the work group (Amabile et al, 1999, p. 15). For this scale, PUSH scored in the 61 st percentile, just falling into the Very High range. This suggests that PUSH supervisors are better than most at encouraging creativity in their employees. The next subscale was Productivity; defined as An efficient, effective, and productive organization or unit (Amabile et al, 1999, p. 16). PUSH scored in the 59 th percentile for this scale, falling at the upper end of the High range. This shows that PUSH employees rate their productivity as being higher than average. However, since this is a self-reported measure, it would be in formative to learn if an objective measure of productivity reinforced these results. Work Group Supports was the next highest subscale assessed by the KEYS survey. Amabile defined this as A diversely skilled workgroup in which people communicate well, are open to new ideas, constructively challenge each others work, trust and help

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72 each other, and feel committed to the work they are doing (1999, p. 15). Compared to KEYS norms, PUSH scored in the 57 th percentile, falling into the High range. Therefore, it can be ascertained that PUSH employees are successful in supporting one another. The outcome scale of Creativity followed Work Group Supports. Creativity was defined as A creative organization or unit, where a great deal of creativity is called for and where people believe that they actually produce creative work (Amabile et al, 1999, p. 16). PUSH received a score of 54.94, which was rounded up to the 55 th percentile. According to the KEYS manual a score of 45-55 is Mid-range, while 55-60 is considered High. Due to this discrepancy, the PUSH score for Creativity falls into both the Middle and High categories. The finding that creativity was in the Middle-to-High range was unexpected. Since advertising agencies are known for high levels of creativity and PUSH has won many awards in the field, it was predicted that the business would have a Very High score. Using two means of further analysis, this unexpected finding was clarified. First, the scores were compared by departments, with the creative departments (n=19) scoring in the 65 th percentile and the non-creative departments (n=15) scoring in the 42 nd percentile. This showed that the employees responsible for PUSHs creative campaigns had a Creativity score in the Very High category, as expected. However, employees with jobs in other departments had a Creativity score in the Low category. These findings suggest that employees in the non-creative departments perceive fewer opportunities for creativity. Next, the Creativity subscale was broken down by individual items. The highest scoring item was for group creativity, with a mean score of 61 (n=34). On the other

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73 hand, the lowest scoring item was for respondents individual creativity, with a mean score of 44 (n=35). This suggests that PUSH employees feel the group is very creative as whole, but do not consider themselves as creative individuals. Another subscale that was scored lower than most at PUSH was Sufficient Resources. This construct was defined as Access to appropriate resources, including funds, materials, facilities, and information (Amabile et al, 1999, p. 15). PUSH scored in the 53 rd percentile, falling into the Middle range. This suggests that PUSH provides average resources for its employees. The next subscale examined was Freedom, described as Freedom in deciding what work to do or how to do it; a sense of control over ones work (Amabile et al, 1999, p. 15). PUSH scored in the 47 th percentile, a Mid-range score. While close to the database average, Freedom was one of PUSHs lowest scores. This suggests that there is room for improvement in the amount of freedom that PUSH gives to employees. Finally came Challenging Work, defined as A sense of having to work hard on challenging tasks and important projects (Amabile et al, 1999, p. 15). For this subscale, PUSH was placed in the 48 th percentile. Although this was a Mid-range score, Challenging Work was the lowest scoring scale for PUSH. This may be related to the lack of workload pressure at PUSH. Nevertheless, this is the creativity stimulant in greatest in need of improvement for the company. Job Satisfaction To investigate overall job satisfaction at PUSH, the Job in General scale was used. In addition to assessing employee satisfaction in absolute terms (e.g. satisfied vs. not satisfied), this survey allowed the company to be compared to national averages from

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74 other companies. Furthermore, it allowed the study to examine if fun in the workplace would be associated with higher job satisfaction levels at PUSH. Using the JIG scale to assess job satisfaction at PUSH, significant results were found. All 35 respondents received scores falling into the satisfied range, with nine respondents receiving the highest possible score for satisfaction. When comparing the PUSH data to national norms by category, PUSH employees scored in the 80 th and 90 th percentile for nearly all of the categories. For example, as a for-profit organization, PUSH scored in the 85 th percentile compared to other companies. These findings indicate that fun in the workplace is in fact linked to high job satisfaction at PUSH. The other JIG norm categories are examined in further detail below. First, what impact did company tenure have on job satisfaction? Employees with less than five years at PUSH scored in the 81 st to 83 rd percentile, while employees with six to nine years at PUSH scored in the 90 th percentile. This may be explained by the companys recent formation as those employees who have been with the company since its inception may take pride in helping to bring about its success. The explanation may also be that employees who have been with the company longer generally have higherranking positions and larger salaries. Finally, the scores may reflect that less satisfied employees leave the company, while those who are more satisfied remain. When comparing PUSH satisfaction levels by age, employees were divided into six different categories: less than 25, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, and 45-49. The two age groups with the highest scores compared JIG norms were those less than 25 (in the 98 th percentile) and those 35-39 (in the 99 th percentile). The lowest scoring employees were

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75 those 40-44, with a score in the 33 rd percentile. This score was drastically lower than the rest at PUSH, without any clear explanation. One possibility is that the employees from 40 to 44 are older than the majority at PUSH, yet have not moved up to the managerial level, causing them some dissatisfaction. Another explanation may be that this age group has a difficult time balancing high demands at both home and work, leading to lower job satisfaction. Finally, it is possible that these scores are simply skewed as a result of the small sample size (n=5). When examining education levels at PUSH, the mean scores for all three levels (some college, college degree, and graduate degree) fell between 50 and 51. Compared to JIG norms, the most satisfied employees were those with a college degree, in the 85 th percentile. Next, those with some college fell into the 83 rd percentile, while those with a graduate degree were in the 76 th percentile. Finally, the impact of gender on employee satisfaction was examined. Males had a mean score of 51, which placed them in the 87 th percentile. Meanwhile, females had a mean score of 50, which placed them in the 82 nd percentile. The mean scores themselves showed little variation between males and females. However, according to the norms, females generally had a slightly higher satisf action level than males, whereas the opposite was true at PUSH. This may be related to the male dominated management style or it may be the result of a small sample size. Yet it a question that can be addressed in future research investigationsdo males and females perceive workplace fun differently from one another? The PUSH job satisfaction levels are not consistent with the 2005 Conference Board findings, which state that only half of all U.S. workers are satisfied with their jobs

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76 (U.S. job satisfaction, 2005). Since 100% of PUSH employees surveyed were satisfied, this suggests that PUSH employees are unusually happy with their jobs. The PUSH data offers some confirmation of the Conference Board report, which states the least satisfied workers are between ages 35 to 44. PUSH employees between 35 and 39 had the highest job satisfaction, while those between 40 and 44 were the least satisfied. Overall, the job satisfaction level at PUSH was exceptionally high, as predicted. With numerous factors that can contribute to job satisfaction, there is no way of knowing specifically what caused the high satisfaction levels. However, there appears to be a connection between fun in the workplace and high job satisfaction levels at PUSH. More research is needed to learn if fun in the workplace is correlated to high job satisfaction at other companies. Workplace Fun Employee perceptions of fun in the workplace were explored through interviews with four PUSH employees. First, employees were asked what adjectives they would use to describe their workplace to test the assumption that PUSH is a fun office environment. All four employees described PUSH with word s related to excitement, terms that most people do not associate with work, showing that PUSH is not a typical business. In addition, two of the employees described the workplace using the specific adjective fun, confirming the studys basic assumption. Further, two of the four employees interviewed described PUSH using the term creative, while the same number described the workplace as stressful. This shows that despite the exciting, fun, and creative atmosphere, there is a sense of pressure for employees to complete their work. The employees interviewed were also asked to define fun in the workplace, with the most common themes relating to: enjoyment of the job, camaraderie between

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77 employees, and freedom from rigidity and time constraints. The common theme of enjoyment shows that PUSH employees directly relate fun to job satisfaction and this supports a primary premise of the study. Furthermore, employees associate fun with camaraderie or social interaction, a factor that may be related to office design through features such as open/flexible workstations, informal meeting areas, and spaces designated for fun activities. Finally, they associate fun with freedom to participate in non-work related activities, a factor related to management style. Additionally, employees were asked what they perceived to be the benefits of a fun workplace, with responses of: increased productivity, higher job satisfaction, and lower stress levels. Employee perceptions of productivity were examined in the KEYS survey, with PUSH scoring at the top of the Mid-range in relation to the KEYS database. This suggests that there may be some relationship between fun and high productivity at PUSH. Job satisfaction was also measured empirically at PUSH, with employees receiving exceptionally high scores. This shows a strong relationship between fun and high satisfaction at PUSH. Finally, the reduction of stress was not objectively examined; however, this concept was addressed in the narrative, guided by employees descriptions of their experiences. Additionally, based on a review of interview transcripts, a list was compiled of fun activities that have taken place at PUSH. Nine fun activities were described and then sorted into Fords ten categories of fun activities (2003). Six of Fords categories were found at PUSH, with games appearing the most, followed by social events, public celebrations of professional achievements, and humor. According to Fords study, the three most frequently practiced categories were (in order) personal milestones, social

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78 events, and public celebrations of professional achievements. This shows that PUSH incorporates more game-based activities into the workplace than other companies. The four activities not found at PUSH were: opportunities for civic volunteerism, friendly competitions, opportunities for personal development, and entertainment. It is also important to note that employees themselves created many of the fun activities at PUSH, not management. The stress ball throwing, Tippy-Tap game, and scooter races were all spontaneously create d, without any organization or instruction from management. This demonstrates how in the right environment employees can take it upon themselves to create a fun workplace. The Physical Environment at PUSH According to a literature review by Johannessen, Olsen, & Lumpkin (2001), the most widely used definitions of innovation focused on the concepts of novelty and newness. Based on this understanding, the physical environment of PUSH can be described as innovative in many respects. From the exterior of the building to the smallest interior details, PUSHs office design projects a sense that the company is unique and special. The building exterior, clad in gleaming stainless steel, is the first signal to visitors that this is not an ordinary office. While one might expect to see a large high-rise constructed in steel, to see this in a small one-story building is unexpected. Due to this uniqueness, clients visiting PUSH for the first time can easily spot the building. In addition, the building draws a great deal of attention from passersby, who frequently stop inside to ask what the place is.

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79 Entry/Lobby When entering the building, the revolving door is the next innovative design feature found at PUSH. While many buildings have revolving doors in Northern regions of the United States (used to keep cold drafts out), it is extremely rare to find one in sunny Florida. However, this feature is not simply added for the sake of novelty. What makes the revolving door so successful is the meaning behind itthe door is always pushed and never pulled. This type of symbolic design can be found in many areas of the PUSH office environment. After being compressed through the tight revolving door, visitors are released into the expansive volume of the lobby. The lobby space is generally successful in providing visitors with an accurate first impression of the company. Painted in PUSHs signature chartreuse green, the lobby surprises visitors with its vivid hue, while introducing them to the PUSH brand. Next, the modern materials (e.g. the concrete floors, exposed metal ceiling, and sleek leather furniture) exemplify PUSH as a young and contemporary ad agency. Finally, the artwork taken from the companys print campaigns shows their products, while the shelves of awards illustrate the companys success. The one element lacking from the lobby is the PUSH logo, which was intended to be projected onto the back wall with light. However, with the light temporarily broken, the focal point remains empty and the company name cannot be found. This illustrates how designs relying on hi-tech devices can be impaired by technological failure. Conference Room The conference room is also brightly painted, using a vivid blueberry hue. Originally painted for a client pitch that PUSH won, the company retained the color for good luck. As a result, this color symbolizes the firms history, as well as its success. It

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80 is also a reminder of PUSHs tendency to transform the conference room, personalizing it for each large prospective client. The conference space also contains a few innovative design features. The most prominent are the pendent lights hanging above the conference table. These fixtures, containing adjustable arms that resemble tentacles, are unusual and offbeat. They send a message that the company is fresh and forward-thinking. The other innovative features are the small orange springs located at the base of the conference table legs. While these springs are not terribly obvious, they subtlety represent the companys fun attitude. In terms of functionality, the conference room design appears to be successful. While the table only seats twenty, the low storage cabinets provide extra seating for meetings where the entire PUSH staff is present (for example, Monday morning gatherings). However, some employees are still forced to stand. This problem could be alleviated if the storage cabinets were also added along the rear wall. It is also important to note that the PUSH employees willingness to hop onto the storage cabinets demonstrates their informal approach to business meetings. Workspaces The mostly open plan at PUSH appears to be successful in promoting worker communication. First, it allows employees to easily converse with neighboring employees. Second, the plan allows for impromptu conversations as employees pass by one another. However, there are also a number of enclosed offices. While these spaces are not as likely to encourage impromptu meetings, they still facilitate communication. There are two reasons for this: (1) many of the offices lack doors and (2) employees with doors are willing to leave them open throughout th e day. Therefore, PUSHs successful

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81 communication results from a combination of open design and employees who make themselves accessible. Moreover, the fact that the companys partners leave their doors open throughout the day reveals a great deal about their management style. This communicates to employees that they can approach the partne rs anytime regarding problems both large and small. It also represents the companys non-traditional management style, in contrast to companies where upper-management is hidden and inaccessible. On the other hand, two of the partners have corner offices, a trad itional symbol of hierarchical management. This shows that while the partners are open and approachable, they also maintain a certain level of hierarchy. The workstations themselves are painted in bright hues such as yellow, orange, green, and blue. While the bright colors f ound in the lobby and conference room are used successfully, the workstation colors are not, receiving criticism from some employees. In particular, the yellow color makes certain employees anxious. The reason bright colors work in the lobby and conference room is that these spaces are larger and used for shorter periods of time. In contrast, the workspaces are smaller and employees spend most of their day in these spaces doing tasks that require concentration. As a result, for some workers the bright colors may be overwhelming and distracting. A more successful feature of the PUSH workspace is the opportunity employees have for personalization. While many companies allow workers to post pictures and personal affects, PUSH allows employees to bring in large furniture items, such as the school desk found in one office. This level of flexibility is conducive to creative personalities, allowing employees to imaginatively furnish and decorate their own spaces.

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82 It also provides employees with a sense of freedom, which as stated the KEYS survey, is a stimulant to creativity. Another successful feature found in the workspace zone is the wall devoted to posting current campaign ideas. Since the company has grown larger in recent years, employees arent always aware of what other teams are working on. The wall allows employees to see different projects and provides an opportunity for discussion. From a design perspective, the somewhat haphazardly posted images lend a casual feeling to the space. They show that PUSH isnt a pristine place; it is a creative company with works constantly in progress. It is also important to discuss the changes made to the workspaces over the years as PUSH grew. With numerous employees joining the company, PUSH had to build additional workstations to accommodate this growth. While this solved the issue of where to place employees, it resulted in less space for fun activities. For instance, employees used to frequently play a basketball game called Tippy-Tap. However, this ended after the new workstations were built and the basketball net was relocated to the kitchen. Furthermore, the PUSH office has become even more crowded in recent times, resulting in a greater decline of fun in the workplace. With so many employees crammed into a small space, it is difficult to participate in fun activities without disturbing those nearby. While this does not affect organized fun activities such as Friday Happy Hours, it does impinge on games and other spontaneous methods of fun. The PUSH case study illustrates how important open space is to facilitating impromptu fun activities.

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83 Kitchen Functionally, the kitchen is successful in meeting the needs of PUSH employees. It provides space for preparing and eating lunch, hosting gatherings such as birthday parties, and even serves as an extra meeting area at times. In addition, the space has become a catchall for items needing storage, such as boxes and dry-cleaning. However, the space is aesthetically lacking when compared to the rest of the PUSH office. With white walls and white kitchen cabinets, the space is a sharp contrast to the bright colors found throughout the rest of the building. The kitchen design also lacks details, such as the artwork and unusual light fixtures, found in other parts of the office. It has a back-of-the-house appearance despite its importance as an activity gathering space. One innovative feature of the kitchen design is the row of tequila bottles placed along the top of the cabinets. This is certainly an unusual item to see in a business office, yet it holds a special meaning for employees. It represents the companys fun spirit and tradition of taking shots after large projects are won. Suggestions for Designers Through interviews and on-site observations of the physical environment at PUSH, many successful, as well as a few unsuccessful design features were discovered. Based on these, a list of guidelines was created for businesses and designers who wish to promote fun in the workplace through office design. The suggestions are as follows: (1) open/flexible workspaces, (2) design symbolism and meaning, (3) saturated hues and color contrast, (4) fun details, (5) unusual geometries, (6) areas designated for fun, (7) creative license for employee expression, and (8) novel lighting design.

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84 Open and flexible workspaces can facilitate informal interaction between employees, which can lead to spontaneous acts of fun. At PUSH, the open workstations allow employees to have impromptu conversations as well as participate in unplanned fun activities such as stress ball fights. However, when designing an open or flexible office, it is necessary to provide supplementary private meeting spaces where employees can get away from the noise and activity. Design elements such as color, form, and detail are more successful when they hold some symbolism or meaning for the company. For example, the revolving door at PUSH represents the companys name as well as their goal of pushing boundaries. A fun design for the sake of looking fun lacks the significance that can make it meaningful to employees and clients. Saturated and contrasting colors can be used to enliven an office space, stimulating employees and visitors through their sense of playfulness. For instance, PUSH uses their signature chartreuse green color in the lobby to make a large first impression on visitors. However, designers should be careful not to use saturated colors in excess, particularly in confined workspaces where they may become overwhelming or distracting. Architectural or interior design details that are surprising or whimsical can bring an element of fun to the space. PUSH has one su ch detail in their conference room with the small orange springs at the base of the conference table legs. Elements such as this can help to communicate the uniqueness of a business and spark conversations between employees or visitors. Unusual geometries, such as angles or curves, can be used to create a dynamic atmosphere for employees. These forms can be incorporated into the floorplans, reflected

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85 ceiling plans, and elevations of a space. At PUSH, the fluorescent light fixtures are not placed in a traditional grid pattern, but hung in various angled directions to create a dynamic ceiling plane. Spaces designated for fun activities can encourage employees to have fun, in addition to providing a specific area for the fun to take place. For example, when PUSH had space for a basketball hoop in the workspace area, employees were more likely to play basketball games than when the hoop was squeezed into the kitchen. Employees should also be provided with the opportunity to personalize their own workspaces. This gives them a creative outlet, as well as offering a sense of freedom. Employee expression can also be encouraged in shared workspaces, such as the wall space that PUSH uses to post recent campaign ideas. Innovative methods of lighting, particularly when layered together, can be used to create a dynamic work environment. For example, the tentacle-like pendant fixtures found in the PUSH conference room add a su rprising, yet fun element to the space. However, it is important to keep up with the lighting maintenance, as in the case of the PUSH lobby light, which was broken and never replaced. Suggestions for Further Research The narrative method was an excellent tool for expressing the composite relationships between all six components of the workplace fun model. In addition to exploring complex relationships, the narrative method was also able to gather a unique collection of data. Because the interviews aime d to collect information that would lead to writing a descriptive narrative, they produced a level of specificity and detail, as well as tapping into emotions and behaviors that would not be otherwise gathered.

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86 As a result, this study supports further research using the narrative method. First, it would be informative to examine PUSH in the future to see what changes take place as the company matures. Furthermore, it would be useful to conduct similar studies looking at other creative businesses, perhaps in other fields such as architecture or graphic design. This would show the variation between different companies and how they implement fun in the workplace from an environment-behavior perspective. Since this is a single case study examining only one business, it would be valuable to examine the model for workplace fun on a larger scale and in a more quantitative manner. By examining each of the factors in greater detail, the following questions can be answered: Are there specific employee characteristics that are correlated to workplace fun (e.g. age, gender, education)? Is there a correlation between certain design features and fun in the workplace (e.g. open plan vs. closed plan, bright colors vs. neutral colors, number of sq. ft. per employee)? Can certain management styles and procedures increase the amount of fun in the workplace? Also, are outcomes such as creativity, job satisfaction, or productivity linked to fun in the workplace? Conclusion The findings at PUSH support a multi-dimensional model of fun in the workplace. Worker characteristics, management style, and the physical work setting are all related to fun in the workplace at PUSH, while high creativity and job satisfaction levels are found as well. Combining all of these components, the narrative Pushing the Boundaries of Work and Play provides a true account of fun in the workplace as employees prepare for a pitch with a large prospective client. In particular, the story reflects the role of office design in supporting workplace fun and helping to secure a major client account, as well as how this relates to employee creativity and job satisfaction.

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87 In sum, PUSH provides an excellent model for researching fun in the workplace and how it relates to office design, employee creativity, and job satisfaction. Yet, given the lack of empirical research on the subject, this study merely scratches the surface. A great deal of additional research is needed to gain a better understanding of workplace fun and its possible benefits for employees and businesses. Nevertheless, this study shows fun in the workplace to be a promising concept and supports the need for further research on the subject.

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APPENDIX A PARTICIPATION REQUEST LETTER March 14, 2005 Chris Robb PUSH 101 Ernestine Street Orlando, FL 32801 Dear Mr. Robb: As a Masters student at the University of Florid a, I am conducting a study on the role of interior design in promoting employee creativity and job satis faction. My research will be carried out through a case study, consisting of interviews, observations, and standardized tests. As your workplace has been recognized as one of Floridas top advertising fi rms, I would like to request your participation in this study. Why do I want to profile your firm? First of all, Im looking for a highly creative business. As an award-winning advertising firm, creativity is require d for your success. Secondly, the office must have received recognition for exceptional workplace desi gn. Your office was prominently featured in The Inspired Workplace: Interior Designs for Creativity and Productivity Lastly, I require a business located in Central Florida, such as yours. How much time will you need to commit to this? Interviews will be conducted with three to five employees, each lasting between 30 minutes to an hour. Standardized tests for creativity and job satisfaction will be distributed to the entire office, requiring just 25-30 minutes for both tests. Finally, observations will take place over the course of a day or two, requiring no assistance from you. Are there any benefits for you? Yes. All of the results from this study will be shared with you. In particular, you will receive an overall profile of your employees job satisfaction and creativity, compared with national averages. Furthermore, the results of this study may be submitted for publication in a prominent interior design journal, with your consent, promoting your business as a national model for creative office design. As one of the few offices in Central Florida meeti ng all of my criteria, your participation in this research project would be invaluable to me. I will c ontact you within the week to discuss the details of my project and answer any questions that you might have. Thank you for your time. Sincerely, Alexandra Miller Margaret Portillo, Ph.D. Department Chair 88

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APPENDIX B INTERVIEW QUESTIONS Standard Interview Questions 1. What is your position? What are your primary responsibilities? What is your length of employment at PUSH? Describe your career path. 2. What adjectives would you used to describe your workplace? Orientation: Im conducting a study on the role of interior design in creating a fun work environment. The goal of this study is to produce a short narrative, or story, exploring what its like to work in a fun office environment. So the more stories you can tell and the more detail you can get into, the better. The first part of this interview will ask some general questions about workplace fun, then about specific occurrences at PUSH. For the second part, I will show you some photographs of the office to get your opinions on the office design. The third section asks some comparative questions. For the final section, I would like to hear some specific stories about your experiences working at PUSH. 3. How would you define fun in the workplace? 4. What are the benefits of workplace fun? 5. How do you balance fun and workplace productivity? 6. Do you feel all organizations should incorporate fun into the workplace? Core Values: Have fun. Fun plays a key role in the success of any business. Smile a little more. Talk a little more. Spend more time together discussing what makes you feel good about the job youre doing. If youre having fun the work will be that much better. 7. How well do you feel this part of the mission statement is realized at PUSH? 8. Can you provide a specific example? 9. What is the most notable fun activity that you have participated in at work? Photographs: I will now show you a set of photographs taken of the PUSH office and have you respond to these. 10. Where do fun activities take place in this space? 89

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90 11. Which spaces work well? Which spaces dont? 12. How do you feel about the overall design of the office? 13. How do you think this office design compares to competitors? 14. How does this office design compare to other offices youve worked at? 15. What are clients reactions when seeing the office for the first time? 16. When moving into your new office, what aspects of the design would you want to retain? What do you think could be improved? 17. Do you think the new office should be more fun, less fun, or stay the same? Why? 18. Can you trace the development of a specific project at PUSH, including the problems you encountered and how you overcame them? 19. Is there anything else that you would like to share?

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91 Management Interview Questions 1. What is your position? What are your primary responsibilities? What is your length of employment at PUSH? Describe your career path. 2. What adjectives would you used to describe your workplace? Orientation: Im conducting a study on the role of interior design in creating a fun work environment. The goal of this study is to produce a short narrative, or story, exploring what its like to work in a fun office environment. So the more stories you can tell and the more detail you can get into, the better. The first part of this interview asks some general questions about workplace fun. The second part deals with specific occurrences at PUSH. For the third part, I will ask some questions regarding management. The final section asks comparative questions. 3. How would you define fun in the workplace? 4. What are the benefits of workplace fun? 5. How do you balance fun and workplace productivity? 6. Do you feel all organizations should incorporate fun into the workplace? Core Values: Have fun. Fun plays a key role in the success of any business. Smile a little more. Talk a little more. Spend more time together discussing what makes you feel good about the job youre doing. If youre having fun the work will be that much better. 7. What methods do you use to encourage a fun work atmosphere? 8. Do you believe office design plays a role in promoting fun? Why or why not? 9. What image do you think the office design projects to employees? 10. What image do you think the office design projects to clients? 11. How are employees motivated to be productive at PUSH? Are there any incentives? 12. What is the organizational structure at PUSH? How does this compare to other advertising firms? 13. How would you describe the corporate culture at PUSH? 14. How would you describe your personal management style? 15. Do you feel this office design reflects the management style and structure? Why or why not?

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92 16. How do you think this office design compares to competitors? 17. How does this office design compare to other offices youve worked at? 18. When moving into your new office, what aspects of the design would you want to retain? What do you think could be improved? 19. Do you think the new office should be more fun, less fun, or stay the same? Why? 20. Can you trace the development of a specific project at PUSH, including the problems you encountered and how you overcame them? Details, dates 21. Is there anything else that you would like to share?

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LIST OF REFERENCES Amabile, T. M. (1997). Motivating creativity in organizations: On doing what you love and loving what you do. California Management Review, 40 (1) 39-58. Amabile, T. M., Burnside, R. M., Gryskiewicz, S. S. (1999). Users manual for KEYS Assessing the Climate for Creativity: A survey from the Center of Creative Leadership. Greensboro, NC: Center for Creative Leadership. Amabile, T. M., Conti, R., Coon, H. Lazenby, J., & Herron, M. (1996). Assessing the work environment for creativity. Academy of Management Journal 39, 1154-1184. Balzer, W. K., Kihm, J. A., Smith, P. C., Irwin, J. L., Bachiochi, P. D., Robie, C., Sinar, E. F., & Parra, L. F. (2000). Users manual for the Job Descriptive Index (JDI; 1997 version) and the Job in General Scales. In J. M. Stanton and C. D. Crossley (Eds.), Electronic resources for the JD I and JIG. Bowling Green, OH: Bowling Green State University. Blanchard, K., & Cheska, A. (1985). The anthropology of sport: An introduction. South Hadley, Massachusetts: Bergin & Garvey Publisher, Inc. Butler, C. (1999). Seriously silly. Business Week, 3646 14. Danko, S. (2000). Beneath the surface: A story of leadership, recruitment, and the hidden dimensions of strategic workplace design. Journal of Interior Design 26(2) 1-24. Denning, S. (2004). Telling tales. Harvard Business Review 82(5) 122-129. Eagly, A. H., & Chaiken S. (1993). The psychology of attitudes. Fort Worth, TX: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich College Publications. Employers stress workplace fun. (1999). National Underwriter Property & Casualty-Risk & Benefits Management 103(22) 25. The Evans Group website. (2005). Project: PUSH corporate headquarters, Orlando Florida Retrieved June 10, 2005, from http://www.theevansgroup.com/ Ford, C., McLaughlin, F., & Newstrom, J. (2003). Questions and answers about fun at work. Human Resource Planning 26(4) 18-33. Gifford, R. (2002). Environmental psychology: Principles and practice. Canada: Optimal Books. 93

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94 Ganoe, C. J. (1999). Design as narrative: a theory of inhabiting interior space. Journal of Interior Design 25(2) 1-15. Hecker, D. (1999). Work more, earn more? How hours of work affect occupational earnings. Occupational Outlook Quarterly 43(1), 11-23. Isen, A. M., Daubman, K. A., & Nowicki, G. P. (1987). Positive affect facilitates creative problem solving. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 52(6) 1122-1131. Johannessen, J-A., Olsen, B., & Lumpkin G. T. (2001). Innovation as newness: what is new, how is new, and new to whom? European Journal of Innovation Management 2(1) 6-11. Laabs, J. (2000). Work spaces for the facility frustrated. Workforce, 79, 26-27. Leonard, D., & Swap, W. (1999). When sparks fly: igniting creativity in groups. Boston: Harvard Business School Press. Mariotti, J. (1999). A company that plays together stays together. Industry Week 248(6) 63. Mayfield, M., & Mayfield, J. (2004). The effects of leader communication on worker innovation. American Business Review 22(2) 46-51. McGhee, P. (2000). The key to stress management, retention, & profitability? More workplace fun. HR Focus 77(9) 5-6. Meyer, H. (1999). Fun for everyone. Journal of Business Strategy, 20(2) 13-17. Morrison, R. (2004). Informal relationships in the workplace: associations with job satisfaction, organisational commitment and turnover intentions. New Zealand Journal of Psychology 33(3) 114-128. Oleck, J., & Prasso, S. (2001). Casual dress: dot-com casualty. Business Week, 3724, 8. Orlando Advertising Federation website (2005). The ADDY awards Retrieved August 2, 2005, from http://www.oaf.com/addys.shtm Ovid Technologies. (2004). Mental Measurements Yearbook. Retrieved December 14, 2004, from http://gateway.ovid.com/autologin.html Portillo, M. (2000). Narrative inquiry. Journal of Interior Design 26(2) iv-v. PUSH website (2005). Business. Retrieved June 10, 2005, from http://www.pushhere.com/ Rieber, L. P. (1996). Seriously consider ing play: Designing interactive learning environments based on the blending of microworlds, simulations, and games. Educational Technology Research & Development 44(2) 43-58.

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95 Riessman, C. K. (1993). Narrative analysis. London: Sage Publications. Stokols, D., Clitheroe, C., & Zmuidzinas, M. (2002). Qualities of work environments that promote perceived support for creativity. Creativity Research Journal 14, 137-147. United States Census Bureau. (2004). Statistical abstracts of the United States: 20042005. Washington D.C.: Government Printing Office. U.S. job satisfaction keeps falling. (2005). Work and Family Newsbrief April 3-4. Van Meel, J., & Vos, P. (2001). Funky offices: Reflections on office design in the new economy. Journal of Corporate Real Estate, 3 4. Van Saane, N., Sluiter, J. K., Verbeek, J. H. A. M., & Frings-Dresen, M. H. W. (2003). Reliability and validity of instruments measuring job satisfactiona systematic review. Occupational Medicine 53, 191-200. Wetlaufer, S. (1997). Whats stifling the creativity at Coolburst? Harvard Business Review, 75(5) 36-48. Wineman, J. D. ed. (1986). Behavioral issues in office design New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company. Wise, T. D. (2003). The creative imperative model: A four-quadrant approach to the categorization of industries and firms by types of creativity demanded. Journal of Creative Behavior 37(4) 224-265. Work & Family Connection, Inc. (2005). U.S. job satisfaction keeps falling. Work and Family Newsbrief, April 3-4. Zelinsky, M. (2002). The inspired workspace: interior designs for creativity and productivity. Gloucester, MA: Rockport Publishers.

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96 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Alexandra Miller entered the University of Florida in 2000 to pursue a degree in interior design. During her undergraduate education, she participated in a study-abroad program, spending 6 weeks in Vicenza, Italy. She also won third place in the 2003 Gini Pettus Portfolio Awards, which recognized the outstanding incorporation of art into an interior design project. Alexandra graduated with high honors, receiving a Bachelor of Design in Interior Design in 2004. After receiving her masters degree, she plans to join a commercial design firm in the Atlanta area, specializing in corporate interiors.


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Title: Fun in the Workplace: Toward an Environment-Behavior Framework Relating Office Design, Employee Creativity, and Job Satisfaction
Physical Description: Mixed Material
Copyright Date: 2008

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Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
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FUN IN THE WORKPLACE: TOWARD AN ENVIRONMENT-BEHAVIOR
FRAMEWORK RELATING OFFICE DESIGN, EMPLOYEE CREATIVITY, AND
JOB SATISFACTION















By

ALEXANDRA M. MILLER


A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF INTERIOR DESIGN

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


2005





























Copyright 2005

by

Alexandra M. Miller















ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

First, I would like to thank my committee chair, Dr. Margaret Portillo, for her

direction and guidance throughout the entire research process. I would also like to thank

Dr. M. Joyce Hasell for her support and valuable expertise. Additional thanks go to Dr.

Larry Winner for his indispensable assistance as a statistical consultant.

I would also like to thank PUSH for providing an excellent example of a fun

workplace. In particular, I would like to thank partners John Ludwig, Chris Robb, and

Rich Wahl for allowing me to conduct a case study of their business. Additional thanks

go to Ron Boucher, Jourdan Crumpler, and Gordon Weller for taking the time to

participate in interviews.

I would also like to express my gratitude to Kathryn Voorhees for her help, humor,

and friendship as she accompanied me throughout the research process. Finally, I would

like to thank all of my friends and family for their support. In particular, I would like to

thank to my parents for their constant support and for helping me to achieve my dreams.
















TABLE OF CONTENTS

page

A C K N O W L E D G M E N T S ......... ................................................................................... iii

LIST OF TABLES ........ ............ .......... ............. .............. ........ vii

LIST O F FIG U R E S ........ ........ .............. .. ........... ............... ..... viii

ABSTRACT ........ .............. ............. ..... .......... .......... ix

CHAPTER

1 IN TR O D U C T IO N ............................................................. .. ......... ...... .....

P u rp o se ...................................................... .......................... 2
A ssu m option s ............................................................................ 4
S ig n ifican ce ....................................................... 4
D elim stations ................................................................................................. ..... ... 6
R research Questions .................. ................................ .. ...... ................ .6
C o n clu sio n ................................................................................................... . 7

2 L IT E R A TU R E R E V IE W .................................................................... ....................8

Theoretical B background .....8.......... ... .......... .................. ... 8
Fun in the Workplace (Worker-Environment Interaction) ................. ................10
P hy sical W ork Setting ............................. .................... .. .. ....... .... ............12
W worker C characteristics ...................... .................... .................. ....... 14
M anagem ent Style ................................... .. ... ...... ....... ..... 14
O utcom es .............. ......................................................................... ...... 15
C reativ ity ....................................................... 15
Job Satisfaction ............. ..... ............................................................... ......... 18
C on clu sion ................................ ................................................................2 0

3 M E T H O D S ............................................................................................................ 2 1

R e se arch D e sig n .................................................................................................... 2 1
Case Selection ................ .......... ..................... 22
In stru m e n ts ............................................................................................................ 2 4
P re fa c e ............................................................................................................ 2 4
Job in G general ..................................... .......... ........................ ......... .. .. 24









KEYS: Assessing the Climate for Creativity.......................................25
Development of Interview Protocol............... .....................................26
P ro c e d u re s ............. ......... .. .. ......... ....................................................2 7
Standardized Tests ................ ............ ............. .. ........ .. .. .......... ..... 27
O b serve nations ........... ................................................................ .............. 29
P h o to g rap h y ............. .. ....... .. .. ......... .. ..........................................3 0
In terv iew s ................................................................ 3 0
A analysis ......... ............. ........................................................ ..................... 31
L im stations ...................... ............. .. .................................... 33
C onclu sion ...................... .... ......... .. ....................................33

4 F IN D IN G S ............. .. ....... .... ......... ..................................................... 3 4

The Social Environment at PUSH ............. ................ ...............................34
Com pany Profile................................................. 34
Employee Demographics........................................... ...............35
C reativ ity ....................................................... 3 7
Job Satisfaction .............. ....... ...... ......................39
Workplace Fun ............................ ....................40
The Physical Environment at PUSH ............................................................43
E n try /L o b b y ............. .. ....... .. .. ......... .. ..........................................4 5
Conference Room ...................... ................................ ...............48
W orkspaces ............................................. 49
K itc h e n ................................................................5 3

5 N A R R A T IV E ....................................................... 56

O orientation to N narrative ....................... .. .............................................. ........56
Pushing the Boundaries of Work and Play .............. .......................... ...... 56
In te rp retatio n ..............................................................................................6 0
C o n c lu sio n ......................................................................................................6 4

6 D ISC U S SIO N ............................................................................... 66

The Social Environm ent at PU SH ................................................... .. ... .......... 67
C om pany P rofile............. .......................................................... .......... ... 67
Em ployee D em ographics.......................................................... ............... 67
C reativ ity ....................................................... 6 9
Job Satisfaction ................................................................. .. .......... .. ... 73
W workplace F un ................ .......................................................... .. ....... .... 76
The Physical Environm ent at PU SH ..................................... .................................... 78
E n try /L o b b y ................................................................................................... 7 9
Conference R oom ............................................. .. ...... .................. 79
W orkspaces ............................................. 80
K kitchen ....................... .... .. ................ ...................... . .... 83
Suggestions for D designers .................................................................................. 83
Suggestions for Further R esearch.................................................................. ......85



v









C o n c lu sio n ...................................... ................................. ................ 8 6

APPENDIX

A PARTICIPATION REQUEST LETTER................. ..............................................88

B IN TER V IEW Q U E STIO N S ............................................................ .....................89

Standard Interview Q uestions......................................................... ................ 89
M anagem ent Interview Questions ........................................ ......................... 91

L IST O F R E FE R E N C E S ..................................................................... ..... ...................93

B IO G R A PH IC A L SK E TCH ..................................................................... ..................96
















LIST OF TABLES

Table p

4-1. Normative KEYS data for PUSH ............... ............................. 37

4-2. Creativity subscale scores by individual item ................................. ................ 38

4-3. N orm active JIG data for PU SH ...................................................... ..................40

4-4 Fun activities at PU SH ..................................................................... ....................42
















LIST OF FIGURES

Figure page

2-1. Model for workplace environmental psychology .......... .......................................8

2-2. M odel for fun in the workplace ....................................................................9

3-1. Fun in the workplace model, showing methods ............................... ............... 28

4-1. E m ployee education levels ........................................ ...........................................36

4-2 E m ployee fields of study ........................................ .............................................36

4-3. Creativity subscale scores by individual item ............. .......... .. ........... ........ 39

4-4. Exterior of building .......... .. .... ...... ........ ............ .. ............ 43

4 -5 F lo o rp lan ....................................................... ................ 4 4

4-6. O office design ..................................................... ........ ...... 45

4-7. L obby space ............ ... .. ...... ............. ........................................46

4-8. Reception desk................... .. ...................................47

4-9. A additional lobby features ........................................ ............................................48

4-10. Conference room ..................................... .. .. ........ .. ............49

4-11. Open w orkspaces ....... ...................................... .... ..................... 50

4-12. Private office............... .. ... ........................ ... .. 51

4-13. W all displaying current campaign ideas........................................ ............... 52

4-14. W orkspace before and after renovation......................................... ............... 53

4 -1 5 K itch en ................................. ............................................................ ............... 5 4

4-16. Collection of empty tequila bottles displayed in the kitchen.................................54





viii















Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Interior Design

FUN IN THE WORKPLACE: TOWARD AN ENVIRONMENT-BEHAVIOR
FRAMEWORK RELATING OFFICE DESIGN, EMPLOYEE CREATIVITY, AND
JOB SATISFACTION

By

Alexandra M. Miller

December 2005

Chair: Margaret Portillo
Major Department: Interior Design

This study explored the role of office design in creating a "fun" work environment

with the aim of improving creativity and job satisfaction. Moreover, this study tested an

empirical framework of fun in the workplace. This framework was explored through a

narrative case study examining PUSH, an advertising agency located in Orlando, Florida.

PUSH was selected for this research based on their explicit inclusion of fun as a goal in

their core values, recognition for their innovative office design, and their success as an

award-winning advertising firm.

PUSH was comprehensively investigated in three stages. First, employees

completed standardized tests for creativity, job satisfaction, and demographics to create

an in-depth profile of those who worked in the organization. Second, the workplace was

photographed and observed to understand the role of the physical environment. Third,

interviews and on-site observations took place to capture processes relating to fun in the









workplace. Then, combining data from all three stages, a narrative was created that

explored employees' perceptions and experiences of fun at work.

Findings supported a multi-dimensional model of fun in the workplace. Worker

characteristics, management style, and the physical work setting were all related to fun in

the workplace at PUSH, where high creativity and job satisfaction levels were also found.

Combining all of these components, the narrative "Pushing the Boundaries of Work and

Play" provided a true account of fun in the workplace as employees prepared for a pitch

with a large prospective client. In particular, the story reflected the role of office design

in supporting workplace fun; and showed how this related to employee creativity and job

satisfaction.

In sum, PUSH advertising agency provided an excellent model for fun in the

workplace and how it related to office design, employee creativity, and job satisfaction.

Given the lack of empirical research on the subject, a great deal of additional research is

needed to gain a better understanding of workplace fun and its possible benefits for

employees and businesses. Nevertheless, this study shows fun in the workplace to be a

promising concept and supports the need for further research on the subject.














CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION

Imagine walking into an office where instead of sitting calmly at their desks,

employees are playing miniature golf and shooting rubber bands at one another. Imagine

employees returning from meetings to find their doors glued shut or sealed off by a web

of hot-glue-gun strands. These may not sound like the workings of a successful and

productive business; but in fact, they are. This is the home of IDEO, located in Palo

Alto, California, one of the world's leading product-design companies. IDEO has created

such famed products as the Apple computer mouse, Palm V handheld organizer, and

Crest Neat Squeeze toothpaste tube. David Kelley, CEO and founder, believes that the

company's fun work environment is key in fostering its high level of innovation (Butler,

1999).

Does the interior design of an office have a significant impact on the employees

inhabiting the space? Many businesses are willing to turn to office design as a way of

improving factors such as employee satisfaction, performance, recruitment, and retention

(Laabs, 2000). As evidenced at IDEO, a recent trend in office design is the incorporation

of "fun" into the workplace. This is evident in growing numbers of offices with features

such as ping-pong tables, video games, and indoor golf greens.

However, these offices are not just limited to the West Coast. Prominent

companies such as Lands' End, Gymboree, and MicroStrategy all subscribe to the ideas

of a fun work environment (Meyer, 1999). Companies such as these believe that a fun

workplace may improve employee morale, communication, performance, recruitment,









and retention (Ford, McLaughlin, & Newstrom, 2003). Despite all of these suggested

benefits, few studies have examined the role of interior design in promoting an

environment that supports workplace fun.

Purpose

This study explored the role of office design in creating a "fun" work

environment with the aim of improving creativity and job satisfaction. This was explored

through a narrative case study examining PUSH, an advertising agency located in

Orlando, Florida. PUSH was selected for this research based on their explicit inclusion

of fun as a goal in their core values (PUSH website, 2005), their recognition for

innovative office design (Zelinsky, 2002), and their success as an award-winning

advertising firm (Orlando Advertising Federation website, 2005). An in-depth

investigation of PUSH involved interviews with four key employees, standardized

instruments, photographs, and on-site observations. End results of this study were a

profile of PUSH that examined the social and physical environment and a narrative

capturing employees' first-hand experiences working in an office environment designed

to embrace fun.

Key variables in this study were creativity and job satisfaction. Creativity was

defined as the "production of novel and useful ideas and things" (Amabile, Burnside, &

Gryskiewicz, 1999, p.1). This is different from innovation, defined as the "successful

implementation of creative ideas by an organization" (Amabile et al., 1999, p.1). Job

satisfaction was defined as "the feelings a worker has about his or her job or job

experiences in relation to previous experiences, current expectations, or available

alternatives" (Balzer, Kihm, Smith, Irwin, Bachiochi, Robie, Sinar, & Para, 2000, p. 7).









For the purpose of this study, workplace fun was defined as follows: "A fun work

environment intentionally encourages, initiates, and supports a variety of enjoyable and

pleasurable activities that positively impact the attitude and productivity of individuals

and groups." Simply put, a fun workplace may be defined as "a work environment that

makes people smile" (Ford et al., 2003, p. 22).

Companies can realize workplace fun in a wide variety of ways. Ford (2003)

divides these activities into ten categories: recognition for personal milestones, social

events, public celebrations of professional achievements, opportunities for civic

volunteerism, stress-release activities, humor, games, friendly competitions, opportunities

for personal development, and entertainment. This study explored how the physical

environment relates to these social dimensions of fun in the workplace.

Work-related attitudes were evaluated through a measure of self-reported job

satisfaction. Instead of defining productivity as the traditional "output per hour of labor"

(United States Census Bureau, 2004), this study evaluated more qualitative aspects of

productivity. Since this study focused on the inventive field of advertising, productivity

was evaluated through a self-reported measure of the creative environment (a factor that

is critical to success in this profession).

The experience of fun in the workplace was explored through the narrative method,

also known as storytelling. The narrative method is particularly valuable, as it was

recently recognized in the interior design field as an excellent tool for understanding

human perceptions of the physical environment. "With its ability to capture the myriad

voices of end-users, clients, and designers, narrative inquiry is uniquely suited to tapping

into the reservoir of practitioner knowledge in interior design" (Portillo, 2000, p. iv).









This ability to recognize multiple perspectives is one of the largest benefits of narrative

inquiry.

Assumptions

A number of assumptions underlie this study. First, the researcher assumed that

PUSH exemplifies a fun work environment. This assumption was based on (1) the

inclusion of fun as a goal in the company's published core values; (2) the company's

website, which contains features that most would consider fun (i.e., photographs of

employee's heads pasted on silly bodies, and a video clip of employees playing with hand

puppets); and (3) their playful office environment, which features vibrant colors, bold

artwork, and even a basketball hoop.

Second, it is assumed that all data were collected under normal working conditions

at PUSH, without any extraneous circumstances affecting the employees. For example, if

the business had recently laid off a large number of employees, or if employees had an

unusually large workload, this might negatively impact employee morale. Similarly, if

employees had just received their annual bonus checks, employee moral might be higher

than during normal pay periods.

Third, this study assumed that employees provided truthful and accurate answers

when completing questionnaires concerning self-perceptions of creativity and job

satisfaction. It is also assumed that during interviews employees provided accurate

accounts of their workplace experiences.

Significance

Fun in the workplace is a relatively new concept. While numerous articles in the

popular press suggest the importance of fun at work for improving employee morale and

productivity (Mariotti, 1999, McGhee, 2000, Meyer, 1999), there is little empirical









knowledge on the subject. Ford and colleagues (2003) conducted what might be the most

extensive research to date on "what a fun work environment is, its component

characteristics, and its advantages for employees, work teams and organizations (p. 18)."

While they examined the perceived social outcomes of fun, they failed to consider the

factors that may be used to stimulate fun, such as the physical environment.

This precedent study will examine the impact of office design on promoting fun

in the workplace. Since more time and resources may be required to create a fun and

innovative environment, it will be informative to know if benefits outweigh any extra

costs. Knowledge gained through this study will be useful to architects and interior

designers creating offices aimed at promoting fun.

In addition to helping designers, this study will also benefit business owners.

Factors such as job satisfaction, creativity, and productivity are essential considerations

in business. They can have a large impact on the success and profitability of an

organization. Thus, if the design of an office can promote workplace fun and

consequently affect these factors, this knowledge will be valuable for employers. It may

allow them to produce happier, more creative employees and more productive businesses.

Finally, this study is important because of the long hours that many employees

spend in their workplaces. Business owner John Mariotti (1999) states, "Social

interaction with people from work often can occupy more of our waking lives than any

other activity- even time spent with spouses and children" (p. 63).

In 2002, executive, administrative, and managerial workers averaged 40 hours per

week. Administrative support workers averaged 36.4 hours. In total, white-collar

workers in the United States averaged 36.1 hours per week (United States Census









Bureau, 2004). This means that with a traditional 5-day workweek, the average worker

spends approximately 7.2 hours a day working.

Employees in the advertising field often exceed this average, working on tight

deadlines to produce creative products (Hecker, 1999). This adds up to a substantial

amount of time spent in office environments. Therefore, it is important to study ways of

creating more enjoyable atmospheres for office workers.

Delimitations

PUSH, an advertising agency located in Orlando, Florida is the only business that

was investigated. While it would be valuable to examine a larger number of firms, this

does not fall within the scope of this master's research. Therefore, one business was

studied comprehensively.

Participants consisted of the 42 employees currently working at PUSH. Data was

based on 35 workers' self-reported assessments of job satisfaction and perceived

environmental support for creativity. Interviews also tapped into four employees'

perceptions of the work environment.

Research Questions

With the lack of empirical knowledge regarding fun in the workplace, this study

attempted to gain a better understanding through a case study of PUSH advertising

agency, an exceptionally fun business. By creating a detailed profile of the business and

examining the physical environment, this study hoped to discover how one real-life

company implements fun in the workplace.

This study asks the following research questions: Does fun in the workplace have

any effect on employee perceptions of creativity and job satisfaction? How does office

design relate to fun in the workplace and what experience does this create for employees?









Also, what impact do individual characteristics and management style have on workplace

fun?

Conclusion

A number of successful companies subscribe to the idea that having fun at work

can improve factors such as employee satisfaction, performance, creativity, and retention.

However, there is little empirical research on the subject. As a result, this study

investigated the role of interior design in promoting workplace fun, targeted at improving

creativity and job satisfaction. A case study of the advertising agency PUSH was

conducted through interviews, standardized tests, photography, and on-site observations.

The end product of this study was a detailed profile of the business, including creativity

and job satisfaction, as well as a narrative account of employees' experiences

demonstrating workplace fun.



















CHAPTER 2
LITERATURE REVIEW


Theoretical Background


Gifford (2002) proposes a theoretical framework for the study of the workplace,


using an environment-behavior model (Figure 2-1). In this model, he identifies six main


components: physical work setting, worker characteristics, work policies, worker-


environment interaction, psychological processes, and outcomes. The framework is


centered on worker-environment interaction, with three factors contributing to it


(physical work setting, worker characteristics, and work policies) and two factors


resulting from it (psychological process leading to a series of outcomes).


Physical Work Setting
For example:
Fixed or shifting
Quality of materials
Noise, temperature,
light, density,
privacy



Worker Characteristics Worker-Environment Psychological Process Outcomes
For example: Interaction For example: For example:
Experience For example: Arousal Stress
Job Level Congruence Personal Control Health
Personality Meaning Adaptation Effect Performance


* Ability
* Motivation


* Overload
* Affect


* Satisfaction
* Interpersonal
Relations


Work Policies
For example:
Rules
Incentives
Management style



Figure 2-1. Model for workplace environmental psychology (Gifford, 2002, p. 339)










With the numerous factors that come together to make up a workplace, this model

identifies and organizes them into a comprehensive framework through environment-

behavior interaction. Gifford's model serves as the basis for this research, guiding the

methodology for the present study. Therefore, each of the six categories is further

addressed in the literature review.

Gifford's framework was then adapted to serve as a model for this study of

workplace fun (Figure 2-2). In this model, individual worker characteristics, physical

work setting, and management style all affect worker-environment interaction. However,

in this model, worker-environment interaction is specifically defined as fun in the

workplace. This fun then influences creativity, based on Amabile's 1997 Componential

Theory of Creativity, which combines expertise, creative thinking skills, and intrinsic

motivation. The final outcomes are creative products, job satisfaction, and productivity.


Physical Work
Setting
Function
Design
Social Climate



Worker Creativity Outcomes
Characteristics Expertise Creative Product
Age FUN IN THE Creative thinking Job Satisfaction
Gender T skills Productivity
Education WORKPLACE Intrinsic
Department motivation
Job Level




Management Style



Figure 2-2. Model for fun in the workplace, adapted from Gifford (2002) and Amabile
(1997)









Fun in the Workplace (Worker-Environment Interaction)

The concept of fun in the workplace began in Silicone Valley during the dot-cor

era of the nineties when start-up companies, replete with technology-driven employees

just out of college, began to create a new corporate culture (van Meel & Vos, 2001).

While spending 80 plus hours a week at work, employees began changing the office

environment to suit their needs. They began making it a place for not only work, but also

leisure activities. Pool tables, golf greens, beanbag chairs, and other fun items were

incorporated into the office environment to offset the long hours at work.

The physical environment was not the only characteristic that dot-com companies

changed. Employees began dressing casual, not just on Fridays, but everyday (Oleck &

Prasso, 2001). The whole atmosphere took on a fun, youthful spirit at these dot-com

companies. Business became less associated with work and more related to play (van

Meel & Vos, 2001).

While the dot-com era has undergone changes, the idea of making work fun has

remained in some sectors. Meyer (1999) asserts that a growing number of U.S.

companies are incorporating fun into the workplace in order to boost employee morale,

communication, recruitment and retention. A handful of businesses are examined by

Meyer, focusing on how they implement fun and the benefits they have received. For

example, Massachusetts PR firm Schwartz Communications features ping-pong tables,

dartboards, video games and "Thank God it's Thursday" parties where employees drink

beer and eat pizza. This fun atmosphere has been credited for the company's low 12%

turnover rate, one third of the industry's average.

Some may find the idea of playing games at work to be surprising, as work and

play are generally considered opposites; however, this idea can be misleading. Blanchard









and Cheska (1985) use four general attributes to define play: voluntary, intrinsically

motivated, involving active engagement, and having a make-believe quality. They

maintain that the opposite of work is leisure, while work has the potential to be

considered play. Furthermore, extensive research on play asserts that it is an important

mediator for learning and socialization (Rieber, 1996).

Yet, fun in the workplace is not a panacea. Fun cannot compensate for poor

managers, a lack of resources, or a number of other significant problems. Furthermore,

clients may not take such unorthodox companies into consideration as serious enterprises,

choosing to hire more traditional companies instead. Employees as well may think twice

before working for such an unconventional company. Finally, businesses must consider

the additional worker downtime in which no money is being made. In spite of all this,

Meyer maintains that the benefits of a fun work environment outweigh the risks.

Ford, McLaughlin, and Newstrom (2003) conducted an e-mail survey of 527

human resource managers to learn about fun at work. The most common ways of

promoting fun were found to be casual dress days, recognition for employee

achievements, and gatherings involving food and beverages. Managers believed that fun

at work can lead to improved employee recruitment, lower turnover rates, less

absenteeism, more communication and commitment, improved organizational culture,

and greater customer satisfaction. However, most managers believed that their

employees were not having as much fun at work as they should. Overall, the human

resource managers surveyed were strongly in favor of promoting fun at work.

A limitation of the Ford, McLaughlin, and Newstrom study is that it is conducted

solely through surveys. It relies on self-reported answers, without the verification of on-









site assessments. The study is also limited by focusing on the opinions of human

resource managers, not the majority of lower-level employees who may have different

views on fun in the workplace.

With all of the recent attention on having fun at work, the question arises- will fun

become a permanent objective for businesses, or is it merely a trend? For example, the

dot-com inspired trend of casual dressing has met a recent backlash. With 34% of 3,500

executives polled blaming sloppy dressers for crossing the line, some companies are now

returning to more formal business attire (Oleck & Prasso, 2001). This raises the

question- will the concept of fun in the workplace meet a similar fate?

Physical Work Setting

Since the 1950s, one ideal advanced by the International style movement was the

high-rise office expressed in glass, steel, and concrete, designed to impress clients and

passersby. Lobbies were filled with marble and rich wood and executives were placed in

high-up corer offices (van Meel & Vos, 2001). This style transcended borders, as a way

for businesses to demonstrate their success, stability, and power.

However, with today's ideas of fun in the workplace, certain companies no longer

want to express themselves in such a traditional and hierarchical way. While the

executives of the past were seen sitting at large mahogany desks, conveying the

appearance of security and reliability, this is no longer true for all. One venue of today's

successful managers seeks to express individuality and a sense of humor through office

design. The office environments of such professionals may display an unconventional

prop, perhaps a snowboard hung from the ceiling, expressing their personal interests and

making them more approachable (van Meel & Vos 2001).









According to a study by Hixson (Laabs, 2000), a Cincinnati-based Design,

Architecture, and Engineering firm, many managers are unsatisfied with their office

facilities. The study surveyed over 650 managers of Fortune 1000 and dot-com

companies. When evaluating the impact of their workplaces on productivity and business

objectives, 72% gave their space a grade of C or lower. The managers held that

employee productivity, satisfaction, recruitment, retention, and teamwork could be aided

through improved workspaces. In fact, 61% said they would be willing to reduce

employee benefits by 50% to improve office spaces.

This may be a worthwhile investment when considering life cycle costs of the

workplace. Wineman (1986) states that over the 40-year life cycle of an office facility, 2

to 3% is spent on initial costs, 6 to 8% is spent on maintenance, and 90 to 92% is spent on

employee salaries and benefits. Further research may investigate if investments in office

design (such as creating a fun work environment) can improve organizational

effectiveness, thereby lowering personnel costs.

In addition to explicit life cycle costs, there are a number of implicit costs that may

also be affected by improvements in office design. A well-designed office may improve

a business's ability to recruit new workers, reducing recruitment expenses and attracting

top-quality employees. Danko (2000) demonstrates this idea, using the narrative method

to examine how one company's office design helped to recruit a highly sought after

employee.

Successful office design may also help to retain current employees, lowering

turnover rates, and therefore reduce training costs. Furthermore, an effectively designed

office can aid productivity, allowing more work to be done is less time. Yet these are just









the most concrete benefits. Less obvious advantages may include improving employee

morale, making an impression on clients, and inspiring creativity in employees.

Worker Characteristics

The concept of fun in the workplace can be linked to a changing labor market.

With the new information era has come a new generation of employees. These workers

are "educated, professional, self-managing, independent and increasingly mobile, moving

upwards from job to job with little concern for the old security of 'job for life"' (van

Meel & Vos, 2001, p. 328). These recent college graduates consider work as a form of

self-expression, not just a way to earn money. They not only want a great salary and

stock options; they want a fun and interesting job. Therefore, companies who are

interested in attracting such employees are attempting to create workplaces that fit their

modem lifestyles (van Meel & Vos, 2001).

Ford, McLaughlin, and Newstrom's 2003 study addresses how worker

characteristics relate to fun in the workplace. Their survey of human resource managers

investigated whether worker characteristics determine the type and amount of fun that

employees desire. They found that while the age of the employees made little difference

in the amount of fun, the age of managers predicted the number of fun activities, with

younger managers being associated with more fun. The study also found that

organizations with managers holding higher education levels were more likely to offer

fun activities such as personal development measures, recognition of personal milestones,

and stress relief activities than organizations with less educated managers.

Management Style

A study by human resource consulting firm, William M. Mercer Inc. suggests that a

number of companies have work policies aimed at promoting fun in the workplace









(Employers stress workplace fun, 1999). In a survey of 286 employers, 8% had mission

or value statements that advocated fun or humor as a company goal. Twenty-nine

percent of employers said that fun was encouraged, just not in formal terms. Sixty-two

percent of the respondents believe that promoting fun and humor through the

management style benefits employees and the entire organization. However, 8%

formally or informally discouraged workplace fun, suggesting that fun in the workplace

may not be for everyone.

In addition to policies on fun, there are a number of other management procedures

that can affect the work environment. Mayfield and Mayfield's 2004 study examined the

effects of management communication on worker innovation. The motivating language

scale survey was administered to 133 university students with previous work experience.

The study found a significant relationship between leader communication and worker

innovation. The results predicted a 2.7% increase in employee innovation for every 10%

increase in motivating language.

Outcomes

Creativity

While it is often assumed that creativity comes from naturally creative people, the

Componential Theory of Creativity proposes that "all humans with normal capacities are

able to produce at least moderately creative work in some domain, some of the time- and

that the social environment (work environment) can influence both the level and the

frequency of creative behavior" (Amabile, 1997, p. 42). According to this theory, the

three main components of individual and small group creativity are expertise, creative

thinking skills, and most importantly, intrinsic task motivation. Creativity is most likely









to occur when these three components overlap. Furthermore, higher levels of each of the

three components will lead to higher levels of creativity (Amabile, 1997).

When examining organizational creativity, there are some ambiguities, as creativity

is a broad term that can apply to many different processes. Wise (2003) created a model

that categorized businesses into four different categories of creativity. First, the model

distinguishes between creativity-centered industries, which must constantly create new

products to survive, and creativity-enhanced industries, which benefit from creative

enhancement of current services. Second, the model differentiates between aesthetic

creativity, which relates to communication and visual arts, and technological creativity,

which relates to innovation in computer hardware, software, or physical and biological

sciences.

Firms that demand high levels of both aesthetic and technological creativity are

considered Technical Artists. Firms that require high aesthetic creativity, but low

technological creativity are defined as Artists. Firms that demand constant technical

innovation, but only use aesthetics for communication, packaging, and facilities design

are known as Inventors. Finally, firms that require neither aesthetic nor technological

creativity, relying on distributing others' products or adapting to the innovations of

others, are considered Distributors and Adaptors.

A study by Amabile, Conti, Coon, Lazenby, and Herron (1996) examined the work

environments surrounding highly creative team projects versus less creative team

projects. The study took place at an international electronics company using KEYS:

Assessing the Climatefor Creativity as the primary instrument. Middle-level managers

were asked to nominate projects from the last 3 years that demonstrated the highest and









lowest creativity. After selecting the projects, members of each project team were asked

to complete the KEYS survey to assess the creative climate for their particular project.

The projects nominated for high-creativity scored significantly higher than those

nominated for low-creativity on all six stimulant scales and the two outcome scales.

However, some factors played a more significant role than others. Resources, workload

pressure, and freedom carried moderate weight. Meanwhile, striking differences were

found in positive challenge in the work, organizational encouragement, work group

supports, supervisory encouragement, and organizational impediments, suggesting these

are critical factors in team creativity. However, this study was limited by its examination

of only one business; therefore, these findings need to be replicated in multiple

organizations.

There are numerous factors that can affect the creativity of an organization. The

impact of humor on creativity was investigated in a study by Isen, Daubman, and

Nowicki (1987). In their experiment, 65 psychology class students were given a task that

could be solved through creativity. This involved using a group of everyday objects to

solve a specific problem. Prior to the task, half the students watched a funny film, while

the other half watched a neutral film. Subjects exposed to the humorous film produced

significantly more solutions than those who watched the neutral film.

In a study by Stokols, Clitheroe, and Zmuidzinas (2002), the physical and social

predictors of perceived creativity in the workplace were examined. Ninety-seven

employees from five different offices participated. They received questionnaires

evaluating their perceptions of support for creativity, the importance of creativity, social

climate, personal stress, and job satisfaction. Additionally, researchers objectively









recorded workspace conditions. This included documenting square footage, levels of

enclosure, pedestrian traffic and noise, and visual exposure.

The findings of this study showed that a more positive social climate was related to

greater perceived support for creativity at work. Meanwhile, higher environmental

distraction (e.g. high pedestrian traffic, noise levels, and visual exposure) was related to

lower perceived support for creativity at work. In addition, the social climate and level of

environmental distraction significantly predicted job satisfaction.

One limitation of the Stokols, Clitheroe, and Zmuidzinas study is that it was cross-

sectional, as opposed to longitudinal. Therefore causal relationships cannot be inferred,

merely correlations. Nevertheless, this study is important in suggesting that the physical

and social work environment affect creativity and job satisfaction.

Leonard and Swap (1999) also suggest that the physical environment can have an

effect on group creativity. Based on normative research, they assert that a well-designed

space can facilitate divergent thinking, incubation of ideas, and team convergence, all of

which are essential steps in the creative process. To do so, the environment should

contain spaces that encourage spontaneous or unplanned interaction between employees.

Leonard and Swap also state that the design of a workplace can reflect a company's

mission and values, particularly the importance of creativity. It is also noted that creative

groups tend to surround themselves with physical icons, cultural icons, and playful

objects that can help to create a stimulating and fun environment.

Job Satisfaction

Research on job satisfaction has been carried out for decades. In the process, a

number of different instruments have been developed to measure job satisfaction. Van

Saane, Sluiter, Verbeek, & Frings-Dresen conducted a study in 2003 comparing 29









different instruments, based on reliability and validity. Through a systematic literature

review, they found seven instruments that met all of their criteria. These were the

Andrew and Withey Job Satisfaction Questionnaire, Emergency Physician Job

Satisfaction Scale, McCloskey/Mueller Satisfaction Scale, Nurse Satisfaction Scale, Job

Satisfaction Survey, Measurement of Job Satisfaction Scale, and Job in General Scale.

Surprisingly, the Job Descriptive Index (JDI) did not meet the requirements for validity

and reliability, although it is the most commonly used instrument.

The largest limitation with the Van Saane study was its aim to determine the best

tools for measuring job satisfaction in a hospital setting. However, since many of the

instruments were applicable to all fields, the results can be useful in studying office

environments. The instrument with the highest reliability and validity for all fields was

the JIG, suggesting it is the best measure of job satisfaction for this study.

When evaluating the psychometric properties of the Job in General (JIG), the

instrument scored 0.91 for reliability in terms of internal consistency. It scored between

0.66 and .80 for convergent validity when compared to the Brayfield-Roth Scale, 0.76

compared to the Adjective Scale, and 0.75 compared to the Faces Scale. Finally, the JIG

was also the only instrument to provide information on responsiveness to change.

According to a 2005 press release from The Conference Board, only half of all U.S.

workers are satisfied with theirjobs (U.S. job satisfaction, 2005). This shows a decline

since 1995, when almost 60% of workers were satisfied. These lower satisfaction levels

can be found across all age groups and income levels. The employees with the lowest

satisfaction rate were those between ages 35 to 44 and those earning between $25,000

and $35,000 per year. Older workers were found to be the most satisfied employees.









These results, based on a survey of 5,000 workers, suggest that methods of improving job

satisfaction should be investigated.

In one such study, Morrison (2004) examines the association between office

friendships and job satisfaction (among other factors). Her study consisted of two parts.

The first used questionnaires to survey 124 employees of a large hospital in New

Zealand. The second used an Internet questionnaire to study 412 employees from diverse

fields in New Zealand and the United States. Both parts used the Workplace Friendship

Scale to assess friendship and the Job Satisfaction Scale to measure job satisfaction. The

results showed that more opportunities for friendship had a direct positive relationship

with job satisfaction.

A limitation of the Morrison study is that the majority of respondents were from

New Zealand, not the United States. Yet, the question arises- could fun in the workplace

help people to develop relationships that lead to friendships? If this is the case, as many

believe, this study suggests that workplace fun may be associated with improved job

satisfaction.

Conclusion

Gifford's 2002 model for workplace environmental psychology serves as the

framework for this study and was adapted to examine fun in the workplace. Based on

this model, a thorough literature review investigated fun in the workplace, physical work

setting, worker characteristics, management style, creativity, and job satisfaction. Over

the course of this review, three major themes became apparent. These themes were fun

activities, team building, and the expression of self.














CHAPTER 3
METHODS

Research Design

This study combines a case study approach with a qualitative research method

known as narrative inquiry. Through this amalgamation, a noted advertising agency was

comprehensively investigated in three stages. First, employees completed standardized

tests for creativity, job satisfaction, and demographics to create an in-depth profile of

those who worked in the organization. Second, the workplace was photographed and

observed to understand the role of the physical environment. Third, interviews and on-

site observations took place to capture processes relating to fun in the workplace.

Combining data from all three stages, a narrative was created that expressed employees

perceptions and experiences of fun at work.

By mixing the qualitative narrative inquiry with quantitative methods, the study's

construct validity was strengthened. The benefits were twofold. First, interviews and

observations provided rich, detailed knowledge, while standardized tests measured

creativity and job satisfaction in quantifiable terms (and offered a means to compare the

case to national norms). Second, the multiple methods allowed dual perspectives.

Interviews and questionnaires assessed subjective perceptions of creativity, job

satisfaction, and workplace fun, while on-site observations provided an objective point of

view.

The narrative method was selected for a number of reasons. First of all, narrative

inquiry has received a great deal of attention in the interior design field recently. A









special issue of the Journal ofInterior Design was dedicated to the narrative approach,

featuring three articles and two reports on the subject (Portillo, 2000). Ganoe (1999)

expresses the reasons for recent attention on narrative inquiry: "It provides a

comprehensive method for analyzing the human experience of environment. Interpreting

interior space as a narrative adds depth and breadth to the understanding of how

environment is psychologically inhabited by the individual" (p. 4). Narratives have the

ability to capture thoughts, emotions, sensory details, and tension points in a manner

unlike any other research method. Furthermore, a well-crafted narrative has the ability to

capture all of these aspects from multiple perspectives, providing a holistic view of the

environment.

The narrative approach is particularly conducive to studying business

organizations. As businesses are large complex environments, narratives have the ability

to express their intricate workings as a set of specific events or experiences. Business

guru Stephen Denning (2004) believes that narratives are one of the most effective tools a

leader can use. He suggests that while facts generally drive business thinking,

"Storytelling can translate those dry and abstract numbers into compelling pictures of a

leader's goals" (2004, p.123).

Case Selection

In order to select a workplace for this case study, a four-part case criterion was

developed as follows. First, the office must house a business that generates new products

or designs, relying heavily on creativity, such as an advertising or architecture firm.

Second, the office must have received some form of external recognition for exceptional

workplace design. Third, the office needs to demonstrate an innovative management









style. Lastly, the business must incorporate "fun in the workplace" as a goal for

improving employee performance and satisfaction.

The business selected for this case study is PUSH, an advertising agency located

in Orlando, Florida. Founded in 1996, the business currently has 42 employees. PUSH

has been recognized for its innovative office design, appearing in the book The inspired

workplace: Interior designsfor creativity and productivity (Zelinsky, 2002). Most

importantly, the business has an innovative management style, including fun as a goal in

its published list of core values. The value statement asserts,

"Have fun. Fun plays a key role in the success of any business. Smile a little more.
Talk a little more. Spend more time together discussing what makes you feel good
about the job you're doing. If you're having fun the work will be that much better"
(PUSH website, 2005).

After determining that PUSH advertising agency met all of the case criteria, the

company's participation was requested. A letter was first sent to one of the business

partners explaining the purpose of the study, the reasons for selecting PUSH, the amount

of time required for participation, and the benefits (See Appendix A). Two weeks later,

the researcher made a telephone call to the partner, requesting the business' participation.

Upon verbal agreement of the partner, PUSH agreed to be a part of the research study.

Since the study involved human subjects, approval from the University of Florida

Institutional Review Board (IRB) was required. An abstract of the study's methods,

along with a series of consent forms, was submitted to the board. After reviewing the

documents, the IRB granted complete approval to the study.









Instruments

Preface

Since this study explores the role of workplace fun aimed at improving creativity,

innovation, and job satisfaction, it is important to examine these constructs. The Job in

General Scale, or JIG, was selected to measure PUSH employees' overall feelings

toward their jobs. In addition, KEYS: Assessing the Climate for Creativity was selected

to evaluate the creative environment at PUSH. The JIG and KEYS evaluations were not

used to examine individuals, but to gather an overall understanding of PUSH.

Job in General

The first instrument selected for this study was the Job in General scale (Bowling

Green State University, 1985). The JIG was developed by Ironson, Smith, Brannick,

Gibson, and Paul to provide an overall evaluation of how employees feel about their jobs.

It was designed as an addition to the Job Descriptive Index or JDI (Bowling Green State

University, 1997), the most frequently used measure of job satisfaction (Balzer et al.,

2002). While the JDI assessed the five main facets of job satisfaction (work on present

job, pay, opportunities for promotion, supervision, and people on your present job), it was

felt than at overall measure of satisfaction was needed. The JIG was created for this

purpose.

In developing the JIG, a list of 42 adjectives and short phrases describing general

feelings about the job were assembled. These items were administered to a sample of

1149 civil service workers. The best of these items were selected based on traditional

item analysis techniques, factor analysis, and item response theory models. These items

then went through further analyses and were eventually narrowed down to the final items

(Balzer et al., 2002).









The Job in General scale contains a total of 18 items that assess the global, long-

term evaluation of the job. Respondents are asked to answer each item by circling Yes,

No, or "?"(meaning the respondent cannot decide). About half of the items are worded

favorably (e.g., "superior) and half are worded unfavorably (e.g. "undesirable"). In total,

the test takes approximately five minutes to complete.

Based on the Bowling Green data pool of 3566 respondents, JIG reliability

estimates exceed .90 (Balzer et al., 2002). Construct validity is established through

correlations with other scales of global satisfaction, including the Brayfield and Rothe

(1951) and the Faces scale (Kunin, 1955). These correlations range from .66 to .80

(Balzer et al., 2002).

KEYS: Assessing the Climate for Creativity

The second instrument selected for this study was KEYS: Assessing the Climate

for Creativity (Center for Creative Leadership, 1995). Teresa Amabile, a leader in the

field of creativity research, created the KEYS to measure how employees perceive

stimulants and obstacles to creativity (Ovid, 2004). The survey was developed through a

group of interviews in which participants described work experiences demonstrating high

and low creativity. Through a content analysis of the transcribed interviews, a group of

creativity-inhibiting and creativity-promoting factors was produced. After undergoing

four revisions, these factors were translated into the 78 items of the KEYS (Amabile,

Burnside, & Gryskiewicz, 1999).

These 78 items are divided as follows: 66 items form the eight work environment

scales (6 stimulants and 2 obstacles to creativity) and 12 items form the two outcome

scales. The stimulants to creativity are: Organizational Encouragement of Creativity,

Supervisory Encouragement of Creativity, Work Group Supports, Freedom, Sufficient









Resources, and Challenging Work. The obstacles to creativity are: Organizational

Impediments and Workload Pressure. The two outcome scales are creativity and

productivity. At the end of the survey, there are three checklist questions addressing the

most important factors for creativity. In addition, the survey collects basic demographic

data.

The KEYS takes approximately 15 to 20 minutes to complete and is conducted as

a pencil-and-paper survey. Each of the 78 items is bubbled in using a four-point response

scale. The possible responses are: never, sometimes, often, and always. By using a

four-point scale, a middle point is eliminated, preventing respondents from taking a

neutral position.

Using a sample of 12,100 respondents, KEYS: Assessing the Climate for

Creativity has internal scale reliability estimates ranging from .66 to .91. The median

was .84, with only two scales showing reliabilities less than .80 (Freedom and Workload

Pressure). Convergent validity was testing using the Work Environment Scale (WES;

Insel and Moos, 1975) and showed a moderate correlation (Amabile, Burnside, &

Gryskiewicz, 1999).

Development of Interview Protocol

Prior to data collection, the researcher pilot tested the interview portion of the

methodology by conducting two practice interviews. The first was administered to a

licensed designer who reflected on his recent experiences working at a large architecture

firm in Washington DC. This interview was highly successful as the firm encouraged

workplace fun, providing genuine accounts of fun at work. The second interview was

conducted with a former manager of a Fortune 500 company and focused on management

practices. Both interviews were analyzed for fluidity and appropriate content. Overall,









the interview protocol was effective; however, there were two minor modifications.

These included removing a question that was redundant and rewording the question

which asked participants to trace the development of a specific project at PUSH.

Procedures

For this study, all data was collected on-site by the researcher. Data collection

was divided into four parts. First, two standardized questionnaires were distributed to the

entire office. The Job in General Scales or JIG (Bowling Green State University, 1985)

was used to measure overall job satisfaction, while KEYS: Assessing the Climatefor

Creativity (Center for Creative Leadership, 1995) was used to measure perceived

stimulants and obstacles to creativity. Second, the researcher observed the office over the

course of three days, from May 31st through June 2nd 2005, while collecting data. Third,

photographs were taken throughout the workplace to document the office design. Fourth,

interviews were conducted with four employees, three from the Creative Department and

one from Accounts Supervision, to gather their perceptions of fun at work. Figure 3-1

illustrates how the four stages of data collection fit within the model of workplace fun.

Standardized Tests

In order to gain cooperation from the PUSH employees, a business partner

introduced the researcher during the start-of-the-week staff meeting. The researcher gave

a brief explanation on the purpose of the study, as well as the data collection methods to

be used. All references to creativity, job satisfaction, and fun were eliminated from the

description to prevent any biases based on hypotheses guessing, or when participants

alter their answers on the basis of what they believe the study is about.

Questionnaire packages were distributed to all employees present during the staff

meeting, which took place at 9:00 AM on a Tuesday morning. These packages included:











two consent forms, the Job in General Scales, KEYS: Assessing the Climatefor

Creativity, a number two pencil, and a candy lollipop as an incentive to promote high

response rates.


Physical Work
Setting
Photographs
Observations
Floor Plan
Interviews




Worker FUN IN THE Creativity Outcomes
Characteristics WORKPLACE Interviews KEYS Survey
Survey e t *e KEYS Survey JIG Survey
out using the pr d p TInterviews ao i
Demographics Interviewds
Observations
Website




Management Style
Interviews
KEYS Survey




Figure 3-1. Fun in the workplace model, showing methods used to assess each
component (adapted from Gifford, 2002)

First, instructions were given to sign both consent forms, returning one and


keeping the other for personal records. Next, participants were advised that the

questionnaires should take approximately 20-25 minutes to complete, and should be filled

out using the provided pencil. They were also informed that there were no "right" or

"wrong" answers, and that individual results would be kept confidential. Finally,

employees were asked to complete the questionnaires by 3:30 PM that business day.

To improve the response rate, an e-mail was sent to the entire office staff

reminding them to complete the surveys. The e-mail reiterated the announcement made

during the staff meeting for any employees who were not present. It also informed









employees that the finished questionnaires should be turned in at the reception desk by

the end of the day.

Additionally, the researcher walked around the office at 3:30 PM, asking each

employee if they had submitted their questionnaires. The employees who had not

completed the questionnaires were asked to turn them in by the end of the day. During

this walk-through, a number of employees revealed not being present during the staff

meeting and were given questionnaire packages to complete.

Of the 42 employees at PUSH, 41 received the questionnaire package at some

point during the three-day period. The single employee who did not receive one was

away on vacation. Of the 41 employees who were given questionnaires, 35 responses

were collected, resulting in an 85% response rate.

Observations

The second stage of data collection was observations. First, the researcher

received a tour of the workplace from one of PUSH's founding partners. During this

tour, information was provided on each space, including its functional purpose and why

the design was chosen. The researcher was also given the opportunity to ask questions

and take notes on the office and its design. After this, the researcher walked through the

workplace again, independently, taking more detailed notes on the design of each space

and how employees functioned within it.

To observe group behavior among employees, the researcher sat in during three

PUSH staff meeting. The first was the beginning-of-the-week staff meeting, used to

discuss events of the previous week as well as upcoming events. Second, the researcher

attended a small meeting between four Public Relations employees, discussing their

current agendas. The final meeting was open to the entire office and traced the









development of a recent advertising campaign, from market research all the way to

completed print ads.

Photography

The third stage of data collection used photography to document the physical

work environment. This process consisted of photographing the entire office,

systematically documenting each major space. These major spaces included the building

exterior, entryway, reception area, conference room, break room, open work areas, and

the largest individual offices. In addition to taking photographs of the overall spaces,

pictures were also taken of specific design details (i.e. decorative metal pieces on the

reception desk).

Interviews

The final stage of data collection consisted of interviews. These interviews were

semi-structured and lasted approximately one hour each (Appendix B). They were tape-

recorded using a lapel microphone to receive clear sound and two recorders to insure at

least one successful recording.

Since this study focuses on the relationship between fun and creativity, the

majority of employees interviewed were from the Creative Department. To select the

specific employees, a member of management was asked to recommend employees from

the creative department, as well as from another department, who would have articulate

and diverse stories to share of their experiences at the company.

In total, four interviews were conducted. Three interviews were conducted with

lower-level employees and one interview was conducted with management. Three of the

employees, including the management member, were in the Creative Department, while









one employee was in the Accounts Supervision Department. In addition, three of the

participants were male, while one was female.

The interviews were divided into four sections. The first section asked general

questions on workplace fun and then about specific occurrences at PUSH. For the second

part, participants were shown eight photographs of the PUSH office (previously taken by

the researcher) and asked about the workplace design. The third section asked

participants to compare PUSH's office design to others. For the fourth and final section,

participants were asked to share stories about fun experiences at PUSH.

The management interview differed slightly from the other three. In the

management interview, the photograph section was replaced by a series of questions

regarding management structure, corporate culture, employee incentives, and other

management-related topics.

Analysis

The data collected at PUSH was analyzed in three stages. First, the photographs

and observations of the physical environment were compiled into a detailed description

of the office design and how workers functioned within the space. Second, the

standardized tests were statistically analyzed and compared to national norms. Third, the

interviews were dissected and used to create a narrative account of workplace fun.

For the first phase of analysis, the physical environment was examined. Based on

photographs and observations, each major workspace was described in detail. These

spaces were examined in terms of both design and function. The spaces investigated

were the building exterior, entryway, reception area, conference room, break room, open

work areas, and management's individual offices.









The second phase of analysis began with the Job in General scales. First, the JIG

scores were summed for each individual to determine the level and percentage of

employees who were satisfied overall with theirjobs. Descriptive statistics of the

employee scores were calculated and compared with national norms for the JIG.

Next, the KEYS: Assessing the Climatefor Creativity surveys were assessed.

Scores were determined for the six environmental stimulants to creativity (Organizational

Encouragement of Creativity, Supervisory Encouragement of Creativity, Work Group

Supports, Freedom, Sufficient Resources, and Challenging Work), two obstacles to

creativity (Organizational Impediments and Workload Pressure), and two outcome scales

(creativity and productivity). Descriptive statistics of these scores were then computed

and compared to national norms for the KEYS.

For the final phase, the interviews were transcribed and then reviewed to identify

the major issues and themes, as well as a detailed story reflecting fun in the workplace.

The following criteria were used to develop the storyline for this study:

1. Told from multiple perspectives
2. Involved a large segment of the workplace
3. Contained sensory detail
4. Represented the company's approach to workplace fun
5. Showed how the interior environment supported fun

This story was then used in combination with Labov's six-point framework to

create a narrative account of fun in the workplace. The framework is as follows: abstract,

orientation, complicating action, evaluation, resolution, and coda (Riessman, 1993). In

addition, the researcher examined a number of case studies from the Harvard Business

Review, such as "What's stifling the creativity at Coolburst?" (Wetlaufer, 1997), as

examples of successful business narratives. Finally, a number of drafts were written









before the narrative went through emic verification, which involved sending the story

back to the central characters for approval. Based on their responses, minor changes

were made, insuring that the final narrative accurately reflected their experiences.

Limitations

Although a number of measures were taken to insure high survey response rates,

15% of the employees chose not to complete the standardized tests. No analyses are

available to establish the differences between those employees who chose to participate

and those who did not. In addition, of the employees who completed the standardized

tests, not all provided responses to every single item. As a result, the response rates are

lower for items that some employees left blank.

Conclusion

Using an environment-behavior framework, this study combined quantitative

methods with narrative inquiry to gather both objective and subjective data. A successful

advertising agency was examined through a case study consisting of three stages. First,

employees completed standardized tests for creativity, job satisfaction, and demographics

to gain an in-depth understanding of the organization. Second, the office facilities were

photographed and observed to investigate the role of the physical environment. Third,

interviews and group observations were conducted to gain a detailed understanding of fun

in the workplace. Finally, data from all three stages was combined to create a narrative

account of employees' experiences working in a fun environment.














CHAPTER 4
FINDINGS

The Social Environment at PUSH

Company Profile

The advertising agency PUSH was founded in 1996 by partners Julio Lima, John

Ludwig, and Rich Wahl. The company was established on the idea "that we are in

business to make things happen for our clients" (PUSH website, 2005). Yet being client-

centered was not enough for the partners, who had greater goals for their agency.

Therefore, PUSH published the following vision statement- "to become a sought after

company that constantly surprises our clients, our peers, our industry and ourselves with

creativity, clarity, and fearlessness" (PUSH website, 2005). This statement suggests that

the company places a high premium on innovation and is not afraid to take risks in order

to succeed.

Nearly ten years since the company's inception, PUSH has grown from just a few

employees to 42 at present. The management has also changed, with partner Chris Robb

joining the firm in 2003, in place of partner Julio Lima. Today the company provides a

complete range of services including brand strategy, media, design, and public relations.

PUSH has clients ranging from regional to national companies and their client

roster includes AAA, the Consumer Credit Counseling Service, and the Orlando Sentinel.

In one recent account, PUSH created the "It's the Frog" campaign for Middleton Lawn &

Pest Control, consisting of three 60-second radio spots and six 30-second TV spots

(PUSH Website, 2005). The TV ads bring Middleton's frog icon to life as he comically









exterminates animated bugs using items such as a ray gun, magnifying glass, and poison-

filled martini.

Acknowledging their standing, PUSH has received a number of awards for their

work in the advertising field. At the 2005 Orlando ADDY Awards honoring excellence

in creative advertising, PUSH won 50 awards, more than any other company in Central

Florida. They collected 21 Gold ADDY's and 25 Silver ADDY's (Orlando Advertising

Federation Website, 2005). PUSH also won six national ADDY awards, with only two

other agencies in the country receiving more (PUSH Website, 2005).

Employee Demographics

To learn about the employees at PUSH, demographics were collected for age,

gender, education level, field of study, and company tenure. All of the demographic

information was based on data from the KEYS and JIG surveys, as well as three locally

developed measures. The KEYS is an 81-item survey assessing stimulants and obstacles

to creativity, while the Job in General is an 18-item survey measuring overall job

satisfaction. The results represent the 35 employees who completed these questionnaires,

an 83% response rate.

Of the 35 employees, the ages ranged from 23 to 48, with a mean age of 31.89 and

standard deviation of 7.407. When comparing gender, 45.7% (n=16) of employees were

male while 54.3% (n=19) were female.

Employees were also classified by education level, with nearly three fourths of the

employees (n=26) having received a college degree. Following this, 14.3% of employees

(n=5) attended some graduate school or received a graduate degree and 8.6% (n=3)

attended some college. Figure 4-1 shows a pie chart reflecting these categories and

percentages of responses.










2.8% 8.6% EDUCATION LEVEL
8.6%
S n=1 n=3 U Attended some college
n=3
5.7% 0 College graduate
n=2 O Attended some graduate school
O Received graduate degree
0 Other






74.3% n=26
Figure 4-1. Employee education levels

In addition, employees were asked to provide their fields of study. The most

common response was Advertising/Public Relations, with 43% of employees (n=15)

studying this. This was followed by Art/Design (n=5), Marketing (n=4), and

Communications (n=4). Figure 4-2 shows a pie chart reflecting the complete list of

responses. Responses that appeared only once were placed into the Other category and

included Psychology, History, and Photography.


FIELD OF STUDY
14.3%
N=5 U Advertising/Public Relations
0 Art/Design
5.7% E Marketing

Figure42.9% Communications
N=15 U Business
11.4%
N=4 Other



11.4%
N=4
14.3% N=5

Figure 4-2. Employee fields of study

Using demographic data from the KEYS survey, employees were also categorized

by their years of service at PUSH. Since PUSH was formed just nine years ago, the 33









responses were divided into two categories. Twenty-five employees or 75.8% have

worked at PUSH for five years or less, while eight employees or 24.2% have worked at

PUSH for six to nine years.

Creativity

KEYS: Assessing the Climatefor Creativity allowed PUSH employees to gauge

their perceptions of the work environment compared to normative data from the KEYS

database, consisting of 12,525 managers and employees. The scores for each subscale

were computed in two steps. First z-scores were computed by taking PUSH respondents

raw mean scores and subtracting the database means, then dividing this by the database

standard deviation. Next T-scores were calculated by multiplying the z-scores times 10,

then adding 50.

Table 4-1 shows the mean and standard deviation scores for each of the six

stimulants to creativity (organizational encouragement, supervisory encouragement, work

group support, freedom, sufficient resources, and challenging work). It also shows scores

for the two obstacles to creativity (organizational impediments and workload pressure)

and the two outcomes (creativity and productivity).

Table 4-1. Normative KEYS data for PUSH
n Mean Std. deviation
Organizational Encouragement 31 81.5755 22.74232
(Lack of) Org Impediments 30 74.4907 18.07059
(Lack of) Workload Pressure 35 62.2222 23.61640
.Sup.ervisory..E ncouragem ent..................................... 34. ........................... 60 777................................. 21.6 .93 9.....
Productivity 35 58.8492 19.66866
Work Group Support 35 56.8067 26.25655
C reativity. .... .....33.........................
Sufficient Resources 31 52.6588 20.49117
Freedom 35 46.5873 29.63012
Challenging Work 35 45.7792 28.60995
* n = number of employees who completed all questions for the subscale









For each scale, "a higher score is generally associated with higher creativity"

(Amabile et al., 1999, p.183). Therefore, organizational impediments and workload

pressure were scored in reverse to reflect a lack of organizational impediments and a lack

of workload pressure. A set of percentile ranges allows PUSH scores to be classified

according to the KEYS as: Very High (above 60), High (55-60), Mid-range (45-55), Low

(40-45), and Very Low (below 40).

Organizational Encouragement, (Lack of) Organizational Impediments, (Lack of)

Workload Pressure, and Supervisory Encouragement all scored in the Very High

category. Following this, Productivity and Work Group Support fell in the High

category, with Creativity falling between the High and Mid-range. Finally, Sufficient

Resources, Freedom, and Challenging Work scored in the Mid-range.

When considering PUSH's success in the creative field of advertising, their score

for Creativity was lower than expected. Therefore, the creativity subscale was examined

in further detail. First, the scale was broken down by departments, where the creative

departments (n=19) scored 65 and the non-creative departments (n=15) scored 42. Next,

the creativity subscale score was broken down by item as seen in Table 4-2 and Figure 4-

3. The highest scoring item was item number 69, with a mean score of 61. The lowest

scoring item was number 76, with a score of 43.

Table 4-2. Creativity subscale scores by individual item
n Mean Std. Deviation
5. Area is Innovative 35 56.7582 29.15958
47. Area is Creative 35 46.1714 40.66671
52. My own Creativity 35 58.9011 30.20656
55. Great Creativity 35 51.0714 34.86382
69. Group Creativity 34 61.3043 32.11082
76. I am Creative 35 43.8312 38.77598











80
75
70
65
60 -
55 -
50 -
45
40
35
30
25
20
Area is Area is Creative My Own Great Creativity Group Creativity I am Creative
Innovative Creativity

Figure 4-3. Creativity subscale scores by individual item

Job Satisfaction

In addition to assessing creativity, this study also examined overall job satisfaction

at PUSH using the Job in General Scale. To assess job satisfaction in absolute terms, the

Job In General scale was divided into three scoring ranges: unsatisfied (0-22), neutral

(23-31), and satisfied (32-54). PUSH employee scores ranged from a minimum of 33 to

a maximum of 54. Remarkably, every single employee surveyed fell into the satisfied

range, with nine employees receiving scores of 54, the highest possible score for job

satisfaction. When analyzing the group as a whole, the mean score was 47.77 with a

standard deviation of 7.08.

To assess job satisfaction relative to other businesses, PUSH data was compared to

national JIG norms, stratified by company tenure, organization type, age, education, and

gender. When comparing the PUSH data to the national norms, the median score, rather

than the mean, was used to prevent skewed results.









Table 4-3 shows how PUSH median scores compared to the national norms by

percentile. For example, PUSH employees under the age of 25 had a median score of 52,

falling into the 98th percentile. This indicates that 98% of employees under 25 nationally

score the same or lower on the JIG scale than employees at PUSH.

Table 4-3. Normative JIG data for PUSH
Category n Median Score Percentile
Company tenure
0-5 Years 25 50 81-83
6-10 Years 8 52 90
Organization Type
Profit 35 50 85
Age
Less than 25 5 52 98
25-29 11 49 80
30-34 9 50 83
35-39 3 54 99
40-44 5 37 33
45-49 2 50 87
Education
Some college 3 50 83
College degree 28 51 85
Graduate degree 3 50 76
Gender
Male 16 51 87
Female 19 50 82
* n = number of employees in each category

Most PUSH scores showed little variation, with medians ranging from 49 to 54

and percentiles in the eighties and nineties. However, one notable exception is the

employees between the ages of 40 to 44. These workers have significantly lower scores,

with a median of 37, placing them in the 33rd percentile of national scores.

Workplace Fun

Fun in the workplace was examined through interviews with four PUSH

employees, consisting of three lower-level workers and one member of management.









Also, three of the participants were males in the Creative Department, while one was a

female in the Accounts Supervision Department. These interviews investigated

employees' descriptions of the work environment, definitions of fun, perceived benefits

of a fun workplace, and specific fun activities at PUSH.

First, participants were asked what adjectives they would use to describe their

workplace, prior to being introduced to the topic of workplace fun in the semi-structured

interview. The most common answers all expressed a sense of excitement in the

workplace, using adjectives such as vibrant, chaotic, energetic, exciting, passionate, and

lively. The other adjectives that appeared more than once were fun, creative, and

stressful.

Employees were also asked to define fun in the workplace in their own terms. One

employee described fun as "when you can come to work everyday and 'high five' your

workmates, meaning that you don't dread coming to work everyday." Another employee

responded, "I think its just being able to have a good conversation without feeling like

you're up against time constraints or rigidity of any kind." When analyzing the

responses, three main themes emerged: enjoyment of the job, camaraderie between

employees, and freedom from rigidity and time constraints.

In addition, employees were asked what they believed the benefits of a fun work

environment were. One employee responded, "Hands down, the benefit of workplace fun

is being able to get the most out of employees...People work 70 and 80 hours a week

with no hesitation because its fun and you don't hate doing it." Overall, the employees

perceived three main benefits: increased productivity, higherjob satisfaction, and lower

stress levels.









Finally, specific examples of fun activities at PUSH were examined. Based on the

interviews, a list of fun activities was compiled, along with their settings within the work

environment (Table 4-4). These items were then organized into the Ford's ten categories

of workplace fun: recognition for personal milestones, social events, public celebrations

of professional achievements, opportunities for civic volunteerism, stress release

activities, humor, games, friendly competitions, opportunities for personal development,

and entertainment (Ford et al., 2003).

Table 4-4. Fun activities at PUSH, categorized according to Ford et al. (2003)
Activity Location Category
Tippy-Tap (basketball game created Workspaces Game
by employees)
Scooter races Hallway Game
Cubicle volleyball Workspaces Game
Golf putting Hallway Game
Annual lake party Off-site Social event
Happy hour (almost every Friday at 5:00) Kitchen Social event
Annual Post-ADDY's party Off-site Public celebration of
professional achievements
Tequila shots (when big accounts are won) Kitchen Public celebration of
professional achievements
Creating goofy pictures, videos, etc. for Workspaces Humor
website
Pranks (e.g. filling an employee's office Workspaces Humor
with cotton)
Throwing soft stress balls at one another Workspaces Stress release activity
Birthday parties Break Room Recognition for personal
milestones

The fun activities that seemed to occur most frequently at PUSH were games,

followed by social events, public celebrations of professional achievements, and humor.

The other categories found were stress release activities, humor, and recognition for

personal milestones, while PUSH lacked opportunities for civic volunteerism, friendly

competitions, opportunities for personal development, and entertainment. Activities took

place in all of the major spaces except for the lobby and conference room.









The Physical Environment at PUSH

When PUSH was first formed in 1996, the business was housed in a decrepit old

warehouse. As the company grew, acquiring new accounts and employees, the

warehouse space became too small and cramped. PUSH commissioned Orlando based

architecture firm The Evans Group to design their new office building.

An empty lot in a mixed-use area of downtown Orlando was selected as the site for

the new office building. Using the PUSH's metal business cards as inspiration, The

Evans Group designed an 8,000 square foot structure with a stainless steel facade (See

Figure 4-4). The firm stated that their goal was to "design a building that reflected their

[PUSH's] energy and imaginative nature" (The Evans Group website) and in June of

2000, PUSH moved their 22 employees into the new office space.


Figure 4-4. Exterior of building

The PUSH building shell consists of a simple rectangular from, featuring large

window apertures on all four sides. The floorplan, also laid out in rectilinear forms, is









divided into two distinct zones for public and private functions (See Figure 4-5). The

public zone is located near the revolving door entrance, consisting of the lobby,

conference room, restrooms, and kitchen. The remainder of the space makes up the

private zone, consisting of offices and workstations.



Panrtner's





Women's j J
_0 -'I I- I L L L L
Rwom

IT Roam



Conference
Room
Lcbby

m |Pamners
Office


Revoing Door
Figure 4-5. Floorplan. The highlighted area shows the new workstations constructed to
accommodate additional employees.

The interior design of the PUSH office is quite innovative, instantly

communicating to visitors that this isn't your typical company. The office is painted in a

number of saturated hues, including orange, yellow, green, and blue (Figure 4-6). The

building offers floor-to-ceiling windows throughout, as well as a number of skylights to

capitalize on daylighting. In addition, the exposed ceilings are painted white,

maximizing light reflectance.









Angled elements are a common theme throughout the design of the PUSH office.

Explaining the significance of this, partner John Ludwig states, "There is so much

creative energy, it's pushing the walls out." Beginning with the exterior, the stainless

steel facade is composed of slightly angled planes that expand outwards as they gain

heighth. Next, angled bars divide the windowpanes. Angles can also be found in the

walls of employee workstations, which slope upwards towards the back plane.

Furthermore, fluorescent light fixtures are hung at random angles, instead of in a

traditional grid pattern. All of these angled elements combine to create a dynamic

atmosphere within the space, used to spark innovation.




;41

















Figure 4-6. Office design

Entry/Lobby

When entering the PUSH office, one must pass through a large revolving door.

While more costly and difficult to install, this door serves a symbolic purpose. In the

original warehouse space all of the doors were pulled open, contradicting the company's









name. Therefore, the new building was designed with a revolving door, which is always

pushed and never pulled (Figure 4-7A).



:OU DONI

















A B
Figure 4-7. Lobby space. A) Interior view of the revolving door. B) Lobby seating area,
featuring artwork taken from PUSH campaigns.

The walls of the lobby are painted with PUSH's signature chartreuse green (Figure

4-7B). Partner Rich Wahl explained "we wanted to use the chartreuse because green is

the color of moving forward, and of prosperity" (Zelinsky, 2002). This color is used to

make a first impression, but is rarely used in the rest of the building, heightening its

impact. In contrast to the bright green walls is the cool gray concrete floor. The slightly

distressed concrete floor lends an industrial feeling to the hip and youthful space.

The semi-circular reception desk is also made from concrete, with a glass surface

placed on top to form a counter. The glass rests on small orange rubber bases, an

unexpected shot of color that adds a bit of fun to the desk. In addition, the front of the

desk features three round metal details, which appear to be pieces of industrial hardware.









Behind the reception desk, the name PUSH is designed to be projected onto the wall with

light. However, at the time observations were conducted for this study, the light was

broken, leaving an oddly blank wall behind the desk (Figure 4-8).






















Figure 4-8. Reception desk

The design of the lobby demonstrates near-symmetry. Upon entering, a front view

of the reception desk is centered between two doors. The wall to the left of the reception

desk displays a grid of squares, each square featuring artwork from a different PUSH

campaign (Figures 4-7A and 4-8). The wall to the right of the reception desk features a

display case showcasing the company's numerous awards (Figure 4-9A). Along the

perimeter of both right and left walls is comfortable leather seating for visitors, with two

armchairs on the left and a sofa on the right.

The lobby space is expansive in scale due to its openness and nearly 15-foot high

ceiling height. The exposed metal ceiling is painted white, further emphasizing the sense









of loftiness. In addition, the ceiling features a large pyramid-shaped skylight, allowing

natural light to flood the space (Figure 4-9B).






















A B
Figure 4-9. Additional lobby features. A) Display of awards. B) Skylight in the center of
the lobby.

Conference Room

When entering the conference room, the deep blueberry color of the walls offers

instant character to the space, and this hue reflects the history of the original office space

(Figure 4-10A). Years earlier when pitching to a client, PUSH painted their conference

walls the same shade as their client's signature blue color. PUSH succeeded in winning

the account and retained the blue conference room as a good luck measure.

The conference table is made up of two glass sheets, supported by thin metal bases.

Each leg of the bases features a small orange spring at the bottom, adding a fun detail that

reinforces their ability to surprise their clients (Figure 4-10B). Around the table, which

can seat approximately 15 individuals, are black ergonomic conference chairs. In









addition, low black storage cabinets run along two walls of the space, serving as

additional seating space during large meetings.


















A B
Figure 4-10. Conference room. A) Conference room table. B) Detail of table leg.

The ceiling of the conference room is exposed; however, black fabric panels stretch

across the ceiling to improve acoustical quality. Also hung from the ceiling are three

large pendant lights, each featuring five adjustable arms with exposed bulbs on the ends,

giving the impression an undersea creature with wild tentacles. Natural lighting comes

from the floor-to-ceiling windows that run along one side of the conference room. These

windows contain black roll-down shades to darken the room when necessary.

Workspaces

In their original warehouse building, PUSH found that having too many walls

hindered communication between employees. As a result, the new office building has

fewer full-height walls. The majority of workers are placed in cubicle-sized enclosures

with sloping partitions. These partitions are approximately four-feet at the lowest point,









allowing others to easily see in (Figure 4-11). In fact, the low walls often act as ledges,

supporting employees as they lean over to have impromptu conversations.






















Figure 4-11. Open workspaces

A few private offices can be found around the perimeter of the building, with two

of the corner offices occupied by company partners (Figure 4-12). Some of these private

offices have doors, while the others simply have openings. One would never notice the

difference, however, since the office doors were always left open during the three-day

on-site observations for this study. This was even true for the partners, who appeared

easily approachable.

The workspaces are painted in vivid yellow, orange, green, and blue hues. While

the bright colors are credited with adding an element of fun to the space, some employees

objected to the saturation level. In particular, the yellow found in many of the offices and

workspaces seems to be distracting to some employees. One member of the creative

team stated "I think its anxiety inducing...it drives me nuts."






























figure 4-12. Private ottice

PUSH employees have the ability to arrange their workspaces according to their

personal preferences. Some workers place their desks facing a wall, while others place

their desks facing forward. They also have the opportunity to bring in furniture and other

items to personalize the space. For instance, one employee placed an old school desk in

his workspace, using it mostly as a surface to pile papers on. Other items such as

photographs, framed posters, and inspirational print ads can be found throughout the

office (Figures 4-11 and 4-12).

The workspace area also features a number of places for ideas and projects to be

displayed. In particular, the wall between founding partner John Ludwig's office and

new partner Chris Robb's office is used to display current campaign ideas (Figure 4-13).

This allows employees from all departments to follow the creative process and discuss

their opinions with the creative team. At the time observations were conducted, this

surface displayed a number of concepts for the Orlando Sentinel campaign.





























Figure 4-13. Wall displaying current campaign ideas

When the PUSH office was completed in 2000, there were only 22 employees on

staff. With plenty of extra room, the area in the center of the workspace was used as an

open conference area, containing tables, chairs, and even a basketball net (Figure 4-14).

However, as the company grew to over 30 employees, more individual office space was

needed and the open conference area was replaced by six additional workstations (Figure

4-14).

While the newly constructed workstations provided much needed space for

additional employees, there were also negative effects. First, with the conference space

removed, the lack of meeting areas became a problem. This was somewhat alleviated

when PUSH purchased a small house across the street to use as additional meeting and

storage space. The second consequence was that there was less space for employees to

have fun. For example, the basketball hoop was moved to the kitchen where it is no

longer in use.










,i~- ~N.-i


A B
Figure 4-14. Workspace before and after renovation. A) The open conference area as
originally designed in 2000. B) The new workstations built to accommodate
additional employees.

The additional workspaces only alleviated the space problems temporarily. At the

time of observations, PUSH had grown even larger. The building was cramped once

again, with employees sharing offices and being placed anywhere available. For

instance, one employee was located in the small space next to the copy machine. As a

result, PUSH was on the verge of relocating to a new building. During observations, this

new space was under construction at a large office building in downtown Orlando.

Kitchen

Compared to the other spaces at PUSH, the kitchen is quite functional but lacks

the same level of innovation in its design. The space features white walls, as well as

white kitchen cabinets and countertops (Figure 4-15). Yet one element of fun appears in

the bold black and white floor tile pattern. In addition, a large collection of tequila

bottles form a line stretching across the kitchen cabinet tops (Figure 4-16).































figure 4-13. kitcnen

The kitchen table can seat approximately ten employees at a time. Generally,

employees gather in the space to prepare and eat lunch. However, the room also affords

fun activities, such as when PUSH workers meet on Friday afternoons to drink beer and

catch up with one another.


Figure 4-16. Collection of empty tequila bottles displayed in the kitchen

The kitchen also serves as a makeshift storage area. Extra boxes, not yet moved to

the house across the street, are piled up in front of the full-length windows, blocking the






55


view. Next to the boxes, a metal rack holds clothing from the dry-cleaners. Also stowed

in the kitchen is the basketball hoop previously located in the open conference area.














CHAPTER 5
NARRATIVE

Orientation to Narrative

The following narrative, entitled "Pushing the Boundaries of Work and Play," is

based on four employees' accounts of their experiences working at PUSH, an Orlando

advertising agency. The story follows two members of the Creative Department, Gary

and Matthew, as they prepare for and pitch to a large prospective client. The story

illustrates how PUSH brings fun into the workplace, as well as how this influences the

creative process.

Gary is a Senior Copywriter at PUSH, responsible for concepting ideas, writing

copy for ad campaigns, and assisting junior copywriters. As an experienced copywriter

in his early thirties, Gary has worked at PUSH for approximately three years. On the

other hand, Matthew is in his late forties and a Partner with the company after joining a

few years earlier. Matthew is also the Creative Director, responsible for overseeing the

quality and strategic direction of creative work at PUSH.

Pushing the Boundaries of Work and Play

Gary glanced down at his watch. It was 11:43 PM and he was still at work.
Rubbing his sore neck, he couldn't recall the last time he had stopped to take a break. It
was no surprise that Gary's body was aching. He was standing on a ladder in the middle
of the conference room taping newspapers to the wall. Not alone in this endeavor, about
eight of Gary's coworkers at PUSH surrounded him, forming an assembly line to tape
and hang the papers.
The goal of this seemingly odd project was to prepare the office for a meeting
with a prospective client at 9:00 AM the following morning. Not just any client, this was
the largest newspaper in the Orlando area, The Orlando Sentinel. This would be a major
account to land. For that reason, PUSH decided to go all out by wallpapering the entire
conference room with copies of the newspaper.









Section by section, the bright blue conference room walls were rapidly
disappearing as they transformed into a giant collage of newspapers. As Gary reached
down for Sarah to hand him the next sheet, he realized that she was not paying attention,
too busy snacking on a slice of pizza. "Sarah!" he said, "I need another page to put up!
And get me a beer while you're at it." She laughed and retrieved both items for Gary.
There was an electric feeling in the office that night. Employees from all
departments were pitching in to prepare the office for the next morning. Outside in the
parking lot, workers were cutting particleboard and then fastening it to the reception
desk, transforming it into a newspaper stand complete with papers, magazines, and
candies. Back inside, other employees were scurrying around placing doormats at the
entrances to all 36 workspaces, each with a copy of the Sentinel deposited on top.
Gary felt exhausted, yet excited to be part of such a large and exciting project.



How did PUSH come up with all of these crazy ideas? Gary began thinking back.
Well, this certainly wasn't the first time they had transformed the conference room to
impress a client. There was the time they were pitching to a lawn company and covered
the entire conference room floor in fresh sod. That was backbreaking work, carrying
those huge pallets up the stairs of the old building. And man did it smell. But at the end
of the day, PUSH sold the client on their company and landed a major account.
With the Orlando Sentinel pitch, it began one afternoon while Gary was sitting at
his bright yellow workstation checking his e-mail. Partner and Creative Director
Matthew walked up the aisle of the creative department, stopping in the center near
Gary's desk.
"Hey everyone, why don't you all gather around for a few minutes?" The low
walls allowed the whole creative group to hear the announcement, and they quickly
assembled together. Gary stood up and leaned against his workstation half-wall, curious
to see what the impromptu meeting was about.
"The Orlando Sentinel pitch is coming up soon. We need to come up with
something big to catch their attention" Matthew announced. "This is a huge project so
it's critical that we win this account," Matthew added in a serious tone. Gary could hear
the stress in Matthew's voice.
Just then, a small bright red object sailed over one of the cubicle walls, hitting
Matthew squarely on the head. It was a spongy stress ball, one of many that the PUSH
employees had gotten from a recent trade show. The entire group burst out laughing,
along with Dan, the employee who had thrown it.
Matthew hurled the ball back at Dan, causing a stress ball war to quickly ensue.
The whole creative group got involved, throwing balls and ducking behind workstations
to avoid getting hit. After about five minutes, the group sensed that the surrounding
employees, who were trying to concentrate on their work, were starting to get annoyed.
The group stopped goofing around and reconvened together.
A bit more relaxed, Matthew continued "So, as I was saying, we need to come up
with something really impressive to grab their attention as soon as they walk in the door.
Do you have any ideas?"









The group tossed ideas around for about ten minutes before hitting on one they
really liked.
Thinking back to the time they covered the conference room floor with sod, Gary
said, "What if we cover the whole conference room with newspapers? It could be all
over the walls and the floor!"
"Its an interesting idea, but walking all over their product might not send the best
message" someone rebutted. Gary agreed.
"But.. ." Matthew added, "What about if we just cover the conference room
walls with newspaper?" Growing more excited, he said, "It would look like custom
Orlando Sentinel wallpaper."
"Yeah!" several in the group responded. Everyone agreed it was a great idea, so
they decided to go for it.
Building from that concept, the other ideas came quickly. Dan said, "What if we
build a newspaper stand in the lobby? Or better yet, turn the reception desk into a
newsstand!"
"Yeah!"
Then someone else said "We should put welcome mats in front of each
workstation so it looks like each one is the entrance to a house. And then we should put
newspapers on every mat so it looks like the Sentinels were just delivered!" Another
great idea.
Within twenty minutes, the whole plan was put together. The group agreed that
this was a surefire way to wow the Orlando Sentinel executives.
As the idea spread across the office, excitement mounted as the details were
worked out. Every time Gary mentioned the idea to someone, they would say "Wow! I
want to be a part of that. Sign me up." Even those employees completely unrelated to
the Sentinel project wanted to pitch in.
Reflecting on all of their ideas now becoming a reality, Gary wished he could be
there to see the Orlando Sentinel's reaction. Unfortunately, he would be out of the office
in the morning, helping with a recording session for another ad campaign. But he knew
that Matthew and the other partners would make a great pitch. He had a feeling they
would blow the Orlando Sentinel executives away.



Groggy from the previous late night, Matthew blinked hard, trying to focus on the
task ahead. The Orlando Sentinel group was due to arrive any minute now. In his head,
Matthew was trying to rehearse his part of the pitch, explaining the superior creative
capabilities found at PUSH.
Looking around at the space, Matthew couldn't believe everything the employees
had accomplished the previous night. The reception desk now stood as a convincing
newspaper stand, complete with all of the Orlando Sentinel products, as well as a variety
of candies. The conference room showed no signs of its original blue wall color. It was
now covered in newspapers up to the ceiling. "Its fantastic" thought Matthew who was
becoming reenergized.









Just then, two older men and a conservatively dressed younger woman arrived
from the Orlando Sentinel. When they walked into the lobby and saw the newsstand,
their eyes all widened in surprise. They stood there stunned for a moment, taking it all in.
The woman was the first to break the silence. "This is amazing! I can't believe you did
all of this." The men concurred, nodding in agreement.
Matthew and the other partners introduced themselves and then led the Orlando
Sentinel group into the conference room for the pitch. Once again, the prospective clients
were clearly impressed. "I really didn't expect this," one of the men said. "You really
know how to get our attention."
During the pitch, the PUSH partners carefully laid out all of the reasons why the
Orlando Sentinel should give their advertising campaign to PUSH. They explained the
agency's capabilities in brand strategy, advertising, design, and media. Each point was
underscored with examples of successful campaigns they had done for other companies.
At the end of the presentation, Matthew and the other partners capped off the pitch with a
tour of the office. Interestingly, this was a selling technique that PUSH always used.
The fun and innovative office design really showed clients what the company was all
about- that this wasn't just a run-of-the-mill ad agency.
The clients were excited to see the doormats in front of each workspace, replete
with the latest copy of the Sentinel. After the initial excitement subsided, the prospective
clients focused on the design of the office. The bright colors, bold artwork, and the
overall dynamic feeling of the space enthused the group. They all agreed that their own
office space mundane compared to the environment at PUSH. "Can I move in?" the
woman joked.


After the Orlando Sentinel executives left and the adrenaline subsided, Matthew
felt a sense of relief. The pitch had gone well. Moreover, the clients had been impressed
by the newspaper-themed lobby and conference room. The PUSH team had really
worked hard and come together to show the clients the creativity and performance that
defined their company.
Yet in the week ahead, Matthew felt his uncertainty growing with each passing
day. The pitch was good, but was it good enough? Would the clients base their decision
on PUSH's creative presentation? Or would they choose to go with a more conventional
and established advertising agency? Matthew tried to push his doubts aside. Only time
would tell.


Exactly two weeks later, PUSH received a large manila envelope from the
Orlando Sentinel. Matthew and the other partners gathered around the unopened
envelope, anxious to learn what was inside. "This is it" Matthew though to himself.
The seal was torn off and inside was a copy of the Sentinel newspaper, with a
large headline reading "PUSH wins Sentinel Account!"
The news spread quickly across the office, with everyone cheering and
congratulating one another on the success. Gary was especially excited, having
participated in the pitch preparations. He was one of the first employees to lead the way
into the kitchen.









Soon the whole office filled the kitchen, surrounding the central table. As was the
tradition, someone grabbed a bottle of tequila and began pouring shots into glasses. Gary
helped to pass the drinks around. Within minutes, everyone who wanted to take a shot
was holding one, including all three PUSH partners.
"To the Orlando Sentinel!" someone yelled out.
"To the Orlando Sentinel!" the group replied, clinking their shot glasses together
in celebration.
Everyone downed their tequila shots in unison, coughing and making pained faces
afterwards.
"Cheer up everyone" Matthew said. "Now that we have the account, the real fun
begins."


Interpretation

The narrative "Pushing the Boundaries of Work and Play" illustrates the creative

process at PUSH, following two employees as they prepare for a pitch and successfully

win a large client. The two main characters in the story are Gary, a copywriter and

Matthew, a partner and creative director. Through these characters' experiences one can

see the role of interior design in promoting workplace fun, particularly aimed at

improving creativity and job satisfaction.

The narrative can be divided into five major themes based on the model of fun in

the workplace (Figure 5-1). These themes are: (1) fun and worker characteristics, (2) fun

and the physical setting, (3) fun and management style, (4) fun and creativity, (5) fun and

job satisfaction (6) fun and stress, and (7) fun and client relations.

When examining the relationship betweenfun and worker characteristics in the

narrative, the two main characters must first be analyzed. Beginning with age and job

level, Gary is in his late twenties and a middle-level employee, while Matthew is in his

mid-forties and one of the three partners at PUSH. Yet despite the differences in age and

job level, both employees participate in the same fun activities, including a stress ball









fight and a tequila shot. Yet what remains to be seen is if Matthew would pull rank if the

fun got out of hand.

When exploring gender, both main characters are male and represent a male

perspective, while the female perspective is somewhat overlooked. The reason for this is

that the story focuses on the Creative department, which is made up of mostly males.

Therefore, it is difficult to compare male and female perspectives of fun in this particular

workplace. Nevertheless, some females are included, such as Sarah who assists in the

conference room transformation and the female executive representing the Orlando

Sentinel.

The narrative also illustrates that not all employees are comfortable with

spontaneous acts of fun in the workplace. In the scene where the creative team is having

a stress ball fight, they eventually notice that other employees are becoming annoyed by

the distraction. While for some the annoyance may be caused by a need to concentrate, it

also suggests that some employees may have individual characteristics that make them

less supportive of fun in the workplace.

The next concept explored in the narrative is fun and the physical setting. This

topic is examined as fun activities take place throughout the PUSH office environment.

The conference room is the first setting for fun as employees enthusiastically prepare the

space for the Orlando Sentinel pitch. While this is not an area that facilitates fun on a

daily basis, it shows how employees can take a space traditionally used for meetings and

turn it into a fun setting with pizza and beer.

The conference room also demonstrates how PUSH frequently changes the

physical environment to suit its clients, an idea not often utilized in business. The main









example provided is the Orlando Sentinel pitch, transformed with a newspaper-covered

conference room and a newsstand reception desk. However, references are also made to

an occasion when PUSH covered the conference room floor in sod when pitching to a

lawn company. This suggests that PUSH frequently transforms their physical setting to

create a fun atmosphere for clients.

Next, the narrative shows how the open workspaces facilitate fun at PUSH, as

represented in the brainstorming session. First, the open workstations allow everyone to

hear one another, illustrated when Matthew announces an impromptu meeting, which

gathers the entire creative team's attention at once. The open workspace also allows the

employees to gather together informally for the brainstorming session. Next, the

workstations are depicted as the site of the stress ball fight, with employees ducking and

hiding behind the low-height walls. While this is not the intention of the space, it shows

how the low walls encourage interaction, whether it is through the exchanging of ideas

or, in this case, the playful throwing of balls.

On the other hand, the open workstations had several disadvantages. These spaces

provide little privacy and can cause employees to become distracted by surrounding noise

and activity. The narrative illustrates this difficulty during the stress ball fight when

certain employees become irritated by the distraction. As a result, the creative team

halted their game in consideration of the other employees.

The final physical setting that supports fun in the narrative is the kitchen. With its

large size, this environment allows the whole office to gather together in celebration after

the pitch is won. Also, designed as a space for activities involving food, the kitchen

provides an ideal setting for the group as they take a victorious shot of tequila.









Next, the relationship between fun and management style is seen through the

character of Matthew. As a partner with the company, one might expect Matthew to

generally remain in his office dealing with important management issues. However,

Matthew does not hesitate to participate in fun activities with the rest of the employees.

In the narrative, he can be seen instigating the stress ball fight, as well as participating in

the tequila shot. This shows that the management style at PUSH is casual and supportive

of fun in the workplace. However, the partners also have corer offices, which shows

that they retain a certain level of hierarchy.

The next theme explored by the narrative is the relationship between fun and

creativity. This concept is mainly depicted in the brainstorming session used to generate

ideas for the Orlando Sentinel pitch. At the beginning of the session, someone throws a

stress ball at Matthew, starting a fight that lasts about five minutes. This serves as an

icebreaker for the group, helping them to get into a fun and creative state of mind. The

technique appears successful, because after the game, the employees come up with a

number of creative ideas for the pitch.

The narrative also explores the relationship betweenfun and employee satisfaction.

While these ideas are not directly stated, the employees at PUSH appear to be generally

upbeat and enthusiastic about their jobs, as supported by the JIG data. The employees'

eagerness to pitch in with preparations for the pitch shows that they are excited about the

project and anticipate that it will be an enjoyable experience. Furthermore, the

employees' willingness to stay late at work shows their dedication to the company and its

success.









The narrative also explores some additional outcomes of fun in the workplace, not

represented in the model. First, the story illustrates how fun can be used as a means of

reducing stress. In the scene where Matthew is explaining the importance of winning the

Orlando Sentinel account, his level of stress becomes evident. As a result, one of the

employees hits him with a soft stress ball, inciting a stress ball fight. This helps him to

put things in perspective, and at the end of the game, Matthew finds himself calmer and

more relaxed about the issue. Playful activities such as this can allow employees to

temporarily take their minds away from stressful situations and allow them to return with

a cleared head.

In the narrative, another outcome of the fun atmosphere at PUSH was that the

clients became involved in the fun too. With the amusing transformation of the reception

desk into a newsstand and the conference room wallpapered in newspapers, the Orlando

Sentinel executives sensed the fun attitude that embodied PUSH. As a result, the Sentinel

was inspired to continue with the imaginative and fun experience at its own workplace.

Instead of calling or sending a letter to PUSH letting them know they won the account,

the Sentinel creatively made the announcement on the headline of a newspaper. This

demonstrates how a fun workplace can inspire others to become more fun and innovative.

Conclusion

The narrative entitled "Pushing the Boundaries of Work and Play" captures a true

experience of how PUSH uses the creative process to develop and implement strategic

ideas. The story vividly illustrates how the workplace is transformed to secure a large

client account, as well as demonstrates the results of this transformation. Furthermore, it

shows how fun in the workplace affects PUSH employees, as well as the prospective

clients.






65


Given the complexity of this narrative, the central themes were categorized

according to the model of fun in the workplace. The primary surfacing themes were: fun

and worker characteristics, fun and the physical setting, fun and management style, fun

and creativity, fun and job satisfaction, fun and stress, and fun and client relations. By

allowing these multi-faceted themes to blend together in one story, the narrative provided

a comprehensive picture of fun in the workplace at PUSH.














CHAPTER 6
DISCUSSION

This study addressed how interior design related to fun in the workplace and what

experience this created for employees. It also examined the relationship between a fun

workplace and employee perceptions of creativity and job satisfaction. Finally, it

investigated the link between individual characteristics and management style on having

fun at work.

This study was based on the model of workplace fun in Figure 3-1. In order to

understand each of the six factors, a number of data collection methods were combined.

These included qualitative methods including interviews, observations, photographs, and

floorplans as well as quantitative methods including surveys assessing creativity and job

satisfaction.

The results of this study provide evidence that the factors of the model are linked

together. Worker characteristics, management style, and the physical setting can all be

related to fun in the workplace at PUSH. The outcomes of high creativity and job

satisfaction can be found at the company as well. Overall, the findings of this study

support a multi-dimensional model for fun in the workplace.

The narrative "Pushing the Boundaries of Work and Play" is the final piece that ties

all of the model's factors together as a real-life example showing how worker

characteristics, management style, and the physical work setting come together to make

PUSH a fun workplace and relate it to creativity and job satisfaction. Worker

characteristics are examined by age, gender, and job level, while management style









explores the roles of the company's partners. Finally the narrative shows how the

physical work setting affords fun in terms of both design and functionality.

The Social Environment at PUSH

Company Profile

Founded in 1996, PUSH is a relatively new advertising agency. With nine years in

the industry, the company has established a name for itself; however, it is not yet steeped

in traditions. Having grown steadily since its inception, PUSH has grown from XX to 42

employees. This is large enough for the company to provide a wide range of services, yet

small enough for everyone to know one another.

This combination of a new business, along with a relatively small staff, may

explain the competitive advantage PUSH has over older, more established companies.

This is evident in the company's vision statement, which encourages creativity, clarity,

and fearlessness. It can also be seen in PUSH's ad campaigns, which have a young and

imaginative tenor. For example, in the Middleton Lawn & Pest Control campaign, PUSH

created a series of digitally animated TV spots featuring Middleton's frog icon. In one

ad, the talking frog destroys an obnoxious cockroach using a ray gun.

The numerous ADDY awards won by PUSH suggest that the company is highly

respected in their industry. These awards also suggest that PUSH's risk-taking and fun-

promoting ideals have been successful. It would be interesting to investigate if the

company retains these ideals as it matures over time.

Employee Demographics

With a range from 23 to 48, the mean age of PUSH employees surveyed was 31.89

years old, reinforcing the relatively young workforce. In part, this can be explained as a

standard of the advertising business. As stated by one of the PUSH partners, companies









often prefer to hire young employees because they have fresh ideas and are more in touch

with young consumers. In fact, as creative advertising employees get older, they are

often expected to switch to other areas of the field. Nevertheless, the low age of PUSH

employees may contribute to the company's fun and innovative work culture. However,

this is not the only factor, as mangers must also retain a youthful attitude as they create

the policies that shape the work culture.

In terms of gender, 45.7% of the participating employees were male and 54.3%

were female. This is a closely balanced ratio of men to women, with a slightly higher

number of women. As a result, the general findings of this study are unaffected by

gender and apply equally to both men and women. However, it is important to note that

PUSH does not have any female partners, meaning that gender may affect the

management style.

When examining education level, nearly three-fourths (74.3%) of PUSH employees

were college graduates. In addition to this, 14.3% of employees attended some graduate

school or received a graduate degree. Therefore, in total, 88.6% of PUSH employees

received some college degree. In addition, no employees were hired with simply a high

school diploma. This suggests that, as a whole, PUSH employees were well educated.

The greatest percentage of employees completing the survey for this research

(42.9%, n=15) listed Advertising/Public Relations as their field of study. This is not

surprising since PUSH is an advertising agency. The remaining respondents (57.1%,

n=20) were evenly distributed between Art/Design, Marketing, Communications,

Business, and Other. Since most of these fields are closely related to advertising, this









suggests that most PUSH employees attended school with plans to enter the advertising

business.

Finally, company tenure was examined at PUSH. Approximately one-third of the

workers had 6-9 years tenure, while three-fourths of the workers had five years or less.

This is indicative of the company's growth since its inception in 1996. It shows that a

quarter of PUSH employees remained with the company since its first few years in

business, while the majority was hired later as the company grew.

Based on the demographic data, a general picture can be painted of the employees

working at PUSH. In sum, the employees are young, balanced between males and

females, and have worked at PUSH for five years or less. They also have a college

degree and went to school with intentions of entering the advertising business.

Creativity

PUSH places a high premium on creativity; yet there are many different types of

creativity within organizations. According to the Wise (2003) model of organizational

creativity, businesses can fall into four different categories: Technical Artists, Artists,

Inventors, and Distributors and Adaptors. Based on observations, PUSH falls into the

Artists category, which combines high aesthetic creativity with low technological

creativity. This is because PUSH uses high levels of aesthetic creativity when creating ad

campaigns, and although they use computer technology to aid this process, they are not

responsible for inventing the technology.

To learn about employee perceptions of creativity at PUSH, KEYS: Assessing the

Climatefor Creativity, developed by Teresa M. Amabile, was utilized. First, this was

used to test the assumption that PUSH is a creative organization. Second, the survey

determined the stimulants and obstacles to creativity, as well as the outcomes. Finally,









the survey allowed the company to be compared to others, determining where it falls

compared to national norms.

PUSH employee scores were compared to the KEYS norms for each of the survey's

ten subscales. After reversing the two obstacles to creativity scores (so that a higher

score represented a lack of obstacles) the scales were categorized as follows: three scales

fell into the Very High range, two scales fell in the High range, four scales fell in the

Middle range, and one score fell in-between the High and Middle ranges. None of the

overall PUSH scores fell into the Low or Very Low ranges. Each of the six stimulants to

creativity, two obstacles to creativity, and two outcome scales is addressed in further

detail below.

When examining the KEYS results, the highest scoring subscale at PUSH was

Organizational Encouragement of Creativity. This was defined as "an organizational

culture that encourages creativity through fair, constructive judgment of ideas, reward

recognition for creative work, mechanisms for developing new ideas, an active flow of

ideas, and a shared vision of what the organization is trying to do" (Amabile et al., 1999,

p. 15). PUSH scored in the 82nd percentile for this scale, falling into the Very High

category. Therefore, the organizational encouragement of creativity appears to be one of

PUSH's greatest strengths.

The KEYS subscale with the second highest score was the lack of Organizational

Impediments. This was defined as "An organizational culture that impedes creativity

through internal political problems, harsh criticism of new ideas, destructive internal

competition, an avoidance of risk, and on overemphasis on the status quo" (Amabile et al,

1999, p. 15). PUSH received a mean score of 75, which also fell into the Very High









category. PUSH's encouragement of risk-taking may be a large reason for such a high

score on this scale.

Also scoring highly was the lack of Workload Pressure, described as "Extreme time

pressures, unrealistic expectations for productivity, and distractions from creative work"

(Amabile et al, 1999, p. 15). PUSH scored a mean of 62, placing them in the Very High

range. This suggests that PUSH places less workload pressure on employees than the

majority of companies. The time taken out of the workday to facilitate fun activities may

contribute to this.

The next subscale was Supervisory Encouragement of Creativity, defined as "A

supervisor who serves as a good work model, sets goals appropriately, supports the work

group, values individual contributions, and shows confidence in the work group"

(Amabile et al, 1999, p. 15). For this scale, PUSH scored in the 61st percentile, just

falling into the Very High range. This suggests that PUSH supervisors are better than

most at encouraging creativity in their employees.

The next subscale was Productivity; defined as "An efficient, effective, and

productive organization or unit" (Amabile et al, 1999, p. 16). PUSH scored in the 59th

percentile for this scale, falling at the upper end of the High range. This shows that

PUSH employees rate their productivity as being higher than average. However, since

this is a self-reported measure, it would be informative to learn if an objective measure of

productivity reinforced these results.

Work Group Supports was the next highest subscale assessed by the KEYS survey.

Amabile defined this as "A diversely skilled workgroup in which people communicate

well, are open to new ideas, constructively challenge each other's work, trust and help









each other, and feel committed to the work they are doing" (1999, p. 15). Compared to

KEYS norms, PUSH scored in the 57th percentile, falling into the High range. Therefore,

it can be ascertained that PUSH employees are successful in supporting one another.

The outcome scale of Creativity followed Work Group Supports. Creativity was

defined as "A creative organization or unit, where a great deal of creativity is called for

and where people believe that they actually produce creative work" (Amabile et al, 1999,

p. 16). PUSH received a score of 54.94, which was rounded up to the 55th percentile.

According to the KEYS manual a score of 45-55 is Mid-range, while 55-60 is considered

High. Due to this discrepancy, the PUSH score for Creativity falls into both the Middle

and High categories.

The finding that creativity was in the Middle-to-High range was unexpected. Since

advertising agencies are known for high levels of creativity and PUSH has won many

awards in the field, it was predicted that the business would have a Very High score.

Using two means of further analysis, this unexpected finding was clarified.

First, the scores were compared by departments, with the creative departments

(n=19) scoring in the 65th percentile and the non-creative departments (n=15) scoring in

the 42nd percentile. This showed that the employees responsible for PUSH's creative

campaigns had a Creativity score in the Very High category, as expected. However,

employees with jobs in other departments had a Creativity score in the Low category.

These findings suggest that employees in the non-creative departments perceive fewer

opportunities for creativity.

Next, the Creativity subscale was broken down by individual items. The highest

scoring item was for group creativity, with a mean score of 61 (n=34). On the other









hand, the lowest scoring item was for respondents' individual creativity, with a mean

score of 44 (n=35). This suggests that PUSH employees feel the group is very creative as

whole, but do not consider themselves as creative individuals.

Another subscale that was scored lower than most at PUSH was Sufficient

Resources. This construct was defined as "Access to appropriate resources, including

funds, materials, facilities, and information" (Amabile et al, 1999, p. 15). PUSH scored

in the 53rd percentile, falling into the Middle range. This suggests that PUSH provides

average resources for its employees.

The next subscale examined was Freedom, described as "Freedom in deciding what

work to do or how to do it; a sense of control over one's work" (Amabile et al, 1999, p.

15). PUSH scored in the 47th percentile, a Mid-range score. While close to the database

average, Freedom was one of PUSH's lowest scores. This suggests that there is room for

improvement in the amount of freedom that PUSH gives to employees.

Finally came Challenging Work, defined as "A sense of having to work hard on

challenging tasks and important projects" (Amabile et al, 1999, p. 15). For this subscale,

PUSH was placed in the 48th percentile. Although this was a Mid-range score,

Challenging Work was the lowest scoring scale for PUSH. This may be related to the

lack of workload pressure at PUSH. Nevertheless, this is the creativity stimulant in

greatest in need of improvement for the company.

Job Satisfaction

To investigate overall job satisfaction at PUSH, the Job in General scale was used.

In addition to assessing employee satisfaction in absolute terms (e.g. satisfied vs. not

satisfied), this survey allowed the company to be compared to national averages from









other companies. Furthermore, it allowed the study to examine if fun in the workplace

would be associated with higher job satisfaction levels at PUSH.

Using the JIG scale to assess job satisfaction at PUSH, significant results were

found. All 35 respondents received scores falling into the satisfied range, with nine

respondents receiving the highest possible score for satisfaction. When comparing the

PUSH data to national norms by category, PUSH employees scored in the 80th and 90th

percentile for nearly all of the categories. For example, as a for-profit organization,

PUSH scored in the 85th percentile compared to other companies. These findings

indicate that fun in the workplace is in fact linked to high job satisfaction at PUSH. The

other JIG norm categories are examined in further detail below.

First, what impact did company tenure have on job satisfaction? Employees with

less than five years at PUSH scored in the 81st to 83rd percentile, while employees with

six to nine years at PUSH scored in the 90th percentile. This may be explained by the

company's recent formation as those employees who have been with the company since

its inception may take pride in helping to bring about its success. The explanation may

also be that employees who have been with the company longer generally have higher-

ranking positions and larger salaries. Finally, the scores may reflect that less satisfied

employees leave the company, while those who are more satisfied remain.

When comparing PUSH satisfaction levels by age, employees were divided into six

different categories: less than 25, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, and 45-49. The two age

groups with the highest scores compared JIG norms were those less than 25 (in the 98th

percentile) and those 35-39 (in the 99th percentile). The lowest scoring employees were









those 40-44, with a score in the 33rd percentile. This score was drastically lower than the

rest at PUSH, without any clear explanation.

One possibility is that the employees from 40 to 44 are older than the majority at

PUSH, yet have not moved up to the managerial level, causing them some dissatisfaction.

Another explanation may be that this age group has a difficult time balancing high

demands at both home and work, leading to lowerjob satisfaction. Finally, it is possible

that these scores are simply skewed as a result of the small sample size (n=5).

When examining education levels at PUSH, the mean scores for all three levels

(some college, college degree, and graduate degree) fell between 50 and 51. Compared

to JIG norms, the most satisfied employees were those with a college degree, in the 85th

percentile. Next, those with some college fell into the 83rd percentile, while those with a

graduate degree were in the 76th percentile.

Finally, the impact of gender on employee satisfaction was examined. Males had a

mean score of 51, which placed them in the 87th percentile. Meanwhile, females had a

mean score of 50, which placed them in the 82nd percentile. The mean scores themselves

showed little variation between males and females. However, according to the norms,

females generally had a slightly higher satisfaction level than males, whereas the opposite

was true at PUSH. This may be related to the male dominated management style or it

may be the result of a small sample size. Yet it a question that can be addressed in future

research investigations- do males and females perceive workplace fun differently from

one another?

The PUSH job satisfaction levels are not consistent with the 2005 Conference

Board findings, which state that only half of all U.S. workers are satisfied with their jobs









(U.S. job satisfaction, 2005). Since 100% of PUSH employees surveyed were satisfied,

this suggests that PUSH employees are unusually happy with their jobs. The PUSH data

offers some confirmation of the Conference Board report, which states the least satisfied

workers are between ages 35 to 44. PUSH employees between 35 and 39 had the highest

job satisfaction, while those between 40 and 44 were the least satisfied.

Overall, the job satisfaction level at PUSH was exceptionally high, as predicted.

With numerous factors that can contribute to job satisfaction, there is no way of knowing

specifically what caused the high satisfaction levels. However, there appears to be a

connection between fun in the workplace and high job satisfaction levels at PUSH. More

research is needed to learn if fun in the workplace is correlated to high job satisfaction at

other companies.

Workplace Fun

Employee perceptions of fun in the workplace were explored through interviews

with four PUSH employees. First, employees were asked what adjectives they would use

to describe their workplace to test the assumption that PUSH is a fun office environment.

All four employees described PUSH with words related to excitement, terms that most

people do not associate with work, showing that PUSH is not a typical business. In

addition, two of the employees described the workplace using the specific adjective

"fun", confirming the study's basic assumption. Further, two of the four employees

interviewed described PUSH using the term "creative," while the same number described

the workplace as "stressful." This shows that despite the exciting, fun, and creative

atmosphere, there is a sense of pressure for employees to complete their work.

The employees interviewed were also asked to define fun in the workplace, with

the most common themes relating to: enjoyment of the job, camaraderie between









employees, and freedom from rigidity and time constraints. The common theme of

enjoyment shows that PUSH employees directly relate fun to job satisfaction and this

supports a primary premise of the study. Furthermore, employees associate fun with

camaraderie or social interaction, a factor that may be related to office design through

features such as open/flexible workstations, informal meeting areas, and spaces

designated for fun activities. Finally, they associate fun with freedom to participate in

non-work related activities, a factor related to management style.

Additionally, employees were asked what they perceived to be the benefits of a fun

workplace, with responses of: increased productivity, higherjob satisfaction, and lower

stress levels. Employee perceptions of productivity were examined in the KEYS survey,

with PUSH scoring at the top of the Mid-range in relation to the KEYS database. This

suggests that there may be some relationship between fun and high productivity at PUSH.

Job satisfaction was also measured empirically at PUSH, with employees receiving

exceptionally high scores. This shows a strong relationship between fun and high

satisfaction at PUSH. Finally, the reduction of stress was not objectively examined;

however, this concept was addressed in the narrative, guided by employees' descriptions

of their experiences.

Additionally, based on a review of interview transcripts, a list was compiled of fun

activities that have taken place at PUSH. Nine fun activities were described and then

sorted into Ford's ten categories of fun activities (2003). Six of Ford's categories were

found at PUSH, with games appearing the most, followed by social events, public

celebrations of professional achievements, and humor. According to Ford's study, the

three most frequently practiced categories were (in order) personal milestones, social









events, and public celebrations of professional achievements. This shows that PUSH

incorporates more game-based activities into the workplace than other companies. The

four activities not found at PUSH were: opportunities for civic volunteerism, friendly

competitions, opportunities for personal development, and entertainment.

It is also important to note that employees themselves created many of the fun

activities at PUSH, not management. The stress ball throwing, Tippy-Tap game, and

scooter races were all spontaneously created, without any organization or instruction

from management. This demonstrates how in the right environment employees can take

it upon themselves to create a fun workplace.

The Physical Environment at PUSH

According to a literature review by Johannessen, Olsen, & Lumpkin (2001), the

most widely used definitions of innovation focused on the concepts of novelty and

newness. Based on this understanding, the physical environment of PUSH can be

described as innovative in many respects. From the exterior of the building to the

smallest interior details, PUSH's office design projects a sense that the company is

unique and special.

The building exterior, clad in gleaming stainless steel, is the first signal to visitors

that this is not an ordinary office. While one might expect to see a large high-rise

constructed in steel, to see this in a small one-story building is unexpected. Due to this

uniqueness, clients visiting PUSH for the first time can easily spot the building. In

addition, the building draws a great deal of attention from passersby, who frequently stop

inside to ask what the place is.









Entry/Lobby

When entering the building, the revolving door is the next innovative design feature

found at PUSH. While many buildings have revolving doors in Northern regions of the

United States (used to keep cold drafts out), it is extremely rare to find one in sunny

Florida. However, this feature is not simply added for the sake of novelty. What makes

the revolving door so successful is the meaning behind it- the door is always pushed and

never pulled. This type of symbolic design can be found in many areas of the PUSH

office environment.

After being compressed through the tight revolving door, visitors are released into

the expansive volume of the lobby. The lobby space is generally successful in providing

visitors with an accurate first impression of the company. Painted in PUSH's signature

chartreuse green, the lobby surprises visitors with its vivid hue, while introducing them to

the PUSH brand. Next, the modem materials (e.g. the concrete floors, exposed metal

ceiling, and sleek leather furniture) exemplify PUSH as a young and contemporary ad

agency. Finally, the artwork taken from the company's print campaigns shows their

products, while the shelves of awards illustrate the company's success.

The one element lacking from the lobby is the PUSH logo, which was intended to

be projected onto the back wall with light. However, with the light temporarily broken,

the focal point remains empty and the company name cannot be found. This illustrates

how designs relying on hi-tech devices can be impaired by technological failure.

Conference Room

The conference room is also brightly painted, using a vivid blueberry hue.

Originally painted for a client pitch that PUSH won, the company retained the color for

good luck. As a result, this color symbolizes the firm's history, as well as its success. It









is also a reminder of PUSH's tendency to transform the conference room, personalizing it

for each large prospective client.

The conference space also contains a few innovative design features. The most

prominent are the pendent lights hanging above the conference table. These fixtures,

containing adjustable arms that resemble tentacles, are unusual and offbeat. They send a

message that the company is fresh and forward-thinking. The other innovative features

are the small orange springs located at the base of the conference table legs. While these

springs are not terribly obvious, they subtlety represent the company's fun attitude.

In terms of functionality, the conference room design appears to be successful.

While the table only seats twenty, the low storage cabinets provide extra seating for

meetings where the entire PUSH staff is present (for example, Monday morning

gatherings). However, some employees are still forced to stand. This problem could be

alleviated if the storage cabinets were also added along the rear wall. It is also important

to note that the PUSH employees' willingness to hop onto the storage cabinets

demonstrates their informal approach to business meetings.

Workspaces

The mostly open plan at PUSH appears to be successful in promoting worker

communication. First, it allows employees to easily converse with neighboring

employees. Second, the plan allows for impromptu conversations as employees pass by

one another.

However, there are also a number of enclosed offices. While these spaces are not

as likely to encourage impromptu meetings, they still facilitate communication. There

are two reasons for this: (1) many of the offices lack doors and (2) employees with doors

are willing to leave them open throughout the day. Therefore, PUSH's successful









communication results from a combination of open design and employees who make

themselves accessible.

Moreover, the fact that the company's partners leave their doors open throughout

the day reveals a great deal about their management style. This communicates to

employees that they can approach the partners anytime regarding problems both large and

small. It also represents the company's non-traditional management style, in contrast to

companies where upper-management is hidden and inaccessible. On the other hand, two

of the partners have corner offices, a traditional symbol of hierarchical management.

This shows that while the partners are open and approachable, they also maintain a

certain level of hierarchy.

The workstations themselves are painted in bright hues such as yellow, orange,

green, and blue. While the bright colors found in the lobby and conference room are used

successfully, the workstation colors are not, receiving criticism from some employees. In

particular, the yellow color makes certain employees anxious. The reason bright colors

work in the lobby and conference room is that these spaces are larger and used for shorter

periods of time. In contrast, the workspaces are smaller and employees spend most of

their day in these spaces doing tasks that require concentration. As a result, for some

workers the bright colors may be overwhelming and distracting.

A more successful feature of the PUSH workspace is the opportunity employees

have for personalization. While many companies allow workers to post pictures and

personal affects, PUSH allows employees to bring in large furniture items, such as the

school desk found in one office. This level of flexibility is conducive to creative

personalities, allowing employees to imaginatively furnish and decorate their own spaces.









It also provides employees with a sense of freedom, which as stated the KEYS survey, is a

stimulant to creativity.

Another successful feature found in the workspace zone is the wall devoted to

posting current campaign ideas. Since the company has grown larger in recent years,

employees aren't always aware of what other teams are working on. The wall allows

employees to see different projects and provides an opportunity for discussion. From a

design perspective, the somewhat haphazardly posted images lend a casual feeling to the

space. They show that PUSH isn't a pristine place; it is a creative company with works

constantly in progress.

It is also important to discuss the changes made to the workspaces over the years as

PUSH grew. With numerous employees joining the company, PUSH had to build

additional workstations to accommodate this growth. While this solved the issue of

where to place employees, it resulted in less space for fun activities. For instance,

employees used to frequently play a basketball game called Tippy-Tap. However, this

ended after the new workstations were built and the basketball net was relocated to the

kitchen.

Furthermore, the PUSH office has become even more crowded in recent times,

resulting in a greater decline of fun in the workplace. With so many employees crammed

into a small space, it is difficult to participate in fun activities without disturbing those

nearby. While this does not affect organized fun activities such as Friday Happy Hours,

it does impinge on games and other spontaneous methods of fun. The PUSH case study

illustrates how important open space is to facilitating impromptu fun activities.









Kitchen

Functionally, the kitchen is successful in meeting the needs of PUSH employees. It

provides space for preparing and eating lunch, hosting gatherings such as birthday

parties, and even serves as an extra meeting area at times. In addition, the space has

become a catchall for items needing storage, such as boxes and dry-cleaning.

However, the space is aesthetically lacking when compared to the rest of the PUSH

office. With white walls and white kitchen cabinets, the space is a sharp contrast to the

bright colors found throughout the rest of the building. The kitchen design also lacks

details, such as the artwork and unusual light fixtures, found in other parts of the office.

It has a back-of-the-house appearance despite its importance as an activity gathering

space.

One innovative feature of the kitchen design is the row of tequila bottles placed

along the top of the cabinets. This is certainly an unusual item to see in a business office,

yet it holds a special meaning for employees. It represents the company's fun spirit and

tradition of taking shots after large projects are won.

Suggestions for Designers

Through interviews and on-site observations of the physical environment at PUSH,

many successful, as well as a few unsuccessful, design features were discovered. Based

on these, a list of guidelines was created for businesses and designers who wish to

promote fun in the workplace through office design. The suggestions are as follows: (1)

open/flexible workspaces, (2) design symbolism and meaning, (3) saturated hues and

color contrast, (4) fun details, (5) unusual geometries, (6) areas designated for fun, (7)

creative license for employee expression, and (8) novel lighting design.









Open and flexible workspaces can facilitate informal interaction between

employees, which can lead to spontaneous acts of fun. At PUSH, the open workstations

allow employees to have impromptu conversations as well as participate in unplanned fun

activities such as stress ball fights. However, when designing an open or flexible office,

it is necessary to provide supplementary private meeting spaces where employees can get

away from the noise and activity.

Design elements such as color, form, and detail are more successful when they hold

some symbolism or meaning for the company. For example, the revolving door at PUSH

represents the company's name as well as their goal of pushing boundaries. A fun design

for the sake of looking fun lacks the significance that can make it meaningful to

employees and clients.

Saturated and contrasting colors can be used to enliven an office space, stimulating

employees and visitors through their sense of playfulness. For instance, PUSH uses their

signature chartreuse green color in the lobby to make a large first impression on visitors.

However, designers should be careful not to use saturated colors in excess, particularly in

confined workspaces where they may become overwhelming or distracting.

Architectural or interior design details that are surprising or whimsical can bring an

element of fun to the space. PUSH has one such detail in their conference room with the

small orange springs at the base of the conference table legs. Elements such as this can

help to communicate the uniqueness of a business and spark conversations between

employees or visitors.

Unusual geometries, such as angles or curves, can be used to create a dynamic

atmosphere for employees. These forms can be incorporated into the floorplans, reflected









ceiling plans, and elevations of a space. At PUSH, the fluorescent light fixtures are not

placed in a traditional grid pattern, but hung in various angled directions to create a

dynamic ceiling plane.

Spaces designated for fun activities can encourage employees to have fun, in

addition to providing a specific area for the fun to take place. For example, when PUSH

had space for a basketball hoop in the workspace area, employees were more likely to

play basketball games than when the hoop was squeezed into the kitchen.

Employees should also be provided with the opportunity to personalize their own

workspaces. This gives them a creative outlet, as well as offering a sense of freedom.

Employee expression can also be encouraged in shared workspaces, such as the wall

space that PUSH uses to post recent campaign ideas.

Innovative methods of lighting, particularly when layered together, can be used to

create a dynamic work environment. For example, the tentacle-like pendant fixtures

found in the PUSH conference room add a surprising, yet fun element to the space.

However, it is important to keep up with the lighting maintenance, as in the case of the

PUSH lobby light, which was broken and never replaced.

Suggestions for Further Research

The narrative method was an excellent tool for expressing the composite

relationships between all six components of the workplace fun model. In addition to

exploring complex relationships, the narrative method was also able to gather a unique

collection of data. Because the interviews aimed to collect information that would lead to

writing a descriptive narrative, they produced a level of specificity and detail, as well as

tapping into emotions and behaviors that would not be otherwise gathered.









As a result, this study supports further research using the narrative method. First, it

would be informative to examine PUSH in the future to see what changes take place as

the company matures. Furthermore, it would be useful to conduct similar studies looking

at other creative businesses, perhaps in other fields such as architecture or graphic design.

This would show the variation between different companies and how they implement fun

in the workplace from an environment-behavior perspective.

Since this is a single case study examining only one business, it would be valuable

to examine the model for workplace fun on a larger scale and in a more quantitative

manner. By examining each of the factors in greater detail, the following questions can

be answered: Are there specific employee characteristics that are correlated to workplace

fun (e.g. age, gender, education)? Is there a correlation between certain design features

and fun in the workplace (e.g. open plan vs. closed plan, bright colors vs. neutral colors,

number of sq. ft. per employee)? Can certain management styles and procedures increase

the amount of fun in the workplace? Also, are outcomes such as creativity, job

satisfaction, or productivity linked to fun in the workplace?

Conclusion

The findings at PUSH support a multi-dimensional model of fun in the workplace.

Worker characteristics, management style, and the physical work setting are all related to

fun in the workplace at PUSH, while high creativity and job satisfaction levels are found

as well. Combining all of these components, the narrative "Pushing the Boundaries of

Work and Play" provides a true account of fun in the workplace as employees prepare for

a pitch with a large prospective client. In particular, the story reflects the role of office

design in supporting workplace fun and helping to secure a major client account, as well

as how this relates to employee creativity and job satisfaction.






87


In sum, PUSH provides an excellent model for researching fun in the workplace

and how it relates to office design, employee creativity, and job satisfaction. Yet, given

the lack of empirical research on the subject, this study merely scratches the surface. A

great deal of additional research is needed to gain a better understanding of workplace

fun and its possible benefits for employees and businesses. Nevertheless, this study

shows fun in the workplace to be a promising concept and supports the need for further

research on the subject.
















APPENDIX A
PARTICIPATION REQUEST LETTER


March 14, 2005

Chris Robb
PUSH
101 Ernestine Street
Orlando, FL 32801

Dear Mr. Robb:

As a Master's student at the University of Florida, I am conducting a study on the role of interior
design in promoting employee creativity and job satisfaction. My research will be carried out through
a case study, consisting of interviews, observations, and standardized tests. As your workplace has
been recognized as one of Florida's top advertising firms, I would like to request your participation in
this study.

Why do I want to profile yourfirm? First of all, I'm looking for a highly creative business. As an
award-winning advertising firm, creativity is required for your success. Secondly, the office must
have received recognition for exceptional workplace design. Your office was prominently featured in
The Inspired Workplace: Interior Designs for C ,,i,'i,' and P, ,,, I,,y. Lastly, I require a business
located in Central Florida, such as yours.

How much time will you need to commit to this? Interviews will be conducted with three to five
employees, each lasting between 30 minutes to an hour. Standardized tests for creativity and job
satisfaction will be distributed to the entire office, requiring just 25-30 minutes for both tests. Finally,
observations will take place over the course of a day or two, requiring no assistance from you.

Are there any benefits for you? Yes. All of the results from this study will be shared with you. In
particular, you will receive an overall profile of your employees' job satisfaction and creativity,
compared with national averages. Furthermore, the results of this study may be submitted for
publication in a prominent interior design journal, with your consent, promoting your business as a
national model for creative office design.

As one of the few offices in Central Florida meeting all of my criteria, your participation in this
research project would be invaluable to me. I will contact you within the week to discuss the details of
my project and answer any questions that you might have. Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

Alexandra Miller

Margaret Portillo, Ph.D.
Department Chair














APPENDIX B
INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

Standard Interview Questions

1. What is your position? What are your primary responsibilities? What is your length
of employment at PUSH? Describe your career path.

2. What adjectives would you used to describe your workplace?

Orientation: I'm conducting a study on the role of interior design in creating a fun work
environment. The goal of this study is to produce a short narrative, or story, exploring
what its like to work in a fun office environment. So the more stories you can tell and the
more detail you can get into, the better. The first part of this interview will ask some
general questions about workplace fun, then about specific occurrences at PUSH. For the
second part, I will show you some photographs of the office to get your opinions on the
office design. The third section asks some comparative questions. For the final section, I
would like to hear some specific stories about your experiences working at PUSH.

3. How would you define fun in the workplace?

4. What are the benefits of workplace fun?

5. How do you balance fun and workplace productivity?

6. Do you feel all organizations should incorporate fun into the workplace?

Core Values: Have fun. Fun plays a key role in the success of any business. Smile a
little more. Talk a little more. Spend more time together discussing what makes you feel
good about the job you're doing. If you're having fun the work will be that much better.

7. How well do you feel this part of the mission statement is realized at PUSH?

8. Can you provide a specific example?

9. What is the most notable fun activity that you have participated in at work?

Photographs: I will now show you a set of photographs taken of the PUSH office and
have you respond to these.

10. Where do fun activities take place in this space?









11. Which spaces work well? Which spaces don't?

12. How do you feel about the overall design of the office?

13. How do you think this office design compares to competitors'?

14. How does this office design compare to other offices you've worked at?

15. What are clients' reactions when seeing the office for the first time?

16. When moving into your new office, what aspects of the design would you want to
retain? What do you think could be improved?

17. Do you think the new office should be more fun, less fun, or stay the same?
Why?

18. Can you trace the development of a specific project at PUSH, including the
problems you encountered and how you overcame them?

19. Is there anything else that you would like to share?