Workers' Playtime?: Boundaries and Cynicism in a ''Culture of Fun'' Program

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The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science Workers ' Playtime? : Boundaries and Cynicism in a ' 'Culture of Fun ' ' Program
Peter Fleming Journal of Applied Behavioral Science 2005 41: 285 DOI: 10.1177/0021886305277033 The online version of this article can be found at:

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For proponents, the approach has been used to diagnose and treat a diverse set of workplace ills, including poor communication, sluggish innovation, absenteeism, antimanagement sentiment, stress, and lack of creativity. Deal and Kennedy (1999) even suggested that if the “Fun Quotient” is high in a firm, then employees “will be more willing to commit themselves . . . people will pour their hearts and souls into what they do . . . it produces better results for everyone concerned—employers, employees, and society at large” (p. 234). According to these authors, cultures that promote a childlike frivolity and playfulness are especially important today following the wave of downsizing that beleaguered corporate capitalism in the early 1990s. Perhaps echoing the current interest in corporate spirituality and enchantment (Casey, 2002; Kline & Izzo, 1999), they claimed that managers must now try to counter labor discontent by fundamentally changing the meaning of work among employees and managers alike. This article critically examines a managed culture of fun in a communications organization. It will be argued that an important aspect of this management approach is the symbolic blurring of the boundary that has traditionally demarcated work and nonwork experiences. This boundary of course has antecedents that can be traced back to the industrial revolution whereby home, lifestyle, recreation, and play were severed from the act of labor by the

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