Fun at Work & Productivity Study Methodology

Research methods

This research paper assesses how fun in the workplace can foster job satisfaction, employee performance, productivity, and collaboration, hence the overall organizational performance. This goal will be achieved by considering diverse research concepts and techniques. Some of the core aspects are illustrated herein.

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Research technique

The study will be based on the mixed/hybrid research design, which means that both qualitative and quantitative research designs will be adopted. The rationale of integrating the two research designs is to improve the quality of the study. The qualitative research design will aid in collecting substantial and relevant data from the field. The relevance of the data will be improved by the view that it will be collected from natural settings. The relevance of the data will arise from the fact that the respondents will not be constrained to respond in a pre-determined manner. Moreover, qualitative research design will provide the researcher with an opportunity to adjust the research plan, hence enriching the collected data. This goal will be made possible by the integration of open-ended questionnaires. In this form of questionnaires, respondents will have the freedom to express their views without restrictions. Therefore, this aspect will allow the researcher to collect elaborate data.

Despite the above strengths, one of the inherent threats associated with the qualitative research design is that the quality of the data collected might be affected by subjectivity, which might arise from the researchers’ biased views. This aspect might make the research data collected to be skewed. The respondents’ information is subject to bias because individuals have preconceptions concerning different issues in life. In addition, the respondents might decide to give biased information deliberately in a bid to cover their personal personality issues. Therefore, such data is highly subjective.

On the other side, quantitative research design will aid in testing the research hypothesis and theories, hence generalizing the findings. Moreover, using the quantitative research design will aid in developing a statistical analysis of the relationship between the various research variables. The quantitative research design will also ensure that the research findings are presented and interpreted effectively to the target audience due to the different quantitative measures used. Thus, the design incorporates objectivity in the research process. However, the effective application of the quantitative research design will require the researcher to incorporate a large sample size in order to gain a high level of statistical accuracy. Therefore, the research process will be tedious and time-consuming.

Threats to reliability and validity

The researcher is focused on ensuring that the research findings are credible. This goal will be achieved by focusing on the concepts of reliability and validity. Trustworthiness includes the steadiness of a dimension, while legitimacy refers to the reality of the data collected from the field. During the research process, it is imperative for researchers to consider three types of validity, which include instrument validity, external validity, and internal validity. On the other hand, legitimacy involves the extent to which the results of a particular work can be extrapolated or applied to the total research participants. Apparatus legitimacy refers to the applicability of the research tool in determining the intended aspects. Internal reliability involves the differences or relationships amongst the research variables under study.

The credibility of the study might be hindered by threats to validity and reliability. One of the major threats entails subject characteristics, which might arise from the diverse characteristics of the selected respondents. For example, some respondents might conceal some of the data being requested. In a bid to control this threat, the researcher will gather detailed information regarding the subject characteristics. Secondly, reliability and validity might be affected by mortality, which means that some of the selected respondents might drop out of the research study. The respondents will be involved in this study on a voluntary basis, and thus coercion of any form will be avoided. Therefore, individuals will be in a position to leave the study at will, which increases the probability of mortality. This aspect might affect the researcher’s ability to collect the required data. This threat will be managed by sustaining comprehensive information on the subject characteristics. Consequently, the researcher will be in a position to replace the subject characteristics effectively and efficiently within a short duration in a bid to ensure continuity coupled with avoiding gaps in data collection. In addition to the above threats, the reliability and validity of the study might be affected by poor instrumentation such as data collector bias. The researcher may be biased due to personal characteristics. However, this threat will be eliminated by developing adequate knowledge on how to eliminate bias.

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Constructs

In the course of conducting the study, a number of constructs will be considered. These constructs include:

  1. Fun activities – these will entail the various categories of activities that have been incorporated by the organization in an effort to create fun in the workplace. This construct will mainly include diverse stress-relieving activities such as games.
  2. Socialization – this construct will refer to the degree to which the organizations’ employees interact with co-workers (Choi, Kwon & Kim, 2013).
  3. Experienced fun – this construct will refer to the degree to which employees experience fun at the workplace (Tews, Michel, Xu & Drost, 2015).
  4. Work engagement – this construct will focus on the employees’ emotional, physical, and cognitive dimensions of workers’ engagement. This construct will enable the researcher to evaluate the employees’ ‘energy’ in executing their job roles. It also measures the employees’ level of motivation, albeit indirectly.
  5. Constituent attachment – the researcher will use this construct in determining the degree of organizational identification amongst employees. Subsequently, it will be possible to determine the likelihood of employees continuing working within a given organization (Cole, Oliver & Blaviesciunaite, 2014).

Operational definition of variables and measurement

In a bid to undertake effective measurement, a number of operational variables will be considered as explored under this section.

Employee satisfaction will be measured by evaluating the number of days that a worker gets to his or her workplace on time per month. This variable will be measured using a 5-point Likert Scale, where 1= not at all satisfied, while 5= extremely satisfied.

The motivation variable will refer to the extent to which employees execute the assigned job roles efficiently and effectively and with minimal supervision.

Fun activities will be measured by rating the frequency with which the employees engage and experience the diverse fun activities at the workplace. The measurement will be achieved by using a 5 point Likert Scale, where 1= never, while 5= very frequently.

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The concept of socialization will be evaluated by assessing the nature of the relationship amongst the organizations’ employees. In a bid to achieve this goal, the researcher will develop a measurement scale that will be based on the statement ‘we treat co-workers as acquaintances and joke with each other. The employees’ opinion on this statement will be measured using a 5-point scale, where a score of 1= never, while 5= all the time. This measure will aid in determining the extent to which socialization has been integrated as a source of fun in the workplace.

Experienced fun at the workplace will be assessed using a Likert Scale, which will be based on the statement ‘I really have fun at the workplace’. This assertion will be measured using 5 points, where 1 = strongly disagree and 5 = strongly agree. Similarly, work engagement will be evaluated using the 5-point Likert Scale, which will be based on the statement ‘I feel very engaged at the workplace’. A score of 1 = strongly disagree, while 5 = strongly agree.

The constituent attachment will be evaluated by analyzing the extent to which employees have developed a valuable relationship with the organization and its people. Thus, this indirect construct will be evaluated using the Likert Scale in order to assess the varying opinion of the respondents. A scale of 5 points will be used where 1 =no valuable relationship with the organization, while 5 = strong and valuable relationship with the organization.

Sample population

The researcher recognizes the importance of effective data collection. Thus, effective identification of the sample study will be undertaken. The study population will be comprised of Wal-Mart employees, which is a well-established retail firm. The choice of Wal-Mart was based on two main factors, which include the size and composition of their workforce. Wal-Mart has a substantial workforce, which means that the researcher will be in a position to construct the required research sample successfully. In order to ensure that the study’s findings are representative of the prevailing conditions at the workplace, both for-profit and not-for-profit organizations will be considered. This approach will improve the probability of generalizing the research findings. For example, the researcher will collect data on how and the extent to which private and public entities have incorporated the concept of fun in the workplace.

The choice of different organizations is informed by the fact that it will provide the researcher with an opportunity to integrate the concept of diversification. For example, the researcher will consider employees of different demographic characteristics such as age, gender, ethnicity, and level of education. The sample population will be comprised of employees aged between 25 years and over 50 years working within Wal-Mart. Taking into consideration employees belonging to different age groups will improve the likelihood of gathering varied data on the concept of fun in the workplace. The study will eliminate discrimination based on gender and ethnicity. This goal will be achieved by incorporating both males and females. Moreover, employees will not be discriminated against based on their cultural backgrounds such as origin, sexual orientation, and nationality. The decision to integrate diverse cultural dimensions arises from the recognition of the view that organizations are culturally diverse entities. By considering these dimensions, the researcher will be in a position to develop a broad perspective on how fun is applied at the workplace. Thus, the probability of enriching the research findings will be enhanced significantly.

Sampling technique

The researcher appreciates that resource constraints with reference to time and money influence the research outcome. Most research studies are conducted under minimal resources. In a bid to deal with this challenge, the researcher will undertake effective resource management. This goal will be achieved by integrating the concept of sampling. This study will be based on the probability sampling technique in order to take into account the heterogeneous nature of the study population. Probability sampling will improve the likelihood of designing a representative study sample, which will be achieved by eliminating bias in the process of constructing the sample. Through this approach, all employees in the identified organizations have the same probability of being selected as respondents. Random selection of the respondents will ensure that all employees have an equal chance of being included in the study. Furthermore, a simple random sampling technique will make the research process manageable. The sample size will be comprised of 100 respondents, who will be selected from the five organizations that the researcher has targeted. The research considered a sample of 100 respondents to be manageable, hence increasing the likelihood of generating sufficient data. A small number of respondents do not give exclusive results, which can be extrapolated to cover other organizations. On the other side, very large numbers of respondents complicate the research work because it takes time to compile such data, and thus chances of making mistakes are high.

Type of data

In a bid to enhance the relevance of the study to the target audience, the researcher will ensure that the data collected is original. This goal will be achieved by collecting primary data, which will be obtained from the natural setting. The primary data will be collected using the personal interviewing technique. Thus, a set of questionnaires will be developed and used as the core data-collection instrument. The questionnaires will be designed effectively and reviewed prior to being administered to the selected respondents.

By reviewing the questionnaires, the likelihood of attaining a high response rate will be enhanced due to an effective understanding of the questionnaires. Reviewing the questionnaires will eliminate grammatical mistakes and ambiguity of the questions, which are critical determinants of the rate of response. The personal interviewing technique will be self-administered in nature. Thus, the respondents will be given the freedom to answer the questionnaires. Through this approach, the researcher will eliminate bias to satisfying levels. In order to minimize the cost of interviewing using questionnaires, the questions will be sent to the respondents via online mediums like emails.

Ethical considerations

The researcher recognizes the fact that ethics comprises one of the cornerstones of a meaningful research study. Thus, optimal protection of the research respondents will be ensured by integrating effective ethical standards. First, the researcher will seek the respondents’ consent, which will be achieved by providing the target individuals with sufficient information on the purpose and research methods to be incorporated whilst conducting the study. The researcher will plan and present the information concisely in order to enhance its relevance to the research participants. Creating knowledge on the intended research study will aid in obtaining informed consent due to the resulting trust. Additionally, the respondents will not be coerced to participate in the research study. Consequently, they will have the discretion to pull out of the research study at their own will without implications.

In addition to the above aspects, the researcher will ensure that the selected respondents are provided with the necessary privacy. Despite the fact that providing respondents with total privacy is nearly non-existent, it is imperative for researchers to integrate a certain degree of privacy. The researcher will observe a high level of confidentiality with reference to some information such as age that the respondents might consider confidential in some situations. One of the techniques that the researcher will take into account in enhancing privacy during the study process entails anonymity. For example, fictitious and code names will be used in disguising the respondents’ identities. This aspect will provide the respondents with the assurance of confidentiality, thus increasing the likelihood of the selected participants to take part in the study freely. Such realization allows participants to provide information to the best of their knowledge without bias for fear of victimization.

The researcher recognizes that the existence of suspicion amongst the target population might threaten the efficiency of collecting primary data. Suspicion is a major risk that affects primary methods of data collection. In a bid to dispel this risk, the researcher will seek the support of the Institutional Review Boards [IRBs]. The board will be charged with the responsibility of enhancing the probability of obtaining informed consent in addition to entrenching trust amongst the target respondents on certain research aspects such as privacy. In conducting this study, the researcher will seek approval from the respective institutions, which will be considered in the study.

Data analysis

The data collected will be analyzed statistically using Microsoft Excel and the Social Package for Social Sciences (SPSS). Using these tools will strengthen the data analysis process due to their ability to assist the researcher to analyze and present raw data using percentages, charts, and graphs. For example, using Microsoft Excel will aid in condensing the research findings. Thus, the voluminous qualitative data collected will be condensed using graphs, charts, tables, percentages, and frequencies. Therefore, the presentation of the data collected will be improved remarkably. Moreover, condensing the data using Microsoft Excel will improve the ease with which the target stakeholders understand the research findings.

Power analysis

This study intends to test a number of hypotheses. In a bid to achieve this goal, the concept of power analysis will be applied by assessing the degree to which fun in the workplace contributes to overall organizational performance. In a bid to make this conclusion, the researcher will undertake a correlation analysis, which will be achieved by conducting a t-test. The t-test will aid in determining the statistical significance of fun in the workplace with reference to the various constructs considered in the study such as the employees’ performance, motivation, collaboration, engagement, and job satisfaction.

Data handling

The researcher will ensure that integrity of the data collected is maintained. Thus, effective data handling techniques will be considered. First, the answered questionnaires will be stored electronically and non-electronically. This aspect will aid in minimizing the likelihood of losing the collected data. Some of the electronic systems that will be used in storing the data include personal digital assistants and personal computers. Effective data storage will make it possible for the researcher to retrieve the data later. In a bid to enhance the integrity of the data, the researcher will limit ‘outsiders’ from accessing the data. This aspect will ensure that the accuracy of the data is maintained.

Problems in implementing the design

The entire research process will focus on illustrating how incorporating fun in the workplace can enhance the employees’ commitment, job satisfaction, productivity, performance, and motivation. However, the process of implementing the design might be hampered due to a number of risks. One of the major challenges entails the lack of collaboration amongst the target respondents. Some of the respondents might develop the perception that providing information regarding the prevailing work environment with reference to fun might threaten their job security. Secondly, the respondents might develop the perception that the interview will interfere with their time due to the time required to answer the questionnaires. Subsequently, the researcher might fail to collect the required data. This aspect might diminish the quality of the research study.

In order to minimize such a situation, the researcher will ensure that the target respondents understand that they can participate in the study without repercussions. Thus, the researcher will assure the respondents regarding the approval of the research study by the top management at their workplace. Moreover, the researcher will minimize the number of questions in the research questionnaire. This approach will aid in dispelling the notion that answering the questionnaire will be a strenuous activity. By adhering to the following aspects, the researcher is of the view that the study will be x conducted information. Subsequently, the study will provide top managers with insight on how to integrate the concept of fun in the workplace.

Reference

Choi, Y., Kwon, J., & Kim, W. (2013). Effects of attitudes vs. experience of workplace fun on employee behaviors: Focused on generation Y in the hospitality industry. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 25(3), 410-42.

Cole, J., Oliver, A., & Blaviesciunaite, A. (2014). The changing nature of workplace culture. Facilities, 32(13), 786 – 800.

Tews, M., Michel, J., Xu, S., & Drost, A. (2015). Workplace fun matters…but what else? Employee Relations, 37(2), 248-267.

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