Playful Work Design: Introduction of a New Concept

Span J Psychol. 2020 Jun 19;23:e19. doi: 10.1017/SJP.2020.20.


This article introduces the concept of playful work design-the process through which employees proactively create conditions within work activities that foster enjoyment and challenge without changing the design of the job itself. First, we review play theory and the motives people may have to play during work. In addition, we use the literature on proactive work behavior to argue that individuals can take personal initiative to increase person-job fit. Combining these literatures, we provide a theoretical framework for playful work design. We discuss the development and validation of an instrument to assess playful work design, and review recent studies to elucidate the psychological effects of playful work design and its possible outcomes. Finally, we briefly discuss practical implications.

Keywords: JD-R theory; playful work design; playfulness; proactive work behavior; work engagement.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Employment / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Play and Playthings / psychology*
  • Pleasure*
  • Psychometrics / instrumentation*
  • Work Engagement*