Playful work design, engagement and performance: the moderating roles of boredom and conscientiousness

Miriam Dishon-Berkovits, Arnold B. Bakker, Pascale Peters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


This study uses proactivity and play theories to investigate playful work design–the personal initiative to change the psychological experience of work by redesigning work activities to be more fun and/or more competitive. We postulate that playful work design is positively related to job performance through work engagement. In addition, we hypothesize that this indirect relationship is positively moderated by boredom and negatively moderated by conscientiousness. To test these hypotheses, we conducted a two-wave study among 370 Israeli employees (response = 84%), with one month in-between both measurement waves. Consistent with hypotheses, results of mediation analyses showed that playful work design in the form of designing competition (but not designing fun) was indirectly and positively related to both in-role and extra-role performance, through work engagement. As predicted, the indirect effects of designing fun (but not designing competition) on in-role and extra-role performance were strongest for individuals who reported high (vs. low) levels of boredom. In addition, the indirect relationships of designing competition (but not designing fun) with in-role and extra-role performance through work-engagement were stronger for individuals who reported lower (versus higher) levels of conscientiousness. We discuss how these findings contribute to the theory and practice of playful work design.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Human Resource Management
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023


  • Boredom
  • conscientiousness
  • job performance
  • playful work design
  • work engagement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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