Experiment FindingsPDF Available

A Preliminary Study on LEGO®-Based Workplace Stress Reduction with Six Bricks and LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® in Taiwan

Authors:
World Journal of Research and Review (WJRR)
ISSN:2455-3956, Volume-6, Issue-1, January 2018 Pages 64-67
64 www.wjrr.org
AbstractThis study was aimed at using Six Bricks and
LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® to construct a workplace stress
reduction model and investigate it’s stress-reduction effect.
Seven Taiwan workers with different expertise were invited to
attend a 150-min LEGO®-based workplace stress reduction
workshop. Pretest and posttest were conducted using a
workplace stress scale to assess the stress-reducing effect of the
LEGO®-based workplace stress reduction. Two additional
open-ended questions were incorporated in the posttest
questionnaire to investigate the contents of change associated
with the proposed model. Finally, LEGO ® DUPLO®
stress-figure, LEGO ® DUPLO® stress-scale, and the content of
open-ended questions were used for content analysis to
investigate the contents of change. The findings of this study
were as follows: (a) Anxiety and fatigue in the workplace stress
scale exhibited declining trend, whereas depression presented
no change; the anxiety subscale achieved significant immediate
effect. (b) Regarding contents of change, the results indicated
that a LEGO®-based workplace stress reduction is able to
nourish healing power, inspire deeper and more diverse
reflections, and energize a workplace.
Index Terms LEGO®-based, workplace stress reduction,
LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY®, Six Bricks.
I. INTRODUCTION
In 2010, Gallup survey report indicated that disengaged
employees cost the economy $350 billion in lost productivity
[3], suggesting that the psychological health of employees
influences employees and in turn affects company
performance and cost. Since the 1960s, U.S. government unit
and scholars have placed more weight on the relationship of
workplace stress and workplace safety. Psychological stress
in the workplace and psychological injury are the key health
risk factors in the workplace across the United States [9],
[16]. Hence, employees’ physical and mental health is a
pressing concern in the field of psychology.
Employee assistance program (EAP) in Taiwan typically
revolves around stress management practices. Presently,
response strategies adopted in psychologically unhealthy
workplaces are no longer effective for aiding employees to
cope with crises and stress in the workplace. Foreign
Pay-Ling Harn, Assistant Professor, Applied Psychology Department,
Hsuan Chuang University, No.48, Hsuan Chuang Rd., Hsiang San District,
Hsinchu City, Taiwan
Chao-Chi Hsiao, LSP/Play Box Facilitator, LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY®
Lab, Taiwan.
practices for managing psychological health in the workplace
have shifted from cultivating point-based response ability to
long-term accumulation of positive psychological assets [1],
[8], [14]. These practices are aimed at promoting exploration,
creation, and recreation of individual strength in the
workplace to accumulate positive psychological assets. These
aims accord with the ultimate goal of positive
psychologyto improve quality of life and prevent disease
development [13].
In 2000, Professor Johann Roos and Bart Victor
developed the LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® (LSP), which is a
facilitated method in which participants build symbolic and
metaphorical models of their insights in LEGO® model and
then present these to other participants. LSP employs the
theory of play, constructionism, handmind connection, and
imagination as the theory for effective problem-solving in
LSP. ―Play‖ plays a creative, constructive, and proactive role
in humans’ cognitive development. ―Serious Play‖ enables
adults to apply the creativity skills, imagination, and
encouragement in ―Play‖ to deliberate on life-related issues.
The two main factors of LSP are storytelling and metaphors.
Storytelling can promote production, reproduction,
transformation, and deconstruction of individual values and
beliefs, thereby bringing about change. Metaphors are a
means of storytelling, which permits people to comprehend
ideas using novel approaches [6]. LSP applies flow and
positive emotions to construct solutions for workplace issues.
This process echoes the key contents of positive psychology.
In terms of strength-based counseling, people feel baffled
with a situation when they do not have enough strength to
respond to the difficulty; they need assistance with
identifying, creating, and leveraging their strengths. Strength
is not only a buffer for psychological distress, but also a
resource for responding to difficulties [15].
LSP applies flow, positive emotions, and other positive
psychology to help participants gain insight into the meaning
of their life and unknown facts. LEGO® bricks are used for
storytelling and metaphors to explore the intrinsic meanings
the participants are trying to convey. This approach enables
participants to rebuild their self-worth in a relationship with
positive emotions and complete engagement. Previously,
LSP was frequently used in organizational strategies. In
recent years, LSP has been applied to promote psychological
health. Harn used strength-based LSP facilitation workshop
to explore the effects of such workshop on survivors of
domestic violence [14]. Harn’s results showed that
strength-based LSP workshop deepens the root of intrinsic
A Preliminary Study on LEGO®-Based
Workplace Stress Reduction with Six Bricks and
LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® in Taiwan
Pay-Ling Harn, Chao-Chi Hsiao
A Preliminary Study on LEGO®-Based Workplace Stress Reduction with Six Bricks and LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY®
in Taiwan
65 www.wjrr.org
power, evolves relationships, and reconstructs life
experience. Peabody applied LSP as a reflective practice
pedagogy to 29 occupational therapy graduate-level students
and faculty; interview results indicated affirmative outcomes
that included promotion of group cohesion, enhanced
inclusive learning, a language for emotional content and
deeper meaning-making, diversified learning styles, and
deeper thinking compared with traditional reflective writing.
Peabody also reported that a few participants experienced
anxiety with the process provoking unanticipated reflective
learning [10]. The founding member of the Association of
Master Trainers, Robert Rasmussen, believes that LSP elicits
emotional and behavioral changes by deepening and
broadening the thinking process [11].
There are two types of LEGO® facilitation models:
Association of Master Trainer in LSP Methods and the LEGO
Foundation Six Bricks. The Six Bricks draws on the concept
of LEGO® to inspire creative thinking by using sets of
DUPLO® bricks in six colors: red, orange, yellow, green,
dark blue, and light blue[5],[12].Six Bricks improves
language skills, problem solving, collaboration, and
emotional mediation. In its nascent phase, the Six Bricks are
largely used in the educational context. Today, Six Bricks are
used to promote positive communication, relationships, and
interpersonal cohesion among organizational teams. Played
similarly to LSP, Six Bricks involve assign tasks, construct
and execute, share and provide feedback. The difference
between Six Bricks and LSP is that Six Bricks involves a
single mission or consecutive missions, whereas LSP
generally entails a series of missions.
This study applied LSP and Six Bricks to construct a
workplace stress reduction model and explore the application
of this model in promoting psychological health in the
workplace. Subsequently, the effect of content of change
associated with the workplace stress reduction model was
investigated. Based on the aforementioned discussions, the
objectives of this study were (a) to elucidate the effects of the
LEGO®-based workplace stress reduction (LBWSR) on the
stress level of participants in the workplace, and (b) to
elucidate the content of change in participants associated with
the LBWSR.
II. METHOD
A. Study Design
The LBWSR workshop spans 150 minutes. For this study,
we revised the ―Good Friends‖ and ―Bridge‖ in Six Bricks
(LEGO Foundation, 2015) and developed a LEGO®
DUPLO® stress figure (LD stress-figure, Figure 1) and
LEGO® DUPLO® stress scale (LD stress-scale, Figure 2),
which were then used in the workshop to assess participants’
stress status and level. After the workshop, the LD
stress-figure was readjusted and repositioned on the LD
stress-scale to assess the effects and content of change. The
function of the LD stress-scale was to create memorable
experiences and promote group cohesion. In addition, we
used the Back to Back activity in Six Bricks to assist with
participants’ awareness of message communication. LBWSR
workshop involves using LSP to construct three topics: peak
experience in the workplace (Figure 3), workplace strength
identification, and workplace savior.
Figure 1. Stress-figure Figure 2. Stress-scale Figure 3. Peak experience
B. Participants
Seven employed individuals, aged 3555 years, were
recruited as research participants for this study: University
educator, corporate lecturer, social worker, personnel
manager, human resource personnel, junior high teacher, and
consultant.
C. Research Instruments
(a) Workplace stress scale. In this study, the workplace
stress scale was adapted from the scale used in Chen to
measure participants’ stress level [2]. This study used only
the three subscales of anxiety, fatigue, and depression. The
workplace stress scale was a 5-point scale. The anxiety
subscale measures work-related anxiety and unease. The
fatigue subscale measures the subjective perception of fatigue
after working continuously for some time. The depression
subscale measures the level of depression caused by work.
The split-half reliability of the original subscale was .89, .85,
and .42, respectively. The researcher added an extra item ―I
am easily distracted when working ―in the anxiety subscale,
after which the split-half reliability of the revised subscale
was .89, .91, and .66, respectively. The higher the scale score,
the greater is the stress level. Table 1 lists the scale items.
Table 1. Workplace stress scale
Subscale
Item
Anxiety
My work makes me feel unease or nervous.
I find it difficult to sleep at night because of
problems at work.
I often feel tense at work.
I often experience acid reflux problems.
I am easily distracted when working.
Fatigue
I feel exhausted every day after work.
I find it difficult to wake up early.
Changing a job might be good for my health.
I feel feeble and listless at work.
Depression
I think I am useless and extremely unimportant
in the company.
I feel my temper is unusually bad at work.
I feel down and unhappy at work.
I am disappointed with the future.
(b) LD stress-figure and LD stress-scale. Before the
workshop, participants used the Six Bricks and three to four
LEGO® DUPLO® bricks to build a stress-figure, which
represents their stress status before the start of the workshop.
When the workshop concluded, they modified the
stress-figure to manifest the changes in their stress state after
the workshop. Before the workshop, participating members
collectively applied the Six Bricks to build a bridge that
extends across two tables. This process purported to boost
World Journal of Research and Review (WJRR)
ISSN:2455-3956, Volume-6, Issue-1, January 2018 Pages 64-67
66 www.wjrr.org
group cohesion. The cold colors and warm colors of the Six
Bricks were used to represent stress level, where cold colors
at one end of the LD stress-scale denotes low stress level and
warm colors at the other end of the scale denotes high stress
level. Participants placed their stress-figure at the appropriate
position of the scale according to the level of stress they were
feeling.
(c) Feedback questionnaire. The researcher incorporated
two open-ended questions in the posttest questionnaire:
Which part of the workshop was the most memorable? What
was your greatest learning experience after attending the
workshop? These questions were to probe the contents of
change in the participants.
III. RESULT
A. Effects of LBWSR on the workplace stress scale
Before and after the workshop, participants completed the
workplace stress scale. Dependent-sample analysis of
variance was used for differential comparison to investigate
the effects of the LEGO®-based stress reduction workshop
on participants’ stress levels. Table 2 shows that after the
workshop, the participants had lower mean scores on the
anxiety and fatigue subscales. Their mean scores on the
depression subscale remained unchanged. Regarding the
dimension of anxiety, significant immediate effect was
observed, and fatigue and depression exhibited significant
difference.
Table2. Paired sample analysis of variance of workplace
stress scale
Variable
Pro-test
t
df=6
p
M
SD
M
SD
Anxiety
2.49
.92
2.29
.97
2.65*
.038
Fatigue
2.64
1.07
2.53
1.05
.81
.448
Depression
2.00
.60
2.00
.76
.00
1.00
Note: *p<.05
B. Content of Change Associated With LBWSR
In this study, content analysis was performed on the LD
stress-figure, LD stress-scale, and the completed feedback
questionnaire to explore the contents of change.
(a). Nourishing the healing power. At the beginning of the
workshop, the participating members had felt stressed from
work. By building a model of their peak experience in the
workplace, the participants concretized their strengths. By
swapping places with their partners, they could identify more
of their strengths, creating a positive link and internalized
source of nourishment.
I feel I have been healed after attending the workshop
(A-04-01)
Everyone had built a model of their peak experience,
sharing their stories from work. Their experiences echoed
with mine, making me feel invigorated again‖ (B-04-03)
(b). Deepening diversified reflection. The participants
reported in the feedback that they were able to reexamine
themselves and broaden their thinking perspectives. After the
workshop, the participants adjusted their LEGO® DUPLO®
stress-figure to reflect the content of change brought about by
the workshop, such as worrying less about work, opening up
their eyes and freeing their mind, changing the sequence of
work, and taking more actions. These changes show that the
participants started to respond to and cope with workloads
more constructively. One female participant experienced
obstacles during the communication process in the Back to
Back activity, and this experience prompted her reflect on
whether they had encountered similar predicaments when
communicating with others in the workplace.
In the Back to Back activity, I wondered whether the
things I said at work was also incomprehensible‖ (B-04-01)
This workshop opened up my horizon, enabling me to
think more differently at work‖ (C-05-01)
I feel I can inspect myself all over again, explore my inner
feelings, and organize my line of thoughts (A-05-01,
A-05-03)
(c). Energizing the workplace. After the workshop, the
participants repositioned their LD stress-figure on the LD
stress-scale. Five of the participants moved their mini figure
to the low-stress end of the scale. Only one participant kept it
at the same position because there were still many works to be
completed; however, this participant reconstructed his/her
mini figure, feeling that he/she is more capable of responding
to situations at work. In the Back to Back activity, another
participant became aware of the blind spots in in workplace
communications and, therefore, the participant relocated her
stress-figure to high-stress end of the scale. Based on the
aforementioned discussions, the LBWSR workshop helped
most of the participants to release their negative energies.
In the beginning, the participants walked into the
workshop feeling unease with somber expression on their
face. As the workshop progressed, they grew more pleasant
and satisfying, establishing more amusing associations and
social cooperation. According to participants’ feedback, most
of them expressed in the affirmative the stress-relieving effect
of the workshop and its ability to energize the workplace and
empower self-worth.
It can alleviate emotions and stress from work(D-05-01)
It is stress relieving and stimulates thinking‖ (E-05-01)
It helps me regain my confidence and vitality to return to
work‖ (A-05-05)
IV. COUNCLUSION
The results of this study showed that the LEGO®-based
workplace stress reduction model has a significant effect on
reducing work-related anxiety, but it did not immediately
relieve fatigue and mitigate depression. This study was the
first to use the LEGO® facilitated method to construct a
workplace psychological health promotion scheme, making
this research both practical and innovative. According to the
results, the LEGO®-based workplace stress reduction
workshop exhibited partial stress-relieving effect, which
suggests that this model has great potential for the promotion
of psychological health in the workplace. The limitations of
this study were limited time (150 minutes) and a small sample
size (seven participants). Future studies could incorporate
more LEGO® building topics to enhance the completeness
and diversity of the LEGO®-based workplace stress
reduction model, thereby further boosting its effectiveness on
A Preliminary Study on LEGO®-Based Workplace Stress Reduction with Six Bricks and LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY®
in Taiwan
67 www.wjrr.org
psychological health.
Regarding content of change, our findings echoed with
the results of Harn [4] and Peabody[10]. A LEGO®
facilitated model nourishes interpersonal ties, eliminates
negative emotions, and promotes deeper reflective thinking.
As Peabody[10] indicated, the LEGO® facilitation method is
less time-consuming compared with traditional strategies.
For example, a typical group guidance session generally
requires at least one to two hours of warm ups to boost group
cohesion, and at least five to six hours to achieve therapeutic
efficacy. The 150-min LEGO®-based stress reduction model
yields a healing effect quickly. The participants reported in
their feedback that the LEGO®-based stress reduction model
not only stimulates deeper thinking but also changes their
emotion and behavior[11]. The development theory of LSP
posits that LSP enhances positive emotions [5]. Similar to the
findings of Peabody [10], our results indicated that the deeper
thinking outcome of LSP generates an unexpected
self-cognition that might have caused some of our
participants to feel anxious. This finding can serve as
reference for subsequent development of LEGO®-based
facilitation practice and research.
REFERENCES
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Pay-Ling Harn received the M.S. and Ph.D degrees in
educational psychology and counseling from Taiwan
Normal University, Taipei, Taiwan. Currently, she is an
assistant professor at Hsuan Chuang University, Hsinchu,
Taiwan. She is certified counseling psychologist, LSP
facilitator, and Play-Box facilitator. Her research
interests are in positive psychology, career counseling, and LEGO®
facilitated methods.
Chao-Chi Hsiao received the M.S. degree in educational
psychology and counseling from Taiwan Tsing Hua
University, Hsinchu, Taiwan. Currently, he is an LSP
facilitator and Play Box facilitator at LEGO® SERIOUS
PLAY® Lab. he is certified counseling psychologist, LSP
facilitator, and Play-Box facilitator. His research interests are in forensic
psychology and LEGO® facilitated methods.
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Turning Stress into Strength. HR Magazine
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Atkinson, W. (2011). Turning Stress into Strength. HR Magazine, 56 (1), 49-52.
A case study on the work stress of employees. (Unpublished master's dissertation)
  • S Z Chen
Chen, S.Z.(1981). A case study on the work stress of employees. (Unpublished master's dissertation). National Chiao Tung University, Hsinchu, Taiwan.
Release stress and build resilience
  • J Ferri-Reed
Ferri-Reed, J. (2011). Release stress and build resilience. Chief Learning Officer, 10(7), 42-47.
Back to Basics with 6 Bricks: develop working memory, perceptual, speaking and listening skills
  • B Hutcheson
Hutcheson, B (2013). Back to Basics with 6 Bricks: develop working memory, perceptual, speaking and listening skills. Retrieved November 6, 2017, from https://www.changemakers.com/play2learn/entries/back-basics-6-bric ks