Intervention method

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To cite or reference this content, please use the following reference:

Haake, A. B. (2010). Music listening in offices: Balancing internal needs and external considerations (Doctoral thesis, University of Sheffield, Sheffield) accessed from www.musicatwork.net

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Design

The study design used repeated measures within-group design with three conditions. During a total of six weeks, participants spent two weeks listening to music whilst working (condition 1), two weeks listening to music in breaks (condition 2) and two weeks not listening to music at all (condition 3).

For each of these six weeks the participants were asked to fill in response sheets, measuring a variety of mood and job- related responses. The data were collected through two different surveys, a “Well-being survey” and a “Between condition survey” (including work performance and other work responses). Participants were asked to complete these surveys before the experiment started, in order to obtain baseline data, and also throughout the whole experiment.

The study initially used mainly quantitative measures, but after a first brief analysis of the data, follow-up interviews were carried out with half of the participants four months later to explore some contradictory results and subsequent questions that had emerged through the quantitative analysis.

Organisation

The research institute was both a public and a private organisation, and received some funding from government research councils, as well as private funding from its commercial operations.

Corridor at the research centre

It was a very large organisation located in central England, with about 500 employees, including many different teams with a variety of skills, beyond those of the scientists.

Shared office at the research centre

The workplace had in the past been a teacher training college and resembled a campus with long corridors and many private small offices, as well as shared ones. Open plan office spaces were rare, although there were some.

Participants

Twenty-one employees responded and volunteered to take part in the study. The 21 participants were between 24 and 61 years of age ( ̄x =41.57); seven were female and 14 were male. Six of them were specialist scientists, the rest had a variety of jobs found in most organisations (including roles within sales, marketing, administration, finance and IT).

19 participants listened to music at work prior to the experiment, and they listened to a wide range of genres and artists (displaying a similar pattern to that of the survey respondents in the survey study). Participants’ names were changed in order to maintain their anonymity.

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