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Playful approaches in adulthood

Play is a recreational activity, in which individuals engage voluntarily, has clear rules and boundaries, and temporarily suspends reality. While games are notably associated with infants and adolescents, adults also play in the many contexts of daily life. Despite the potential importance, play in adulthood remains under-explored. 

The project explores how adult people play in the various contexts of their lives.

The activity colloquially known as “having fun” is a complex phenomenon interwoven with people’s lives. Play is a crucial factor in human society as it contributes to the development of culture and the creation of value both at the individual and societal levels. 

Play is known to occur in many contexts of contemporary societies. Individuals, for example, play in economic, warfare, and political contexts. While games are notably associated with infants and adolescents, adult individuals also play when practicing sports, participating in lotteries, attending horse races, and watching or playing in theatres. Further, individuals also play forms of games that are institutionalised and integrated into social life, such as economic competition, competitive assessments, market speculations, uniforms, etiquette and ceremonies.

Starting from the entrepreneurial context, this project will explore the contexts in which adult people play, the factors facilitating and hindering play, and the effects of playing versus nonplaying. The studies conducted as part of the project will aim at creating knowledge with implications for researchers, practitioners, educators, and policymakers. For example, an initial exploratory study will aim at investigating the extent to which entrepreneurs play while executing the various roles required by their businesses, factors that facilitate play, and factors that hinder play (such as a passion for products, an abundance of financial resources, and available occupational alternatives). Hence, entrepreneurship educators can use the results of the findings to design courses and structure teaching activities prioritising aspects that foster a playful attitude in students to enhance the learning experience. Analogously, entrepreneurs can leverage factors that enhance play and limit those obstacles to promoting a playful culture in their organisations.

Meet the Principal Investigator(s) for the project

Dr Riccardo Nucci
Dr Riccardo Nucci - Dr. Riccardo Nucci is Lecturer in Entrepreneurship at Brunel Business School, Brunel University London. Prior to joining Brunel Business School, he had been a Research and Teaching Fellow at the University of Bath School of Management. His research focuses on Entrepreneurship and Entrepreneurial Learning. Specifically, Riccardo concentrates on learning from business failures and from the observation of other entrepreneurs. He is a multi-method researcher with experience in in-depth interviews and experiments. He analyses data with NVivo, SPSS and also is an open-source software enthusiast mastering the use of R programming language applied to statistical analysis. He is an engaged scholar with extensive experience in collaborating with business incubation and growth platforms. Driven by his passion in entrepreneurial learning, he engages practitioners and nascent entrepreneurs providing pro bono mentoring support and helping them navigating through the journey of business start-up.

Partnering with confidence

Organisations interested in our research can partner with us with confidence backed by an external and independent benchmark: The Knowledge Exchange Framework. Read more.

Project last modified 07/09/2022