From my personal experience I would describe the most productive team as one where members treat each other with mutual respect and where management acts as a facilitator instead of micro managing the fun away. I truly think that the most potential lies in a team that truly enjoys what it's doing. If it feels like "hanging out with friends" instead of "working" then productivity generally is at maximum level.
In education theory, intrinsic motivation is said to be the thing that drives us most in improving our skills. And personally, I think it's only the "fun factor" that sparks intrinsic motivation in us - if work becomes your hobby then you really want to improve. I'd even take bets that a team that is in fun mode would outperform any selection of individualist wise-crackers any day if being faced with a new problem.
I know that there are other tactics that might push productivity - financial boni, competition and sadly, triggering existential fears (fear of losing the job etc.). I wonder how this "fun factor" compares with other incentives.
There might be a border line where too much "fun" would result in laziness or people losing focus of project goals. I would argue that there is the necessity to have a certain amount of discipline and order to make procedures more efficient - but how much is too much and how much is not enough?
- Can anyone point me to books or articles where the effectiveness of different work (environment) philosophies has been studied in depth? Especially those where the element of "enjoying your work" is covered?