Gamification Misunderstood: How Badly Executed and Rhetorical Gamification Obscures Its Transformative Potential

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23 Scopus citations

Abstract

Although management gamification has immense potential to broadly benefit both management and employees, its impact to date has been lackluster and its value unclear. I credit this to a market proliferation of rhetorical or “fake” gamification, a process which involves the decoration of existing organizational processes with game elements but with little or no attention paid to the psychological processes by which those elements influence human behavior. For gamification to be successful, specific psychological characteristics of employees or customers must be targeted, and game elements must be chosen to influence those characteristics. In theoretical terms, legitimate gamification in management can be defined as a family of work and product design techniques inspired by game design, whereas rhetorical gamification is at best novice gameful design and at worst a swindle, an attempt to make something appear “game-like” purely to sell more gamification. Only by carefully distinguishing legitimate and rhetorical gamification can legitimate gamification’s potential be fully realized.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-140
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Management Inquiry
Volume28
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2019

Keywords

  • game design
  • gamification
  • human resources
  • management
  • organizational behavior
  • psychology
  • rhetorical gamification
  • theory

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