How to avoid the dark side of gamification: Ten business scenarios and their unintended consequences

Rachel C. Callan, Kristina N. Bauer, Richard N. Landers

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

60 Scopus citations


The problems that may arise from gamification have been largely ignored by researchers and practitioners alike. At the same time, use of gamification in recruitment, onboarding, training, and performance management are on the rise in organizations as businesses turn toward technology to meet their objectives. This chapter investigates drawbacks of using elements of games in each of these applications through a series of scenarios describing different gamified interventions. For each scenario, a discussion follows regarding potential problems with the intervention, how psychological science may explain this, how these errors can be avoided, as well as future directions for gamification research. Employee motivation is noted as a critical concern in gamification, and classic theories of motivation are utilized to help explain why some interventions may fail to motivate desired behavior. For training design, a popular area for gamification, practitioners are urged to consider the intended training outcomes before designing a training program with gaming elements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationGamification in Education and Business
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9783319102085
ISBN (Print)9783319102078
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015.


  • Case study
  • Employees
  • Gamification
  • Management
  • Motivation
  • Organizations


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