A relatively strict distinction of gamification has been introduced, as the use of certain game mechanisms to increase the involvement of the contractor’s activities in the implementation of specific tasks, serving the operational objectives of a given management area. It allowed to clearly separate gamification from the use of games, in which not only a wide range of game mechanisms are used, but also a full gameplay according to the rules, achieving planned entertainment or teaching objectives. The main game mechanisms that are used in practice are specified, including motivating through gamification: scoring with systems that reinforce the motivational mechanisms of its impact (badges, scoreboards, levels or time scales), current feedback on its own status and the result in the “game”; faith in the possibility of improving your own result by increasing your effort; adjusting the difficulty of acting to the current level of player’s competence; stimulating the initial interest in participating in the game through other psychological mechanisms. Three main areas of application of games and gamification in personnel management were presented, i.e. training, recruitment and engagement building. Training games were indicated as one of the sources of gamification experiments in the area of competency development, and their use not only to directly implement didactic goals by discussing activities while playing, but also by using the motivational element associated with playing the game , i.e. learning through the actions required by the game. It has also been shown that traditional contests such as “employee of the month” are an example for gamification techniques that have been used for a long time in managing motivation and commitment. Other possibilities of using gamification in this area were also pointed out, and research results suggesting their usefulness were shown.
A new area of application of games and gamification is recruitment, and here the discussions around what is possible are the most serious. The text presented a way where gamification or atleast information about its existance has huge importance for potential employees as a tool for professional pre-orientation and support for adaptation programs. Both of these recruitment areas also benefit from gamification as they use tools similar to trainings. The use of gamification in crowd sourcing (social recruitment) and building groups related to a given company is another area of application of gamification in recruitment, which is already entering the scope of research on employer branding rather than personnel management.
Discussions on the future of gamification intensified after the forecast formulated in 2011 by the advisory company Gartner, recognized in the IT area, that by 2015 50% of large companies will use gamification. For 2014, it was forecasted that 70% of companies from Global 2000 use at least one application based on gamification (Petty, Meulen, 2011). At the same time, the gamification market is constantly growing. In 2013, it was estimated at USD 431 million, and its size was forecast for 2018 at 5.5 billion. It is still not much compared to the computer games market – which in 2010 was valued at USD 25 billion (Pew, 2012, p. 1). Now in 2018, the games market stands at USD 137.9 billion and the gamification market stands at USD 2.17 billion in 2017 and is expected to reach USD 19.39 billion by 2023 which does show a slower than expected growth from the broadcasted analysis but a rather faster growth as the theory is trending and starting to be used more not only in management but other areas such as recruitment, entertainment and sociality.
It is quite obvious that gamification is a tool of limited application and with the help of its mechanisms it is impossible to stimulate commitment to all the tasks needed in the organization (Spencer, 2013). The Pew Research Center report, forecasting the development of gamification, was trying to predict its future, based on the replies of 1,200 experts who have their achievements in the field of games and internet research. It contains opinions formulated as justification for the adoption of one of the two options proposed. Half of the experts surveyed believe that by 2020 gamification, understood as the use of game mechanisms, loops with feedback and rewards, to strengthen interaction and involvement, loyalty and / or learning, will be widely used, while as many as 42% are of opinion, that it will remain limited to specific areas of social activity. Those respondents who predict expanding the scope of gamification stress the fun aspect – they think, for example, that the work will transform into a playwork environment (a combination of work and play, blurring borders between them.) also important are the indications on the negative aspects that may be associated with the expansion of gamification. Written in the current use of game mechanisms is to strengthen the tendency to compete and be motivated only through external rewards. In addition, the world of playing creates a lot of manipulative possibilities, limiting the conscious management of people’s own actions. However, the biggest threat to the development of gamification is the overgrowth of “form over content”, excessive attempts to embed gamification everywhere, even where this addition is only seemingly beneficial.
Fashion-driven overuse of play in gaming can lead to boredom with this mechanism of stimulating engagement, especially when it is implemented rather clumsy. However, the assessment of whether the solution is elegant enough is not easy – for example forcing educational board games as a training tool. The experience gained could most likely show that such games are useful for some kind of recipients (relatively low educated, regardless of their age) as a tool to facilitate learning and repeating procedures to be mastered – different forms of gamification can thus dominate areas, to which they are suitable, both in education and in building engagement or recruitment.
Gamification, the use of game mechanisms to realize work in various operative areas, is an increasingly popular way of improving results. However, science lacks consensus as to the definition of gamification as such as well as with respect to the mechanisms standing behind the postulated increase in the engagement of con- tractors. This text presents a scientific discussion on these two areas and provides illustrations using an overview of gamification applications in the field of human resource management. Theoretical considerations are depicted through empirical studies—two case studies demonstrating the consistent application of gamification.
Gamification, or the use of game mechanisms to carry out work, is one of the topics discussed in the current management literature. However, there is no agreement as to the definition of the approach itself, nor the actual effects of the use of gamification and the mechanisms that cause it. One of the tasks of this text is to present this discussion and show the reasons as to why it is difficult to get a consensus on the matter.
Different areas of human resource management are a natural area for the use of gamification techniques. One can even suppose that it was the organizational education that constituted the place where the ideas of gamification were born. This part of the text is illustrative in nature, showing the potential of using gamification in improving employees morale and work ethics in business, companies and organisations
The text is organized as follows. In the first part gamification and presented controversies related to its definition will be characterized. After the initial definitive chapter, the second chapter of the first part of the text concerns the distinction of games as the source from which gamification draws inspiration. The second part of the text concerns the use of gamification in human management. The following sections present the natural possibilities of using gamification in selected areas of the personnel function, ie in training, recruitment and motivation. The summary is not only the collection of conclusions that result from previous analyzes, but also contains forecasts on the directions of development of applications using gamification for marketing, popularity and advertisement purposes.
“Gamification is the application of game-design techniques in games not related to games, to engage people and solve problems” (de-Marcos et al., 2014, p. 82). “Gamification is the use of game thinking and game thinking mechanisms” (Zinger, 2014, p. 32).
“Gamification is sometimes defined as the process of enriching the service with visible and explicit element (motivational), by means of which changes are induced to evoke experience of playing and further behavioral consequences” (Hamari et al., 2014, p. 2).
Gamification as a tool for Management
All of the casual and scientific definitions of gamification relate to the concepts of the game and its mechanisms. However, in a variety of ways they identify elements from the games or playing field to be used: the first is about game techniques, the second about thinking, and the third about the opportunity to act. They are consistent with the fact that the use of the gaming element in a specific activity is to give in practice another area desired by the designer. However, if we accept the most widespread approach, that is, that the game-suitcase will be any use of game mechanisms to trigger actions that are not of a playful significance, while the type of these elements introduces at most internal differentiation as to the more and less typical application of this idea, the basic difficulty in defining gamification is to determine what these motivational elements of games are, and to separate them from games as such.
The genesis of fashion for gamification seems to be the success and lush boom of the computer entertainment games market (Deterding et al., 2011), but a number of psychological theories and motivational patterns of playing influence are hidden behind its use (de-Marcos et al. 2014, p. 82). You can find historical sources of this fashion in the application of decision making games in managerial didactics, or more broadly – games as simulation tools in different types of teaching (mainly training, ie didactics about business goals) This would locate the beginnings of gamification in the 1950s or 1940s for managerial education, and in the nineteenth century or even earlier – for military education. It was in training, also in pre-computer times, that many different types of games and structuralised simulations were used as teaching games to stimulate participants’ involvement in training, provide them with experience and opportunity to reflect on it, and enable practical exercise employing skills and thinking that were the teaching objective of the training.
However, it is really difficult to argue with the thesis that the current interest in gamification has its sources later, in a new social fact – the invasion of video games that grew up at the turn of the 20th and 21st centuries. Computer games are not only a new entertainment market with a value greater than the value of the feature film market, but a large part of modern society are devoted to spend many hours of their lives playing different types of games. Statistical data in this area can be varied, from the suggestion that 0.5 billion people spend at least over one hour a week by saying that 58% of Americans play computer games (ESA, 2013, p. 2). It is known that almost 100% of children and adolescents play, but it also applies to older people – 48% of Americans in the 50+ age group declare that they play video games, 80% of them play them every week, and 45% – every day (Kapp, 2014, p. 44). Although only over 1/3 of the players are over 36, the gender distribution among players is almost equal (55:45).
Determining what causes people to spend hours voluntarily playing computer games turns out to be much more difficult than it seems at first glance. The experience of “being drawn into playing a game” is quite common, but explaining what mechanisms this rule is in order to generate interest and active involvement in playing for many hours is already difficult. Below are presented groups of difficulties – those resulting from the diversity of games, as well as those resulting from the diversity of players.
Partially, the difficulty in understanding what the game mechanisms are and how they result in players being involved is because the concept of the game refers to objects that are very different from each other. Games are such a diversified human activity that the discussion among specialists about defining them does not seem to lead to a consensus. Typically, it mentions the typology of factors found in games according to Roger Caillois (1997), which may be the basis of game typologies, i.e. agon (competition), alea (fate), mimicry (imitation), and ilinx (bewilderment). This typology shows the differentiation of factors characteristic for various areas of activity, commonly associated with the name “game”.
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