Exploring Gamification as a Complementary Capability

Elsayed, Omar
(2021) Exploring Gamification as a Complementary Capability. PhD thesis, University of Liverpool.

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Gamification emerged as a promising concept for its perceived benefits such as motivation, engagement and learning improvements, which attracted the attention of practitioners and researchers in areas such as health, education, employee engagement and customer satisfaction areas. Despite the early hype and the proliferation of literature on this topic, the growth of gamification started to quickly decline, going through the trough of disillusionment (according to Gartner’s hype cycle) due to the confinement of its implementation to merely engagement tools, neglecting the anticipated potential and capabilities such gamified technologies could achieve. This research (presented across four papers/studies) is an attempt to address this gap for which the theoretical lens of organisational capabilities is adopted to explore gamification’s complementarity potential. The established complementary capability angle is applied as the primary theoretical lens, which has been used for the examination of similar subjects in strategic management, organisational studies and operations management disciplines. The study consisted of a number of key steps from theoretical reviews and examination of the subject to field studies and experimental exploration of ideas. Four distinct academic articles have been achieved as the result, each addressing a key aspect of the intended research. The first study develops a theoretical framework introducing gamification as a complementary addition to the organisation that has the potential to bring new (and contribute to) capabilities in the organisation. Built on a thorough theoretical examination of the concept, the framework depicts the different facets of gamification as a complementary asset, including a) the required game elements, b) the utilisation of engagement antecedents, c) the development of psycho-behavioural outcomes, and d) the alignment of these outcomes to build relevant individual and organisational capabilities. The second study builds upon this theoretical foundation and develops, through qualitative interviews with experts/practitioners, a gamification design method that can support achieving the strategic complementarity benefit for organisations through a) a user-centric design approach that develops intrinsic and extrinsic employee motivation, b) a goal-oriented design approach that factors in short-term and long-term individual constructs and targets organisational capabilities and c) an agile development process that incorporates robust/strategic evaluation metrics to successfully develop a complementary capability that fulfils organisational objectives. The third study presents a showcase that utilises the outcomes from the first two papers and applies them to a critical area for most organisations, namely cybersecurity, as one of the major risks that currently face businesses and societies. The study attempts this by offering design methods to target the development of human capabilities for cybersecurity using two levels of gamification, namely content and structural, as an effort to develop an effective cybersecurity awareness platform for organisations. The fourth study is a different empirical experimentation of the concepts developed through direct application of the proposed frameworks and design methods to build relevant organisational capabilities in a targeted case. A longitudinal action research was undertaken with a UK-based company, where the researcher a) identified major internal challenges from the employees’ and customers’ perspectives, b) designed a gamified system to overcome the identified issues using the complementarity design approach developed in the previous studies, c) studied the effects, impacts and benefits on the firm’s capabilities through quantitative online surveys and qualitative focus groups, and d) offered not only strong validation and support for the proposed theoretical contributions, but added a range of new insights for the application of gamification complementarity and generally supportive technologies in organisations. The successful case study allowed the research to achieve and introduce a roadmap for organisations to adopt and properly foster (and harness) gamification’s strategic benefits. The overall research outcomes propose new insights on strategic complementary benefits of gamification, supporting it as a valuable investment in organisations. The studies offer nuances in design methodologies for the development of ICT-based technologies, which has the potential to be extended to other areas of interest. The research also provides several contributions towards theory and practice and manages to push gamification from the trough of disillusionment up the slope of enlightenment and place it, as an important technological solution, on the plateau of productivity for practitioners and also for academics to be able to examine its full potential.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Management
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 21 Jun 2021 14:41
Last Modified: 18 Jan 2023 22:45
DOI: 10.17638/03123462
URI: https://livrepository.liverpool.ac.uk/id/eprint/3123462