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Year-Number: 2022-129
Yayımlanma Tarihi: 2022-06-19 19:44:17.0
Language : İngilizce
Konu : İşletme
Number of pages: 327-352
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Oyunlaştırma umut verici özellikleri nedeniyle çeşitli disiplinler tarafından giderek daha fazla kabul edilmekte ve uygulanmaktadır. Sürüdürülebilir işletmeler için strateji olarak uygulanabilme potansiyeline sahiptir. Bu çalışma öncelikle oyunlaştırmanın kavramsal çerçevesi ile birlikte oyunlaştırmanın dinamik ve bileşenlerini sunmaktadır. İkinci olarak, çalışma oyunlaştırmanın sürdürülebilir işletmeler ve organizasyonlardaki kullanım alanlarını belirtmektedir. Analizler hem akademik çalışmaları hem de gerçek yaşamdaki uygulamaları kapsamaktadır. Web of Science veritabanında 2012-2021 yılları arasında yayınlanan çalışmaların verileri kullanılarak bibliometrik analiz ve haritalama yapılmıştır. Öncü sektörel örnekler de incelenmiştir. İncelenen çalışmalar ve vakalar oyunlaştırmanın sürdürülebilir işletme ve organizasyonlar için faydalarıyla birlikte potansiyel kullanım alanlarını da vurgulamaktadır. Çalışmamızın güncel literatüre 3 önemli katkısı bulunmaktadır. İlk olarak, bu çalışma akademik çalışmalar ve güncel uygulamalardan elde edilen bulguları kapsamaktadır. İkinci olarak oyunlaştırma literatürüne dair güncel istatistikleri sunmaktadır. Üçüncü olarak da diğer çalışmalardan farklı olarak oyunlaştırma tekniklerinin sürdürülebilir işletmeler ve organizasyonlarda etkili kullanımına odaklanmıştır.



Gamification has been increasingly adopted and implemented in a wide range of disciplines due to its promising features. It has the potential to be used as a strategy for sustainable businesses. This study firstly presents the underlying dynamics and components of gamification, together with its conceptual framework. Secondly, the study explores the areas of use for gamification in sustainable businesses and organizations. The analysis includes both research by academia and real applications in the field. Bibliometric analysis and mapping are done using the data from Web of Science database for the time period between 2012 and 2021. Pioneering sectoral examples are also examined. Exploration of studies and cases highlight the benefits of gamification for sustainable organizations and management besides the potential areas of use. Our study has three significant contributions to the state-of-the-art. First, this study consists of the findings obtained from the examination of academic research and actual applications. Second, it offers up-to-date statistics about the gamification literature. Third, unlike other studies, this study focuses on the effective use of gamification techniques in sustainable businesses and organizations.


  • Gamification is based on adopting the effective elements and design techniques used in game industry for non-game purposes and environments (Deterding et al., 2011; Huotari & Hamari, 2017). It is preferred to foster engagement, promote behavioral change, maintain loyalty and solve a specific problem. The term was first used in 2008 and has gained popularity since 2010 (Deterding et al., 2011). Gamification mainly aims to motivate and engage a target audience. The commonly used elements are positive feedback like points, badges, status, progress, surprises, etc. Rather than building a game, gamification should be understood as a design technique that introduces game elements and game thinking. Although digital services and products have mostly adopted gamification, its areas of use are more extensive. Several distinct domains use gamification, such as:

  • The game content can be a product that is created by designers and consumed by players (Hunicke et al., 2004). There is a hierarchical order where defined rules comprise a system that should invoke the engagement. Gamification combines the essence of games with the working world environment and processes, incorporating systematic methodologies with elements and design techniques used in games. However, real-world applications usually have many constraints (gaming time, rewards, actions, borders of rules, and many more), reducing the number of adoptable methods from games and serious games.

  • There is a framework for game design named Mechanics-Dynamics-Aesthetics (MDA). Mechanics consist of the rules and actions typically integrated into the game engine. Dynamics are about coordinated operations of game mechanics involving player choices. Aesthetics are the emotional impacts of the game over players. Moving beyond fun, aesthetics represents the pleasure that gamers feel during the gameplay. Hunicke et al. (2004), described eight main aesthetics. Sensation is invoked when players experience something different, fantasy provides an alternative universe, drama (or narrative) raises player interest with story, challenge demands better performance/coping with obstacles, fellowship provides socialization, discovery motivates to explore the game space, expression allows representation of player character in game, and submission is the connection options or ease of entering the competition.

  • There is a widely known behavioral model (Fogg, 2009), which determines a direction from a current behavior to a targeted different behavior through three aspects: core motivators, abilities, and triggers. The core motivators can be either or both pleasure/pain (individual instant feelings), hope/fear (expectations for an outcome), and acceptance/rejection (by a society). Abilities are conditions which should be sufficiently simplified and become easier to achieve a targeted behavioral change. These can be the time that should be spent, effort for thinking, physical activity, difference from society rules and non-routine tasks. Lastly, triggers are sparks (for individuals having low motivation, aiming a core motivator), facilitators (for highly motivated people with low ability, reducing the efforts to accomplish a task), and signals (for individuals having both motivation and ability, only reminding behavior change).

  • Player progression is another noteworthy gamification technique to accomplish targets (Deterding et al., 2011). The gamified application or process is aimed to help users progressively increase their skills and abilities by time so as to improve their performance. An element related with it is the difficulty level. Player abilities and game challenge difficulties need to be in balance. A very skilled, experienced user may not be very motivated to deal with very easy tasks, while a new user facing highly challenging tasks may feel exhausted and quit playing (Deterding et al., 2011).

  • There are two well-known studies on classification of game players and gamified process, system or application users. In (Bartle, 1996), Bartle defines four distinctive gamer classes, which are explorers, socializers, achievers and killers. “Explorers” tend to search for and discover new, rare or hidden features. “Socializers” are highly motivated when interacting with other gamers rather than simply playing the game alone. “Achievers” pursue accomplishment and rewards. Lastly, “Killers” like competing and winning against other gamers. Gamification users are distinguished in a different study ending up with six user classes (Tondello et al., 2016). Two of the identified classes are “socializer” and “achiever,” which are identical with Bartle’s study in (Bartle, 1996). The third class, “players,” enjoy extrinsic benefits and they work hard to achieve them. “Philanthropists” give importance to meaning no matter of rewards. “Free spirits” prioritize reflecting their style to the gamified environment, behave freely without being directed, build and navigate the gamified environment independently. Another class is “disruptors”, who aim to change the gamified environment in a positive or a negative way, enjoy further forcing and extending the system limits.

  • Gamification can also be based on the core drives identified in “Octalysis” framework (Chou, 2015). Three of the core drives, “Meaning” (feeling lucky, chosen, believing in doing something greater), “Accomplishment” (achieving progress, developing skills, accomplishing challenges) and “Empowerment” (engaging in making or building of new processes by providing feedback and requesting sharing of comments) are “White Hat Gamification Core Drives” which aim to influence users to be persuasive, delighted and to have control over their activities. On the other hand, there are three other core drives called as “Black Hat Gamification Core Drives”, which trigger concerns, curiosity and rush. These are “Scarcity” (limited quantity, features only available for special users or user groups), “Unpredictability” (random or unknown content of upcoming tasks and activities) and “Avoidance” (opportunities available for a limited time, the risk of losing some part of the progress etc.). Apart from White Hat and Black Hat Gamification Core Drives, there are two more core drives which do not belong to any of these two core drive categories. These are “Ownership” (having single or multiple virtual goods, collections, expressive user avatars) and “Social Influence” (providing mentorship to other users, being accepted by the society of users, social interactions with other users, group and teams). A gamified process or application need not to make use of all the core drives of Octalysis framework. It can rather adopt only a number of those in an effective way.

  • Gamification has three main elements in the design process. These are components, mechanics, and dynamics (Werbach & Hunter, 2012).

  • Dynamics are the elements of gamification that induce the player’s experience (Werbach & Hunter, 2015). The dynamics are generated by the usage of mechanics, which challenge the player and govern her/his progression. Finally, the components are simple, real parts of the game that provide interaction with the player. Dynamics are at the top of the pyramid (Kim, 2015). It is not possible to import those directly into the game, but they can rather be achieved as a result of the other elements used in game design. Constraint is one of the well-known dynamics, based on restrictions or forced actions that induce indirect control. Emotion is another dynamic that can be related to happiness, frustration, curiosity,etc. Narrative is a storyline that provides advancement to the gameplay. Progression provides adaptability of the challenges to the improvement of player performance. Relationships are social interactions based on competition and cooperation that generate feelings like status, altruism, etc.

  • Mechanics are how the elements are used to trigger motivation and engagement (Kim, 2015). There are a number of main mechanics widely preferred in gamification (Gil et al., 2015). Challenges/Quests are a set of tasks that users are directed to fulfill in a game. They provide a relation between several objectives to keep the players in play until they finish a certain number of them. Quests usually combine stories with objectives in goal games to support role-playing and drama-based pleasure. Chance is the randomness of triggering some events which provide the joy of surprise and reduce monotonicity. In Competition, a gamer or a team performs better and beats the others. Cooperation allows several gamers to collaborate and reach some common goals. Feedback is used for informing players about their game performance and providing suggestions for improvement. Resource Acquisition makes players get useful or collectible resources. Rewards are benefits as a result of some actions, achievements, or accomplishments. Transactions are direct or indirect trading between players. Turn is used for participation of many players with time to evaluate other activities and develop strategies. Win States are the cases that determine the winners and losers or if there is a draw.

  • It is possible to adopt numerous game components in gamification (Mora et al., 2015). Some prominent components are points, achievement/badges, leaderboards, and levels. Point is one of the ways to reward customers due to their success, to form the game economy and to evaluate competition among many users. It is very effective for evaluating and rewarding user performance. It allows gamers to see how much they succeed, to keep a list of their former accomplishments, to spend efforts to increase their performance and success, to keep a track of their historical game success (especially when pursuing a task that takes a long time to fully complete), and to compare their success with the other gamers. Moreover, financial rewards for user success are usually calculated and provided in the form of points which can be converted into cash. Points may have more value if used for buying products of partners (e.g. airplane tickets, gas station discounts, movie tickets, selected places to eat and other). It is also possible to use distinguished points to reward different accomplishments and performances. Points have to be given fairly and their monetary value has to be well-adjusted. Achievements are preferred for giving extra non-compulsory objectives to users. They foster handling of several tasks simultaneously, increase user performance and provide further challenges. They are mostly welcomed by skilled professional users and “Explorer” class users, which do not feel fully satisfied after accomplishing the mandatory missions and expect additional challenges. Badges are perpetually provided to users upon completing achievements. They usually have symbolic representations and they are usually kept in an inventory to allow users have a collection of their past performance in optional tasks and represent their prestige in social in-game activities. Some badges can be grouped differently to ease evaluation and comparison of overall user performances throughout the whole playing process. Leaderboards are effective to promote competition among people. They provide a simplified summary and clear comparison of user performances over a specific duration of time. Different leaderboards can be used to distinguish different performance of users or a group of users (such as cities, states, regions or countries) fostering cooperative behavior indirectly without any determined teams.

  • There are a number of gamification design frameworks. Werbach’s (Werbach & Hunter, 2012) "6 D's" is a widely accepted design framework for gamification. It consists of the six following steps: (a) Definition of business objectives for gamification, (b) Delineation of target behaviors or players, (c) Description of players to find ways to engage them (d) Division of activity cycles (frequency and order of engagement loops such as motivation action-feedback), (e) Addition of fun and pleasure, (f) Deployment of the appropriate tools (by people who know business goals, understand targeted players, game design, or by analytic experts and technologists). A similar but more detailed (seven steps) and player-centric approach was proposed by Burke (2014): (a) Work results and measures, (b) Target audience, (c) Gamer tasks, (d) Model for engagement, (e) Game environment and experience, (f) Game economy, (g) Playtest and iteratation. It is even possible to prefer a mixture of the design frameworks.

  • There is an increasing number of organization and business management studies in the gamification literature recently. The literature on the use of gamification in organizations and business management hosts a number of prominent topics: motivation (Hamari et al., 2018; McAuley et al., 1989; Yee, 2006), e-learning (Morrison & DiSalvo, 2014; Pilkington, 2018), gamification types and personality (Bartle, 1996; Tondello et al., 2016; Hamari & Tuunanen, 2014), behavioral changes (Edwards et al., 2016), game experience (Huotari & Hamari, 2017; Norman, 2013; Eppmann et al., 2018), game applications (Tootell et al., 2013), game mechanism and dynamics (Cheung et al., 2014; Khaleel et al., 2015; Seaborn & Fels, 2015; Knaving & Björk, 2013), big data and crowdsourcing (Morschheuser et al., 2019; Panchariya et al., 2015).

  • There are a few works in this area of study related to psychological factors that affect gamification and behavioral results (Nacke & Deterding, 2017). Increasing studies in organizations and business management has begun to eliminate this deficiency.

  • Personalization in gamification is an increasingly important and useful method for organizations and management studies. In gamification, customization is the adaptation of game mechanics to the player. To understand individual preferences, such as personality characteristics of the players, user types and game experiences are examined. In this context, Tondello et al. (2016), proposed a scale for identifying player types, consisting of 24 points aiming to explore user motivation while examining the relationship between big-five characteristic features and gamification user classes. In another study (Eppmann et al., 2018), the “Gameful Experience Scale” was developed to measure the players' experience in the game. The researchers aimed to evaluate and improve the results of marketing activities by measuring players’ knowledge. METHODS

  • 1. A bibliometric statistical analysis and mapping of business and management related gamification studies in the literature between 2012-2022.

  • In this study, both academic studies and successful gamification applications in the real sector were analyzed. The analysis consisted of two stages. In the first stage, the data about the related studies in the academic field were gained from the Web of Science (WoS) database. The analysis covered articles published until 2022. The WoS database was explored, searching for the keyword “gamification” in topics. Only the resulting 3625 articles were taken into consideration, excluding conference proceedings, book chapters, reviews and other. Among these 3625 articles, business and management research areas were in the top five popular research categories. The results were further refined to cover the studies only in business and management categories ending up with 396 articles. The search included all years. Statistics such as the number of publications, countries, journals with the highest number of published articles and the most cited top 10 articles were extracted. The data obtained was further analyzed using VOSviewer software for bibliometric mapping of citations, co-citations and cooccurrence in terms of authors, keywords, countries and sources. In the second stage, pioneering sectoral gamification applications in this area of study were examined. In consequence of all these investigations, the study tries to determine the possible areas of deployment for sustainable businesses. FINDINGS AND DISCUSSION

  • The data used in the bibliometric analysis is taken from Web of Science database for the time period between 2012 (the year of the first related publication) and 2022. Initially any article with gamification word in their title, abstract or keywords is taken into account. In the next step only the gamification studies in the area of business management are focused on. Top countries, journals and the most cited 10 articles are listed.

  • Gamification has gained interest in recent years. According to the WoS index, the first scientific study was published in 2012. The number of studies has significantly increased in the recent years (Figure 1).

  • Figure 1. The number of publications on gamification by year In terms of Web of Science categories, business and management related gamification studies are in the top five (Figure 2). Figure 2. The top five Web of Science categories in gamification publications The number of business and management related publications in each year is shown in Figure 3. The first publication in the area of gamification in business management was published in 2012. The research efforts have significantly increased since 2019.

  • Authors and Year Journal Name Focus of Interest 1 314 Hamari (2013) Electronic Commerce

  • service 2 263 Robson et. al. (2015)

  • of gamification 3 255 Luthans et al. (2017)

  • Psychological capital 4 231 Hamari and Sjöblom, (2017)

  • Internet Research Electronic sports 5 230 Huotari and Hamari, (2017)

  • Electronic Markets Service marketing 6 166 Terlutter and Capella, (2013)

  • Nike +: In year 2006, Nike developed a mobile application which can track the distance ran, speed, and time. The app aims to motivate people to increase their daily activities and run by providing a competitive environment with friends using leaderboards within different periods (weekly, monthly, etc.). Nike + allows sports data transfer to other applications (e.g., burned calories for food monitoring applications) and sharing achievements over social media accounts (McGonigal, 2011). A smart wristband supports the application (Nike + Fuelband). Users can access detailed information about their activities through this wristband. The application sets targets and shows user progress through daily feedback. When users reach the goals, a celebration animation appears on screen with a digital character (Chou, 2018).

  • My Starbucks Reward: This is a mobile application developed for Starbucks customers (Starbucks, 2018). After registration, customers collect stars as they buy the company’s products. The application categorizes users according to their loyalty. People who have purchased more products reach higher levels with unique advantages, such as an additional cup of coffee for free, a gift on birthday, or even customer-specific individual offers.

  • Samsung All Eyes on S4 Event: The Company organized a competition in partnership with Swisscom using eye-tracking technology to announce the market release of their new phone model S4. Four particular billboards were placed in crowded public areas in Switzerland. The competition had a simple rule: any person who could stare at the advertisement without any interruption for 60 minutes would win a free phone. However, it was not very easy for players. The organizers used many distractors, from police dogs to arguing couples and even a fake motorcycle accident. Many people played the game; however, only 13 of the players successfully fulfilled the task. This event effectively advertised the new product. The competition attracted a big audience and engaged both the players and spectators. The game reached many people through live online streaming and went viral (Chou, 2018).

  • Samsung Nation: Samsung has developed a gamified loyalty program where users could earn badges, compete in leaderboards, and reach higher achievement levels (Samsung, 2018). The system initially requires registration to the Samsung Nation community. Users can earn badges and level-up by asking questions, participating in discussions, attending events, and reviewing products.

  • Heineken’s Star Player Game: This mobile application wants you to predict scores and events in live streamed matches 30 seconds before they may happen. Based on the accuracy of estimations, players can compete with their friends and other users globally (Chou, 2018).

  • FourSquare: Users of this platform rate and comment on the places that they go. Using the global positioning system (GPS), the platform provides a suggestion for nearby places to go. The main used elements used in this gamified platform are points, badges and a leaderboard (McGonigal, 2011).

  • eBay: eBay’s web platform has been implementing points, badges, gifts, and privilege as gamification elements for a very long time (Zichermann & Linder, 2010).

  • Microsoft Ribbon Hero: This application aims to track the functionalities of Microsoft Office software to users in an engaging and motivating way (Kuutti, 2013). A range of tasks is assigned to users by the application. Initially, all the users are entrusted with the same job, while at later stages specialized tasks related to frequently used functions of the program are assigned (Kim, 2013). Each accomplished task is rewarded with points. Users can share their task progress and earn points over social media. Moreover, leaderboards provide a competitive environment. The application has a list of tasks for different levels providing a specialized gamified experience. HOW CAN GAMIFICATION BE INTEGRATED INTO SUSTAINABLE BUSINESSES?

  • Data processing will transform management into a field where companies’ and individuals’ behavior will be accurately predicted, directed, and optimum actions will be calculated and implemented through a transparent strategy game (McAfee et al., 2012; Mortenson et al., 2015).

  • Interactions among individuals are increased with the expansion ofof the use of internet and smartphones. Increasing interactions allows the deployment of new financial, coordination, and management models (Afuah & Tucci, 2012; Hamari et al., 2016). Currently, companies aim to create value by reaching masses over the internet and integrating them into the process. In particular, new ideas, information collection, content creation, creativeness, and brainstorming requiring problems to be solved through this approach are called “crowdsourcing.” Crowdsourcing is an emerging field where gamification is becoming popular to increase employees’ motivation and performance (Morschheuser et al., 2019). Businesses can combine crowdsourcing with gamification to motivate the masses to get more effective results. CONCLUSION AND FUTURE RESEARCH

  • The reviewed studies and examples showed that gamification was firstly adopted by the private sector and then gained interest in academia. According to the WoS, the first related study was conducted in 2011, while examples in the industry go further back. The majority of the scientific studies are conference papers. The top five countries with the largest quantity of related publications are USA, Spain, UK, Germany, and Italy. The studies are dominantly in education, software, IT, and electronics sectors. Business is at the 10th among study categories for gamification. The increasing number of publications in recent years shows that gamification has gained considerable attention in the area of business only very recently. This may be because interest in gamification has just begun in the business literature. The first studies on gamification were more related to engineering and technology. After the technical background of gamification, related software, systems, dynamics, and components became clear and standardized, many different science areas started to integrate it into their research activities.

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