“Social Obligation” – The Trouble with “Gamification”

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Keywords: gamification, social

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 “Social”, in an “inside-the-firewall” perspective, is often related to sharing information, sharing knowledge, as well as creating a greater degree of transparency. This includes, often, having a personal profile, filled with your skills and work-experiences, along with, maybe, something about your personal interests, etc. This is all so that others can see who knows what and can make contact with you if they feel that you know more about something than they do.

I am a great advocate of transparency…why not “advertise” what you know? Others can benefit from it. That’s great thing about Social – it offers a great opportunity to learn from others while at the same time allowing others to learn from you.  

Also having the ability to, electronically, shout out loud, (to no-one in particular), “I have a problem with xyz. Can anyone help me?”, and then get a response from an answer from a colleague, who is not necessarily located in the same office/building/country, is valuable. Everyone helping everyone else.

Take this one step further, and introduce some “gamification”. Let people earn points, or badges depending on their involvement in helping resolve problems, or on how other people grade the persons work (documents, or whitepapers, that they have edited, stored in a content management system). Then we let “the people” decide the value the individuals bring to the table.

To further encourage these individuals, provide a Leader board that is available for everyone to see. This way it is obvious to all who the “rock star of the month” is, and provides a way to drive others to contribute, to earn those points, and raise their status.

It sounds like an excellent way to get involvement and as a way of sharing knowledge.

But what happens when you have those people who are just as smart as all the “rock stars”, who have oodles of knowledge and experience, and who do their job extremely well, but are just not the outgoing type. They’d much rather operate away from the glare of the spotlights.

Should these people be “judged” in comparison to the more “I am my Ego” types? Should these people feel awkward or even embarrassed because they are listed as number 437 on the Leader board? It is not similar to the adolescent way teenagers would be judged whether they are “Cool”, or not depending on their popularity.

Even the ability, in many systems, to “Like” specific content can be used for “evil”. On the one hand, it allows you to use it as a way of “bookmarking” (for yourself) content you found valuable.  On the other hand, if it’s made public that a particular piece of content is very much “Liked”, what does that say about the other material (and the authors) present?

Really “Gamification” should not have a place inside the firewall.

I know that it has existed years before it was even called “gamification” (in the form of the ‘employee of the month’ or similar internal processes in place), but what is the real value in creating an artificial source of motivation? Shouldn’t the motivation be a real one?

As I mentioned, I think that being transparent is a great way of sharing knowledge. And knowledge sharing is a great way to learn. It’s when that sharing of knowledge is compulsory, in an aggressive, chest-beating kind-of-a-way, is what I disagree with.

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Comments

Nikolaus Maack

Multiple Forms of Motivation

Some shy people won't want to be on the leader board and shy away from limelight. Others love the points and being recognized for their work. I think this is why an employer should, ideally, have multiple types of "recognition streams" -- some for the extroverts, some for the introverts.

While gamification is a big buzzword right now, a lot of what goes on at work has always been "playing the game". Whether it's your number of "points", or simply the number on your paycheque, is there any way to escape it?
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Mark Owen

Great Comment

Excellent way of thinking about it.

Thanks
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Ngone addy

hi


My name is Miss Ngone,I really like your profile in this site i want us to be friends if you don't mind i don't know how you will feel about it,please you can write to me through my email Ngoneaddy@yahoo.com I'm sorry if i am embarrassing you, i shall explain all about myself including my pictures. yours in miss Ngone

Via Ngoneaddy@yahoo.com
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Kelly Hamilton

External vs internal motivation

External motivation (ie: gamification) can be quite a great motivator, but what about when everyone gets bored of it? For example, those 'employee of the month' plaques...how many times have you gone into a restaurant, and found that the last 'employee of the month' is from 2009? Once the external motivation/recognition is gone, then the employee needs to turn to internal motivation.

Internal motivation is that challenge that you set for yourself...knowing that you did a good job even though no one said anything about it. I try to teach my kids to do the right thing even though they may not get recognized for it...just because they'll be able to tell themselves that they did.

Character is what you do when no one is looking. I don't need to get points on a board to know that I do a good job, and I do it without anyone watching over me telling me if I am or not.
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Ngone addy

Hello


My name is Miss Ngone,I really like your profile in this site i want us to be friends if you don't mind i don't know how you will feel about it,please you can write to me through my email Ngoneaddy@yahoo.com I'm sorry if i am embarrassing you, i shall explain all about myself including my pictures. yours in miss Ngone

Via Ngoneaddy@yahoo.com
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This post and comment(s) reflect the personal perspectives of community members, and not necessarily those of their employers or of AIIM International