On the Role of Social Comparison Processes in Gamified Work Situations

AbstractGamification, which can be defined as the use of game-design elements in the workplace, is a relatively new approach to foster work motivation. However, especially gamification elements based on rankings and leader boards create transparency among users, which allows for interpersonal social comparison. This paper gives a possible explanation why and how gamification based on a ranking influences motivation and perceived pressure by taking social comparison processes into account. To this end, we conducted a factorial survey (N = 156) to examine the effects of introducing a game-design element (public leader board) in the workplace. We found that the provision of a ranking increases motivation, perceived pressure and social comparison behavior. Importantly, we found that the motivational and pressuring effects can be largely explained by the extent of individual’s social comparison behavior.

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