Driving engagement and online social behavior of employees in an enterprise environment

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In the recent years, gamification, “the use of game design elements in non-game contexts”, has drawn the attention of an increasing number of scientists. Although several studies highlighted the benefits of gamification in several applications, its potential in the enterprise environment still needs to be understood. In the enterprise context, companies strive to foster positive behaviour in employees in order to achieve important business needs. For example, it is important for enterprises to educate their employees about the company’s values, products and services. Also essential is to improve the work environment by facilitating social interaction between employees online. Lastly, companies also need to incentivise their employees to spread awareness of the enterprise’s vision and interests beyond the boundaries of the company. This thesis contributes to the studies on enterprise gamification with a study performed at a large multinational enterprise. We designed and implemented a modular and extensible framework for studying gamification and instantiated it as a Q&A game combined with news sharing and social connections capabilities. We used the experimental tool to test the effectiveness of several game mechanics for promoting several types of behaviour. The study involved N=206 IBM employees, organised in 4 experimental groups, and lasted between May 12th and July 11th, 2014. Results show that the implementation of game mechanics was beneficial for the goals of this thesis. First, the tool was received well by employees, who quickly became engaged. They answered quiz questions, invited colleagues to play the game and shared news. The level of engagement was dependent on the game mechanics assigned to an experimental group. Second, the tool has been proved successful for promoting knowledge acquisition. Third, the results related to social online behaviour were also encouraging, showing that several game mechanics can stimulate the desired response from employees.