Gamifying Recruitment, Selection, Training, and Performance Management: Game-Thinking in Human Resource Management

Gamifying Recruitment, Selection, Training, and Performance Management: Game-Thinking in Human Resource Management

Michael B. Armstrong (Old Dominion University, USA), Richard N. Landers (Old Dominion University, USA) and Andrew B. Collmus (Old Dominion University, USA)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 26
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8651-9.ch007
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Abstract

Game-thinking is beginning to appear in a wide variety of non-game contexts, including organizational support settings like human resource management (HRM). The purpose of this chapter is two-fold: 1) to explore the opportunities for game-thinking via gamification and serious games in HRM based on current and previous HRM literature and 2) to identify future research areas at the intersection of game-thinking and HRM. Prevailing HRM theories will be applied to the use of game-thinking in different sub-fields of HRM, including recruitment, selection, training, and performance management.
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Introduction

Game-thinking is beginning to appear in a wide variety of non-game contexts. Game-thinking has been described as an umbrella term encompassing gamification, serious games, game-inspired design, and play that can be used to solve some sort of problem (Marczewski, 2014). For the purposes of this chapter, the two major forms of game-thinking are gamification, defined as the use of game elements in non-game contexts (Deterding, Sicart, Nacke, O’Hara, & Dixon, 2011) and serious games, defined as games used for a primary goal other than entertainment (Michael & Chen, 2005). Gartner Inc. (2011) predicted that by 2014, 70 percent of Global 2000 organizations would have at least one gamified application and that by 2014, 80 percent of all gamified applications would fail (Gartner Inc., 2012). Considering the rising trend in gamified applications and the stakes at hand for businesses, organizations, and government, it is crucial to research game-thinking in organizational contexts.

Gamification has often been used in marketing (see, e.g., Sarner, 2013) and sales (see, e.g., Chapman, 2014). For example, online advertisements in the past decade and beyond employed simple point-and-click games (e.g. clicking a moving target on screen) to push marketing content onto consumers. The field of sales appears to be the simplest field to gamify, as many sales teams have employed points and leaderboard game mechanics to inspire competition among salespersons (e.g., Bunchball, 2013). Although these areas may see the most ubiquitous gamification, serious games and game elements can also be used in organizational support settings – namely, human resource management (HRM; DuVernet & Popp, 2014). Recent reports by organizations studying and applying HRM theory have identified gamification as a top trend in the field (Munson, 2013; Society for Human Resource Management, 2014), with research beginning to appear at professional conferences in the past two years (Landers, 2013; Bauer, Callan, Cavanaugh & Landers, 2014; Callan, Bauer, Armstrong, & Landers, 2014; Chow & Chapman, 2014; Geimer & O’Shea, 2014; Kubisiak, Stewart, Thornbury, & Moye, 2014; Popp, 2014; Sydell & Brodbeck, 2014).

The purpose of this chapter is two-fold: 1) to explore the opportunities for gamification and serious games in HRM based on current and previous HRM literature and 2) to identify future research areas at the intersection of game-thinking and HRM. Prevailing HRM theories will be applied to the use of game-thinking in different sub-fields of HRM. Empirical research will be considered when available, although the current empirical literature on gamification is sparse (Hamari, Koivisto, & Sarsa, 2014). Where empirical studies of game-thinking in HRM are absent, case studies of organizations using serious games and game elements will be discussed.

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