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European Journal of Information Systems

Getting Serious about Gamification: Putting more than mere ‘Fun and Games’ into Systems

Deadline: 28 February 2019

For many centuries, people of all ages, cultures, and backgrounds have played games for fun, and occasionally for profit. Gaming has become even more popular with the advent of digital gaming and Internet-based gaming. Thus, gaming has become a serious business and area of research, to the extent that academic researchers are studying gaming and its potential applications to nongaming areas.

The interdisciplinary research area of applying gaming or game-like elements to non-gaming contexts is referred to as ‘gamification.’ Gamification has been a promising method in systems design to increase engagement, flow, learning, interactivity, cognitive absorption, intrinsic motivation, team performance and the like. Gamification is thus an emerging research area that is attracting increasing attention from researchers in many fields. However, this is an area of research that is particularly lacking in strong theory development, causal experimental designs, proper measurement, and an understanding of just how gaming elements aid serious systems use. Meanwhile, the extant empirical research has reported conflicting results on its effectiveness and efficiency. Thus, there is an open question as to how useful gamification is, and if the present scientific approaches to studying it are sufficiently rigorous. Moreover, we have to identify just how gamification studies could inform us on what makes us feel fun or experience enjoyment in our interactions with systems.

Indeed, in 2011 MIT Professor Kevin Slavin was early to criticize business research into gamification as flawed, misleading, and full of sloppy thinking. As example, he emphasized such research lacks ‘basic understanding of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation in gameplay’. Little has changed since his criticisms were first aired. To date, much of the implementation of gamification relies on a simplistic understanding that the point of gamification is ‘fun’ and the way to implement this is through readily copied elements such as ‘points,’ ‘leader boards,’ and ‘avatars’. By contrast, we argue that gamification can and should be much more than this, to reach its full potential. Instead, we see gamification as fundamentally about appealing to powerful intrinsic motivations that make us human and that are more than mere ‘fun’: altruism, mastery, competition, learning, achievement, competition, socializing, charity, closure, self-expression, love, control and so on.

Hence, to date, one could argue that we know very little about how to best implement gamification to augment the use and outcomes of serious systems. We have yet to fully leverage and understand the underlying powerful intrinsic motivations that make gamification create synergies with serious systems. Information systems researchers, who long have studied ‘serious systems,’ should be among the leaders explaining how such systems can be improved via gamification.

European Journal of Information Systems

Language: en-US

Publisher: tandf

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This special issue welcomes contributions from many lenses: design science, empirical primary or secondary data, qualitative or case studies, neuroscience / HCI studies, sociotechnical studies, organisational research, individual-level behavioural research, or review / theory building articles. However, we cannot accommodate studies primarily grounded in mathematics/algorithms, computer science or mathematical modelling. Moreover, the context must substantially deal with gamification applied to information systems. Thus, pure gaming papers (e.g., video gaming) are not appropriate but all forms of ‘serious games’ are (e.g., games used to change human behaviour and motivation for non-hedonic purposes). However, papers do not have to be empirical or include original data.

Topics include, but are not limited to, the following aspects of gamified systems:

  • Adoption, use, and continuance of gamified technology
  • Augmented and virtual reality in improving organisational systems
  • Cross-cultural organisational issues in gamification
  • Crowdsourcing and gamification
  • Design and development of gamified information systems
  • Exploitation of employees and social ills of gamification
  • Gamified Security, Education, Training, and Awareness (SETA) programs
  • Gamifying e-health and mobile healthcare
  • Gamifying media for enhanced outcomes
  • Improving interactivity and engagement in systems through gamification
  • Improving Quantified Self 2.0 fitness and health platforms through gamification
  • IT governance for gamified systems
  • Leveraging intrinsic motivations in gamification other than ‘joy’
  • Measurement and validation of novel intrinsic motivations in gamification
  • Mobility and gamification
  • Negative user effects and unintended consequences of gamification
  • New design artefacts of gamification
  • Organisation consequences of gamification design
  • Psychology of enjoying systems
  • ‘Serious games’ for changing human behaviour or motivation for non-hedonic purposes (e.g., therapy, education, addiction recovery, training, simulations)
  • Social impacts of gamification
  • Socio-technical mechanisms for fostering gamification
  • Storytelling and narratives to improve system engagement
  • The intersection of the information systems artefact and gamification
  • Theory building to support the study of gamified systems
  • Training and educational techniques for the workplace via gamification
  • Unexpected and novel uses of gamification
  • Virtual worlds for business purposes

Dates for the Diary

  • Initial CFP and solicitation of manuscripts: June 30, 2018 to December 31, 2018
  • EJIS submission system open for submissions: January 1, 2019 to February 28, 2019
  • Screening decisions / send out to AEs and reviewers: March 1, 2019 to May 31, 2019
  • Decisions on revisions / rejections from 1st round: June 01, 2019 to August 31, 2019
  • Due date for authors to submit 2nd round of revisions: November 30, 2019
  • Decision on revisions / rejections from 2nd round: December 1, 2019 to February 15, 2020
  • Due date for authors to submit 3rd round of revisions (should only be minor / moderate, no major revisions at this point to make SI): May 01, 2020
  • Final publishing decisions, hand-off to publisher for proofs processing: June 30, 2020

Editorial Information