It's Not All Fun and Games: Feedback, Task Motivation, and Effort
32 Pages Posted: 27 Nov 2017
Date Written: November 21, 2017
Performance feedback is a pervasive element of education, management, marketing, and the entire gaming industry. Prior research on feedback focuses on what information individuals receive, and how frequently. The gaming industry, though, is built upon the premise that how feedback is delivered matters and, in particular, that “context” – narrative and story – are key. However, even as organizations increasingly adopt gaming elements into their feedback systems, prior research offers little guidance about whether standard performance feedback, combined with gaming elements, yields greater effort. We report the results of experiments that identify the impact of feedback through gamification, through a novel experimental design that introduces narratives into the task. Compared to standard performance feedback, gamification significantly increases effort in a “real effort” task. However, consistent with past research showing that intrinsic and extrinsic incentives interact, gamification has a positive impact on effort when extrinsic incentives are low, but no impact when they are high. The introduction of narrative – storyline development – induces the greatest effort, even compared to Leaderboards, a gaming element that often features in performance feedback systems.
Keywords: intrinsic motivation, extrinsic motivation, performance, feedback, gamification, effort
JEL Classification: J24, M12, C91
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation