Learning or Playing? The Effect of Gamified Training on Performance

51 Pages Posted: 19 Dec 2022

See all articles by Ryan W. Buell

Ryan W. Buell

Harvard Business School

Wei Cai

Columbia Business School

Tatiana Sandino

Harvard Business School - Accounting and Control

Date Written: December 8, 2022

Abstract

Gamified training is a novel management control system in which companies use gamification techniques to engage and motivate employees to learn. This study empirically examines the performance consequences of gamified training using data from a natural field experiment in a professional services firm. We find that, on average, the main effect of adopting the gamified training platform on performance is significantly positive. We also study whether outcomes depend on how engaged the office is in the gamified training platform (i.e. office engagement) and who is engaged in the gamified training platform (i.e. leader engagement). Our findings suggest that the benefits of gamified training are greater when employees are more engaged—as revealed by their readiness to log onto the gamified training platform— and when more leaders, who are actively engaged in selling to clients and who serve as role models for their employees, actively participate in the gamified training platform.

Suggested Citation

Buell, Ryan W. and Cai, Wei and Sandino, Tatiana, Learning or Playing? The Effect of Gamified Training on Performance (December 8, 2022). Harvard Business School Technology & Operations Mgt. Unit Working Paper No. 19-101, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4307211 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4307211

Ryan W. Buell (Contact Author)

Harvard Business School ( email )

Soldiers Field Road
Morgan Hall 429
Boston, MA 02163
United States
617-496-6918 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.hbs.edu/rbuell

Wei Cai

Columbia Business School ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

Tatiana Sandino

Harvard Business School - Accounting and Control ( email )

367 Morgan Hall
Soldiers Field
Boston, MA 02163
United States
617-495-0625 (Phone)

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