A gameful change : How Gamification Can Be Used as a Communication Tool in Change Management

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Medier och kommunikation

Abstract: Nowadays organisations have to relate and adapt to a more digital reality, however, approximately 70 % of all digital transformation projects fail. Gamification is constructed by applying game elements to non-game context, in order to create motivational affordance that signals gamefulness. Game elements can be components, mechanics, dynamics and emotion, i.e., visual elements and behind the scenes rules and structures. The aim of this master’s thesis is to explore how gamification, from a strategic communication perspective, can be used within organisations to support change processes linked to digitalisation and IT-systems use. To understand how gamification can be used in a change process, change communication, sensemaking, and human psychology theories are combined in an interdisciplinary theoretical framework. To explore the research question a qualitative approach has been chosen. The empirical data has been gathered through semi structured interviews with gamification experts and representatives from two case organisations. The results show that gamification can be used as a strategic communication tool in a change process by involving the employee in an ongoing dialog based on interaction, that helps them understand, accept and contribute to the intended transformation. By having an enabling and enhancing effect, gamification makes the employee’s use of digital tools more enjoyable and stimulating, and thereby supports a sociotechnical change process. The conclusion implies that gamification can be used to engage and motivate employees in a new way, that makes their roles and responsibilities more fun and interesting. Something that is becoming increasingly important to organisations in the struggle to attract and retain young professionals. Gamification can help organisations adapt to a more digitalised way of operation that includes the employees in an ongoing interaction, adapted to their needs and drivers.

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