Enterprise Gamification And The Blue Collar Worker


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Gamification in the corporate world so far has looked mainly at employees - or specifically white collar workers - who use computers and digital devices to interact with business systems. Blue collar workers, like those who are at an assembly line in the automotive industry, seamstresses, room maids in the service industry, or garbage collectors, present a different challenge for gamification designers. They may not use digital tools such as computers for their work on a regular base, and they often perform monotonous and mind-numbing tasks that cannot be changed or varied much. To understand them and their motivations, as well as their specific needs, we need to look at how blue collar workers see themselves, what their values are, and how they deal with monotony.

Blue-collar workers, while they operate the machines know that they do not have control over production tools and facilities. The owners decide what is produced, by whom, and where. What sounds like coming from Karl Marx directly, is in fact coming from him (and others). Before you go into a lengthy discourse about communism vs. capitalism, stay calm. Knowing this and understanding how blue-collar workers see themselves and what they value, gives us a clue of what a gamification-design for them needs to accomplish.

Because of the perception of their jobs, blue-collar workers respond to praise from a supervisor or manager different than white-collar workers. Especially if the praise seems not result from what blue-collar workers value most. What they value is meaning, dignity, and self-determination of their work. This does not mean that white-collar workers are not valuing those as well. But blue-collar workers tend to compare themselves to lower and higher status professions more often than white-collar workers do. And they tend to mistrust white collar workers.

When those values are not satisfied, they lead to job alienation, disengagement, and in the worst case to outright sabotage. However, those values are coming close to what gamification is about. Let's take a closer look at those values.

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  • Dignity comes with how an employee is treated at work. Abusive behavior can drastically change productivity, health, and collaboration in a company.
  • The psychological needs that underlie intrinsic motivation are the need to feel competent, relatedness, and to have meaningful relationships with other people. Psychologists call that self-determination.

    An employee may get intrinsic satisfaction from the variety of work, from the creativity and autonomy, from the opportunity to use one’s abilities, the importance and meaningfulness of work, that there is a sense of accomplishment, that the tasks a re challenging and the work interesting, and that there are positive coworker relationships.

    Randy Hodson, Teresa A. Sullivan, The Social Organization of Work, Wadsworth, 5th Edition, 2012
  • Enterprise Gamification And The Blue Collar Worker

    1. 1. Mario Herger Enterprise Gamification And The Blue Collar Worker
    2. 2. Video gamer girl
    3. 3. Blue Collar Worker
    4. 4. Enduring value contradictions Homo economicus Values work as an instrumental means for monetary gain Homo faber Values work for its intrinsic meanings, challenges and satisfactions Homo ludens Values the rituals of play within work
    5. 5. Values & Positive Identities Meaning Dignity Autonomy Camaraderie
    6. 6. Meaning
    7. 7. Dignity
    8. 8. Camaraderie
    9. 9. Camaraderie vs. Competition ① Competition is the opposite of collaboration ② Only a handful of people compete ③ Competition doesn’t last long ④ Competition disadvantages certain demographics ⑤ Competition leads to negative behaviors ⑥ Competition leads to administrative headaches ⑦ Only one person can win, but all others loose ⑧ Short term boost, long term damage
    10. 10. Autonomy or
    11. 11. Supervision
    12. 12. Engagement Crisis
    13. 13. Engagement Crisis
    14. 14. Happiness Happy employees ① are 2x as productive ② stay 5x longer in their jobs ③ are 6x more energized ④ take 10x less sick leave Happy workers ① help their colleagues 33% more than their least happy colleagues. ② raise issues that affect performance 46% more ③ achieve their goals 31% more often ④ are 36% more motivated
    15. 15. San Francisco Garbage Scavengers
    16. 16. Breaking the Monotony
    17. 17. Breaks
    18. 18. San Francisco Garbage Scavengers
    19. 19. Car assembly line Engine room Worker moving with tool & bolts Fastening first bolt with air tool Fastening last bolt with air tool Checking torque of first bolt with wrench Checking torque of last bolt with wrench Painting with marker to confirm that all bolts are correctly fastened
    20. 20. Sandwich preparer
    21. 21. Gamification Examples 78
    22. 22. Project Management
    23. 23. Lego™ Progress Bar
    24. 24. USS Hornet
    25. 25. Lamp
    26. 26. Gamification ① changes behaviors ② creates habits ③ gives feedback ④ teaches, engages, entertains, measures ⑤ cares about the player’s interests and motivations ⑥ allows the player to experience a gameful state ⑦ benefits the player ⑧ is not about competition ⑨ enables fun
    27. 27. Empathy
    28. 28. … empathizes with people by adding gameful experiences to work and life, helping them to fulfill their interests and motivations for the benefit of all involved parties. Homo faber, Homo ludens, and Homo economicus become one. Enterprise Gamification
    29. 29. Make work more fun! Shorthand Definition
    30. 30. Level Up Enterprise Gamification http://enterprise-gamification.com Enterprise Gamification Wiki http://enterprise-gamification.com/mediawiki Gamification Decision Engine http://www.enterprise-gamification.com:8083/ Octalysis http://octalysis.com/ mario.herger@gmail.com @mherger www.linkedin.com/in/marioherger/