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The Gamification of Work: The Use of Games in the Workplace

ISBN: 978-1-78630-123-9
198 pages
February 2017, Wiley-ISTE
The Gamification of Work: The Use of Games in the Workplace (1786301237) cover image


Despite the traditional opposition between play and work, games and their structure are increasingly used in workplaces. This phenomenon of using game elements or mechanisms in other contexts than games is named “gamification”. In workplaces, the gamification is supposed to abolish the separation between work and leisure or between constraint and pleasure. This book reviews a century of game theories in the social sciences and analyzes the uses of games in workplaces. We critically question the explicit functions (learning, experimentation…) which are supposed to be conveyed by games. Finally, we show that game, understood as a structure, could have efficient social functions in the workplace.
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Table of Contents

Introduction  ix

Chapter 1. Prelude: Fun, Play, Game, Ludus... A Survey of Game Theories 1

1.1. Animal play, human play 2

1.2. Theories of human play  6

1.2.1. Precursors 6

1.2.2. Differentiation between game structure and ludic attitude 14

1.3. Play as potential and intermediate space  16

1.3.1. Winnicott and play as “potential space” 16

1.3.2. Bateson and the question of “frame” 19

1.3.3. Goffman’s analysis of frame  21

1.4. The concept of play today  27

1.4.1. The current syntheses of a definition of play 27

1.4.2. Brougère’s characteristics of play 28

1.4.3. The link with learning  33

Chapter 2. Games in Business 35

2.1. Relations between games and work: an apparent incongruity  35

2.1.1. A variety of ways to address the relations between games and work in the social and human sciences  39

2.2. The game in business: returning to a typology  43

2.2.1. Challenges 45

2.2.2. Simulation games 49

2.2.3. “Real-life scenarios” or “role-playing games” during training 50

2.2.4. “Reversal days” or “Try my job”  53

2.2.5. Business theater  55

2.2.6. Serious games 56

2.2.7. Traditional games (board games, cards, Kapla and Lego blocks, murder party, etc.) introduced in work contexts 62

2.3. On the field of games in business: simulation and role-playing games  65

2.3.1. The games analyzed 66

2.4. …Is it a game? 88

Chapter 3. Performativity of the Game: Games and the Structuring of Experience 97

3.1. From the reality of work to the fictionality of games  97

3.1.1. The ambiguity of games: from the “not for real” to the untruth 100

3.1.2. From double assertion to mediation  103

3.1.3. The liminality of the game 105

3.1.4. “Belief forged within immersion” 106

3.2. A role to play  109

3.2.1. Role understood as status  110

3.2.2. Deframing/reframing: role as technique 112

3.3. Asymmetrical reversals: what happens to social relations in the game?  118

3.3.1. Terms of reversal 119

3.3.2. Limits of reversal 120

3.3.3. Taking another’s place up to what point? 122

3.3.4. Changing place, changing view?  124

3.3.5. Carnival and order  126

3.4. The game as an operating structure and the performativity of the game  129

3.4.1. An experience without consequences?  133

3.4.2. Training for reflexivity, flexibility and exploration  135

3.4.3. Performance linked to self-realization 137

3.4.4. The power to speak granted by the fictional frame  140

3.4.5. Promoting learning  142

3.4.6. The naturalization of rules and norms 145

Conclusion 151

Bibliography  155

Index 171

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