Cultivating collaboration through games

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Seamless cooperation between individuals is essentially a crucial aspect of any successful endeavor. A host of literature has been published both in the academic realm as well in more popular venues about how cooperation could be cultivated. However, true cooperation often forms organically without external enforcement.

Recently, there has been one special example of a context where cooperation seems to effortlessly sprung up between people who might not even have had previous connections, not just between individuals, but across wide spectrum of people. The context is video/online games; games such as Ingress, Pokémon Go, and World of Warcraft bind people all over the world together to work against insurmountable odds and to overcome jointly held challenges. Thus, organizations of many types have recently begun to gamify their structures and services in order to cultivate such seamless cooperation.

However, before this potential of games can be successfully wielded outside video game environments, we need a better understanding of how games are able to cultivate such cooperation. Therefore, we have conducted a study in which we investigated how games can induce and cultivate we-intention of working as a group. Specifically, we investigated how cooperative game features affect different forms of group dynamics and how they further translate into we-intentions. We employed data from users of the augmented reality game Ingress (N = 206). The results showed that cooperative game features induce we-intentions via positively increasing group norms, social identity, joint commitment, attitudes toward cooperation, and anticipated positive emotions.

The findings imply that practitioners who are looking to increase cooperation should find that gamification inspired by cooperative game design is beneficial and preferable over individual-based gamification efforts that are more commonplace in gamification initiatives. Cooperative games such as Ingress, Pokémon Go, or World of Warcraft provide a treasure of examples of concrete design features that can easily be transferred to other environments for supporting cooperation.

Please see the paper for full details:

Citation: Morschheuser, B., Riar, M., Hamari, J., & Maedche, A. (2017). How games induce cooperation? A study on the relationship between game features and we-intentions in an augmented reality game. Computers in human behavior, 77, 169-183. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2017.08.026


Benedikt Morschheuser
Institute of Information Systems & Marketing, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
Corporate Research, Robert Bosch GmbH

Marc Riar
Chair of Information Systems IV, University of Mannheim, Germany

Juho Hamari
Gamification Group, Tampere University of Technology, Finland
Gamification Group, University of Turku, Finland

Alexander Mädche
Institute of Information Systems & Marketing, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

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