Document Type : Review Article


PhD Student in Systems Management, Imam Hossein University, Tehran, Iran


How can employees be driven to engage in desirable behaviors such as greater participation in achieving goals, collaboration, and knowledge sharing? How can new customers be encouraged to buy the company's products and services? How are brand loyalty, health-oriented behaviors, adherence to rules, and social participation strengthened? Gamification is an interdisciplinary approach that provides answers to all of these questions. Gamification is about designing with the help of game components to create a game-world experience for users in real-world situations. Many managers of for-profit corporations and the public sector now use gamification strategies to influence the behavior of their beneficiaries and gamifying commercial, industrial, and social environments. The present study, with its systematic review of theoretical literature and meta-analysis of related research, intends to acquaint researchers in the fields of management and economics with the capacities of gamification in improving the business. This begins with a description of the basics (such as theories, dynamics, and mechanics) and continues with a summary of gamification applications in Management Aspects and Business/ Institutional Areas. Management Aspects section includes Marketing, Brand Loyalty, Advertising, Education, Organizational Behavior, and Operations Management; and in Business/ Institutional Areas section the applications of gamification in the Healthcare, Tourism, Political Participation, and Military are mentioned.


Adèr, H. J., Mellenbergh, G. J., and Hand, D. J. (2008). Advising on Research Methods: A consultant's companion. Johannes van Kessel: Rosmalen: Netherlands.
Alsawaier, R. S. (2019). Research trends in the study of gamification. The International Journal of Information and Learning Technology. 36(5): 373- 380.
Andre, L. (2019). 8 Gamification Trends for 2020/2021: Current Forecasts You Should Be Thinking About. Finances Online. Retrieved June 10, 2020 from:
Angelovska, N. (2019). Gamification Trends For 2019: Making Room for Game-Elements in Politics. Forbes. Retrieved June 10, 2020 from: https://
Baptista, G., and Oliveira, T. (2019). Gamification and serious games: A literature meta-analysis and integrative model. Computers in Human Behavior. 92: 306- 315.
Bartle, R. (1996). Hearts, clubs, diamonds, spades: players who suit MUDs. Journal of MUD Research, 1(1), 19.
Bossetta, M. (2018). The Gamification of Politics: Can Online Political Games Increase Civic and Political Engagement? ECPR Joint Sessions, University of Nicosia. Retrieved June 10, 2020  from: PaperID=38473&EventID=112
Bunchball (2010). Gamification 101: An Introduction to the Use of Game Dynamics to Influence Behavior. Retrieved June 10, 2020 from sites/default/files/downloads/gamification101.pdf
Burke, B. (2012). Gamification 2020: What Is the Future of Gamification? Gartner. 5 November 2012, ID: G00237457.
Csikszentmihályi, M. (2008). Flow: The psychology of optimal experience. HarperCollins: New York: USA.
Csikszentmihályi, M., and LeFevre, J. (1989). Optimal experience in work and leisure. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 56(5): 815–822.
Davis, B. (2020). How to Use Gamification to Improve Your Loyalty Program. The Manifest: How-To Guides. Retrieved June 10, 2020 from digital-marketing/resources/how-use-gamification-improve-your-loyalty-program
Deterding, S., O’Hara, K., Sicart, M., Dixon, D., and Nacke, L. (2011). Gamification: using game design elements in non-gaming contexts. Human Factors in Computing Systems Conference, May 7-12. 2425–2428.
Dulskaia, I., Bellini, F., Zabal, R., Pañella, O.G., & D’Ascenzo, F. (2017). Gamification as an instrument for organizational behaviour change during the meeting: case study «ROBATIEMPOS». Proceedings of the International Conference on Business Excellence, 11, 359 - 367.
Ekke, G. J. (2018). Contemporary Issues in Employee Motivation and Performance in Organizations. International Journal of Innovative Research in Social Sciences and Strategic Management Techniques. 5(1): 68- 77.
Galli, L., and Fraternali, P. (2014). Achievement systems explained. In Y. Baek, R. Ko, and T. Marsh (Eds.), Trends and applications of serious gaming and social media (pp. 22–50). Springer: Singapore.
Garbaya, S., Romano, D.M., and Hattar, G. (2019). Gamification of assembly planning in virtual environment. Assembly Automation. 39(5): 931–943.
Glass, G. V. (1976). Primary, Secondary, and Meta-Analysis of Research. Educational Researcher. 5(10): 3-8.
Hamari, J. (2019). Gamification. In the Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology (G. Ritzer., and C. Rojek Ed.). John Wiley & Sons: Hoboken, New Jersey: USA.
Herger, M. (2014). Enterprise Gamification: Engaging people by letting them have fun. (Book 1 The Basics). CreateSpace: California, United States.
Hitchens, M., and Tulloch, R. (2018). A gamification design for the classroom. Interactive Technology and Smart Education. 15(1): 28-45.
Huczynski, A., and Buchanan, D.A. (2007). Organizational behaviour: An introductory text (Instructor's Manual). Publisher Harlow: Financial Times, Prentice Hall. Retrieved June 10, 2020 from:
Hulsey, N. (2019). Games in Everyday Life: For Play. Emerald Publishing Limited. Bingley, West Yorkshire: England.
Huotari, K., and Hamari, J. (2012). Defining gamification: a service marketing perspective. In Proceeding of the 16th International Academic MindTrek Conference (MindTrek ’12). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, 17–22.
Isabelle, D. A. (2020). TEACHING BRIEF: Gamification of Entrepreneurship. Education Decision Sciences Journal of Innovative Education. 18: 203-223.
Kim, K., and Ahn, S.J. (2017). Rewards that undermine customer loyalty? A motivational approach to loyalty programs. Psychology and Marketing. 34: 842– 852.
Kim, S., and Ko, F. (2013). Toward gamified classroom: Classification of engineering students based on the Bartle’s player types model. International Journal of Digital Content Technology and its Applications (JDCTA), 7(2), 25.
King, D., Greaves, F., Exeter, C., & Darzi, A. (2013). ‘Gamification’: Influencing health behaviours with games. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 106(3): 76–78.
Kiselicki, M., Kirovska, Z., Josimovski, S., & Pulevska, L. (2018). The Concept of Gamification and its Use in Software Companies in the Republic of Macedonia, Economics and Culture, 15(1), 35-46.
Klock, A.C.T., Gasparini, I., Pimenta, M.S., and Hamari, J. (2020). Tailored gamification: A review of literature. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies. Available online 13 June 2020, 102495.
Kutty, A. (2020). Gamification in Health Care. Studies in Indian Place Names. 40(50): 2247- 2257.
Liu, M., Huang, Y., and Zhang, D. (2017). Gamification's impact on manufacturing: Enhancing job motivation, satisfaction and operational performance with smartphone based gamified job design. Human Factors and Ergonomics in Manufacturing and Service Industries. 28: 38- 51.
Lowman, G. (2016). Moving Beyond Identification: Using Gamification to Attract and Retain Talent. Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 9(3), 677-682
Lynkova, D. (2019). Top Gamification Statistics of 2020: Next Level Gaming. Review 42. Retrieved June 10, 2020 from:
Mahnič, N. (2014). Gamification of Politics: Start A New Game! Teorija in praksa [online]. 1(51): 143–161.
Marczewski, A. (2015). Even Ninja Monkeys Like to Play: Gamification, Game Thinking and Motivational Design. CreateSpace: California, United States.
Mäyrä, F. (2008). An introduction to game studies. Games in culture. Sage: London.
Mitchell, R., Schuster, L., and Drennan, J. (2017). Understanding how gamification influences behaviour in social marketing. Australasian Marketing Journal. 25(1): 12- 19.
Mullins, J. K., and Sabherwal, R. (2020). Gamification: A cognitive-emotional view. Journal of Business Research. 106: 304-314.
Myerson, R. B. (1991). Game Theory: Analysis of Conflict. Harvard University Press: Cambridge, MA, USA.
Nair, S., and Mathew, J. (2019). A Theoretical Framework for Gamified Learning. International Journal of Innovative Technology and Exploring Engineering. 8(12): 2846- 2851.
Nasirzadeh, E., and Fathian, M. (2020). Investigating the Effect of Gamification Elements on Bank Customers to Personalize Gamified Systems. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies. 143: 102469.
Ochala, G. O. (2018). Employee Motivation, An Organizational Performance Improvement Strategy (A Review on Influence of Employee Motivation on Organizational Performance). JOJ Sciences. 1(5): 120- 125.
Palmer, C., and Petroski, A. (2016). Alternate reality games. Gamification for performance. CRC Press: Taylor and Francis Group. Boca Raton, Florida: USA.
Puleston, J. (2014). Gamification of Market Research in Social Media, Sociality, and Survey Research (C. A. Hill., E. Dean., and J. Murphy Ed.) John Wiley & Sons: Hoboken, New Jersey: USA.
Robertson, A. (2014). America’s Army and the Military recruitment and management of ‘Talent’: An interview with Colonel Casey Wardynski. Journal of Gaming & Virtual Worlds. 6(2): 179- 191.
Robson, K., Plangger, K., Kietzmann, J. H., McCarthy, I., and Pitt, L. (2015). Is it all a game? Understanding the principles of gamification. Business Horizons. 58(4): 411–420.
Rodrigues, L. F., Oliveira, A., and Rodrigues, H. (2019). Main gamification concepts: A systematic mapping study. Heliyon. 5(7): e01993.
Sardi, L., Idri, A., and Fernández-Alemán, J. L. (2017). A systematic review of gamification in e-Health. Journal of Biomedical Informatics. 71: 31- 48.
Savignac, E. (2016). The Gamification of Work: The Use of Games in the Workplace. Wiley: NJ: USA.
Silveira da Silva, L. F., Verschoore, J. R., Bortolaso, I. V. and Brambilla, F. R. (2019). The effectiveness of game dynamics in cooperation networks. European Business Review. 31(6): 870-884.
Skinner, H., Sarpong, D. and White, G.R.T. (2018). Meeting the needs of the Millennials and Generation Z: gamification in tourism through geocaching. Journal of Tourism Futures. 4(1): 93-104.
Stieglitz, S., Lattemann, C., Robra-Bissantz, S., Zarnekow, R., and Brockmann, T. (2017). Gamification: Using Game Elements in Serious Contexts. Springer: Cham, Switzerland.
Terlutter, R., and Capella, M.L. (2013). The Gamification of Advertising: Analysis and Research Directions of In-Game Advertising, Advergames, and Advertising in Social Network Games. Journal of Advertising, 42(2-3): 95-112.
Uman, L. S. (2011). Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses. Journal of the Canadian Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. 20(1): 57- 59.
Vanolo, A. (2018). Cities and the politics of gamification. Cities. 74: 320-326.
Weinman, J. (2015). Digital Disciplines: Attaining Market Leadership Via the Cloud, Big Data, Social, Mobile, And the Internet of Things. John Wiley & Sons: Hoboken, New Jersey: USA.
Xi, N., and Hamari, J. (2020). Does gamification affect brand engagement and equity? A study in online brand communities. Journal of Business Research. 109: 449- 460.
Xu, F., Buhalis, D., and Weber, J. (2017). Serious games and the gamification of tourism. Tourism Management. 60: 244-256.
Zainuddin, Z., Chu, S.K.W., Shujahat, M., and Perera, C.J. (2020). The impact of gamification on learning and instruction: A systematic review of empirical evidence. Educational Research Review. 30: 100326.