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Title:Gamifying RPI: The benefits of avatars and knowledge-induced coworker familiarity
Author(s):Williams Jr., Jeffrey O
Director of Research:Hobson, Jessen
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Hobson, Jessen
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Hecht, Gary; Mehta, Ravi; Williamson, Michael
Department / Program:Accountancy
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):relative performance information
helping behavior
Abstract:The growth of the gamification industry has increased the use of avatar-enhanced leaderboards as a method of providing public relative performance information (RPI). This study examines the effect of representing employees as humanlike avatars in public leaderboards on employees’ effort to improve their leaderboard performance (i.e., self-focused effort). Additionally, since practitioners have expressed concern that competition induced by leaderboards may reduce helping behavior, I also examine the effect of humanlike avatars on subsequent helping behavior toward coworkers on unrelated tasks (i.e., others-focused effort). Using an experiment, I find that representing employees with humanlike avatars increases both self-focused and subsequent others-focused effort when coworkers know little about each other, but that humanlike avatars do not increase either form of effort when coworkers know relatively more about each other. A supplemental experiment demonstrates that these effects are robust to using both humanlike silhouettes and headshot photographs as alternative forms of avatars. My study suggests that when deciding whether to provide public RPI via avatar-enhanced leaderboards, managers ought to consider the existing social environment in which employees operate.
Issue Date:2020-04-13
Rights Information:Copyright 2020 Jeffrey Williams Jr.
Date Available in IDEALS:2020-08-26
Date Deposited:2020-05

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