Promoting Knowledge Sharing Behavior with Gamified Knowledge Management

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What! A! Journey! For ten weeks already you have been following me along the path to knowledge management and for me, blogging about this topic was both exciting and rewarding as I also learnt something new with every written post. Looking through all the comments I have received, one from my first blog post, has caught my attention.

“I’m really wondering what your recommendations for the “motivation” piece are. I’ve used a lot of knowledge management systems, forums, rewarding tools and so on but this is focusing mainly on the ones that are active contributors already. I’m looking for ways on how to activate passive users and keep them motivated on the long turn. Looking forward to your next episodes of the blog.“

Barriers to Knowledge Sharing

Although I have talked about knowledge sharing techniques, one thing is clear: the simple application of tools and practices will not motivate people. There has to be something else. People who are not familiar with knowledge management may even object the idea of making extra effort to actively share what they know. How often have you heard one of the following sentences?

The best way to inspire people to follow a certain behaviour is probably through inspirational or transformational leadership. If a leader (no, not a manager!) is able to communicate on a regular basis with the employees, defines clear expectations and checks on the employees’ performance by not forgetting to thank and praise them for their efforts, chances are high that people understand the value created with such initiatives. Most importantly leaders themselves should be a role model i.e. leading by example and actively passing on their knowledge.

Aspects of Gamified Knowledge Management

Yet, companies can also motivate their employees through recognizing achievements and giving rewards. My attentive readers certainly remember last week’s post about gamification in education. Today I would like to shift your focus towards motivational psychology and knowledge sharing behaviour promoted by gamification. Various studies identified a large variety of knowledge sharing motivational factors which range from altruism, reputation or peer-recognition to even external factors like rewards (Friedrich et al., 2020). Just as in education, KM managers can make use of the various game features gamification offers, such as:

Aspects of Gamification (based on Friedrich et al., 2020, p. 347)

Gamified knowledge management should include the following four categories (Friedrich et al., 2020, p. 346):

  • Socialization i.e. interaction between different KM users
  • Combination i.e. linking to existing contributions or resources
  • Externalization i.e. creation of new knowledge contributions
  • Internalization i.e. making use of the knowledge contributions

But how can gamification actually support knowledge management? The idea is to promote knowledge sharing behaviour with elements of friendly competition, making it fun to collaborate. How does simple gamified KM look like in practice?

  • Employees can earn points for every contribution e.g. best practices, lessons learnt, resources (however, usually contributions need to be monitored and assessed in terms of quality)
  • Employees can earn additional points depending on the number of interactions their contribution enregisters e.g. clicks, likes, bookmarks
  • Employees can earn additional points for actively participating in forums, answering questions etc.
  • Those employees that have collected a certain amount of points can be awarded a badge which can be made visible on their company’s social network page (if the company has something like an internal LinkedIn)
  • A leaderboard can show the top contributors (knowledge workers) and top performers can furthermore be rewarded with tangible rewards e.g. an extra day off or free lunch within canteen

As you can see gamification offers a vast range of possibilities to encourage friendly competition that sparks knowledge sharing behavior. The following video gives you an overview of the 9 steps businesses need to follow in order to implement gamification in their workplace.

How is your company currently motivating employees to share knowledge? Have you experienced gamification at your workplace? How is your manager dealing with this topic. Share your insights with me by using the comment section below! Looking forward to reading your answers!

I hope this article provided you with some interesting insights to gamified knowledge management. If you want to read more about the topic, I can recommend reading the article by Stan Garfield on Medium.

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Bibliography

Friedrich, J., Becker, M., Kramer, F., Wirth, M. and Schneider, M. (2020). Incentive design and gamification for knowledge management. Journal of Business Research 106, p. 341–352. Retrieved 9 May 2020 from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0148296319300992?via%3Dihub

Garfield, S. (2018). How to motivate knowledge sharing using gamification, goals, recognition, and rewards. Retrieved 9 May 2020 from https://medium.com/@stangarfield/how-to-motivate-knowledge-sharing-using-gamification-goals-recognition-and-rewards-6611457be603

Trees, L. (2013). Gamification in Knowledge Management. Retrieved 9 May 2020 from https://www.apqc.org/blog/gamification-knowledge-management

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About Author

Hello and nice to meet you! My name is Katharina and I am studying Online Business and Marketing at HSLU. I am particularly passionate about digital (mobile) trends, project management, e-learning and most importantly knowledge management. »Sharing is caring« - and that is why my blog contains insights into knowledge management. Follow me along on a modern knowledge journey.

6 Comments

  1. Olivier della Valle on

    Those are some great ideas, Katharina! I wish more companies would adopt gamification as a motivational tool. At my previous job at Mattel, we had an internal competition with the best ideas to make business life smoother and the top five ideas got fun prizes and were actually implemented. This was a great team building exercise but it also showed us as employees that the corporation wanted to actively hear our suggestions and implement them accordingly.

    • Katharina Neumann on

      Thanks for sharing your insights, Olivier. Mattel sounds like a fun and knowledge-friendly company to work with, and as you mentioned it also has a positive effect on team building!

  2. Juliette Giroux on

    Hello Katharina,
    Congratulations on your 10 weeks of blogging! As usual, very insightful article. I’ve never experienced such a gamification but would have loved to. I can definitely understand the barriers for people to share their knowledge. It takes time so it has to be motivated! And what a great way of doing so. I hope I’ll get to experience such a thing once in my career. Thank you for the insights!
    See you soon,

    • Katharina Neumann on

      Thanks for your feedback and wishes, Juliette! I am happy about my modern knowledge journey and hope you also enjoyed following my blog.

  3. I think motivation is something very personal, so is knowledge sharing. I, too, have heard these or similar sentences within my career but I think we need to overcome the “knowledge is power” mindset and move more towards a knowledge friendly company culture. I think more companies should work with these approaches. Gamification certainly can be an interesting one.

    • Katharina Neumann on

      Thanks for sharing your opinion, Jens! I totally support your view! What does your company currently do to promote knowledge sharing?

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