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Transforming learning and IT management through gamification
Prakash E., Rao M., Springer Publishing Company, Incorporated, New York, NY, 2015. 119 pp. Type: Book (978-3-319186-98-6)
Date Reviewed: Mar 16 2016

Although this book was released within the “Elsevier International Series on Computer Entertainment and Media Technology,” it provides serious insight into the concept of gamification, a new and interesting category that is slowly being recognized by more and more learners and managers in education, business, and other fields. Prakash and Rao provide readers with an understanding of gamification as a tool for transforming learning and working environments. Hence, they focus on gamification deployment in enterprises where games help information technology (IT) managers improve IT use as well as the overall development of their organizations. The real advantage of this title is its organization of the text, which is very clear, contextually structured, and with appropriate descriptions and real-world examples. Such an approach helps the reader understand gamification theory and the process of gamification deployment in an enterprise.

There are eight general chapters, each focused on a special aspect and process of gamification. The first chapter introduces IT as a knowledge industry and its impact on everyday life and work, and the special role played by the IT team, which in many organizations lacks enough motivation and stimulation to do its job successfully and in innovative ways. The solution is in the game as a very popular thing amongst almost all groups and ages, and game-based applications become the tool for improving business activity. However, many factors influence proper gamification concept implementation and the authors describe them in the next chapters. The second chapter is about real-life facts existing in enterprises: IT managers’ skills and authority in the project management process, overall enterprise micro-culture and the nature of personal relationships, and individual motivation and job satisfaction issues. The third chapter provides a very intuitive introduction to gamification itself, giving readers an idea of the actual importance of gamification in IT use across an enterprise where every manager, policy maker, and employee is deeply connected with some form of IT-based activity. The authors also note that gamification, although a novice category with several more years of real utilization, is a dominant actor in incorporating gaming concepts into job tasks, making them more attractive, innovative, and engaging.

“Introduction to Gamification in Enterprises,” chapter 4, gives clear facts on IT managers’ competencies and skills, as well as human resource managers who care about employees’ engagement and productivity results through various organizational and sociological activities. The authors also explain the basis for gamification success in enterprises focused on a two-factor theory for job satisfaction. Next is chapter 5 on the importance of gamification in informal education and training, imperative for any modern enterprise. Special attention is given to interactivity and mixed reality.

Chapter 6 describes a case study of gamification in enterprises where IT and digital culture require more innovative ways to handle organizational and working task processes. The authors present the possibilities of gamification in the enterprise, accompanied by the issues with which information managers are faced. In chapter 7, readers will find where and how gamification helps managers in ordinary work tasks as well as in promoting, innovating, and developing processes and task components for their employees. The final chapter (8) presents the potential solutions for gamification within an enterprise through integration with existing systems such as training, human resources, recruitment, project allocation, and so on. The authors also present issues with the open badges tool/application to reward and recognize a variety of skills and achievements of both employees and information managers. Additionally, the authors briefly present the RESTful web services concept.

Since gamification is a relatively new category, this title is undoubtedly a valuable contribution to the literature in the field. Most of today’s enterprise IT managers will find many useful facts and answers on a game-oriented approach to everyday work tasks, improving employee motivation, innovation, and productivity using IT as a standard tool. What could motivate employees to do ordinary tasks more effectively? The answer is in gamification, and this book provides evidence for gamification’s ability to improve work culture, productivity, and success.

Reviewer:  F. J. Ruzic Review #: CR144238 (1606-0397)
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