Ethics and Information Technology

, Volume 18, Issue 2, pp 157–173 | Cite as

More than just a game: ethical issues in gamification

  • Tae Wan KimEmail author
  • Kevin Werbach
Original Paper


Gamification is the use of elements and techniques from video game design in non-game contexts. Amid the rapid growth of this practice, normative questions have been under-explored. The primary goal of this article is to develop a normatively sophisticated and descriptively rich account for appropriately addressing major ethical considerations associated with gamification. The framework suggests that practitioners and designers should be precautious about, primarily, but not limited to, whether or not their use of gamification practices: (1) takes unfair advantage of workers (e.g., exploitation); (2) infringes any involved workers’ or customers’ autonomy (e.g., manipulation); (3) intentionally or unintentionally harms workers and other involved parties; or (4) has a negative effect on the moral character of involved parties.


Gamification Gamification ethics Exploitation Manipulation Persuasive technology 


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Tepper School of BusinessCarnegie Mellon UniversityPittsburghUSA
  2. 2.The Wharton SchoolUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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