Playbour and the Gamification of Work: Empowerment, Exploitation and Fun as Labour Dynamics

  • Raul Ferrer-Conill
Part of the Dynamics of Virtual Work book series (DVW)


Ferrer-Conill critically analyses the trend of incorporating playful thinking and game elements within working processes among organizations and businesses with the promise of worker empowerment and self-realization. Focusing on the notion of playbour and gamification of work, this chapter discusses and contextualises practical and theoretical outcomes of adopting technologies that on the one hand promise turning labour into fun and enjoyment, and on the other hand are based on opaque assemblages grounded in exploitation, surveillance and control. Ferrer-Conill concludes that the traditional frictions between work and play are mediated by contradicting labour dynamics embedded in a technological assemblage that attempts to both empower and exploit the employee, whose only choice is to play or revolt.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Raul Ferrer-Conill
    • 1
  1. 1.Karlstad UniversityKarlstadSweden

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