Motivating Employees in a Globalized Economy: The Moral Legitimacy of Applying Gamification in a Corporate Context

  • Marianne Thejls ZieglerEmail author
Living reference work entry


For decades, corporations, consultants, and academics have examined different ways of incentivizing employees to align their volition with the interests of the corporation. This so-called soft Human resource management (HRM) adjusts working environments to the emotional needs of their employees. Critical voices have accompanied the attempts, blaming corporations for manipulating the very souls of their employees into identifying with the interests of the managerial elite without rewarding their dedication.

One of the latest management fads, gamification, has been met with similar criticism. With reference to a more detailed account of gamification and arguments from one of its critics, this chapter will show that the criticism is based on a perception of the relation between management and employees that questions the fundamental moral legitimacy of business and, as such, shows that the criticism is therefore of a circular nature. When academics presume that the overall system is deprived of legitimacy, then it only has to be demonstrated that the given HRM initiative is coherent with the values of that system in order to argue that the given HRM initiative is also deprived of legitimacy.

This circularity provides academics with a cornucopia of opportunities to criticize corporations. This chapter wishes to encourage academics, who reject neoliberal capitalism in its totality, not to waste their time also rejecting its individual manifestations but instead either apply a more differentiated approach that might assist managers and employees in cooperating across hierarchical differences or to dedicate their efforts to developing alternative social and political models.


Human resource management Gamification 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Peter Löscher Chair of Business EthicsTechnical University of MunichMunichGermany

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