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Meaningful engagement with a gamified knowledge management system: theoretical conceptualization and empirical validation

Ayoung Suh (Business School, Sungkyunkwan University, Seoul, South Korea)
Christy M.K. Cheung (Department of Finance and Decision Sciences, Hong Kong Baptist University, Kowloon, Hong Kong)
Yongqian Lin (School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong, Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong)

Industrial Management & Data Systems

ISSN: 0263-5577

Article publication date: 26 April 2022

Issue publication date: 16 May 2022

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Abstract

Purpose

In light of the recent increase in the scholarly attention given to meaningful engagement with gamified information systems (IS), this research explores the definition and measurement of meaningful engagement as well as its role in predicting employees’ knowledge contributions via gamified knowledge management systems (KMSs).

Design/methodology/approach

The authors conducted two empirical studies. Study 1 develops a measure of meaningful engagement and evaluates its validity and reliability. Drawing on the literature on user engagement and work gamification theory, Study 2 places meaningful engagement in a nomological network and assesses the construct’s utility for predicting the quantity and quality of knowledge contributions via a gamified KMS.

Findings

The results show that meaningful engagement encompasses five specific dimensions: intense involvement, sense of meaning, self-discovery, pursuit of excellence, and personal expressiveness. The results also indicate that fostering meaningful engagement, which goes beyond hedonic and instrumental engagement, is essential to enhance the quality and quantity of knowledge contribution.

Research limitations/implications

This research contributes to the literature on gamification by drawing scholarly attention to meaningful engagement as a parsimonious yet powerful construct that complements the notions of hedonic and instrumental engagement with KMSs. Although previous studies have highlighted the significance of meaningful engagement with gamified IS, little effort has been made to develop a scale to measure meaningful engagement. The scale the authors have developed will help researchers precisely measure users’ meaningful engagement and systematically examine its role in gamified systems compared to that of other forms of engagement. The study also has practical implications, as the results can inform future design strategies to enable the successful implementation of gamified KMSs that facilitate knowledge contribution in the workplace.

Originality/value

The development of new constructs is the starting point for theoretical development. This research responds to the call to conceptualize meaningful engagement with gamified IS.

Keywords

Citation

Suh, A., Cheung, C.M.K. and Lin, Y. (2022), "Meaningful engagement with a gamified knowledge management system: theoretical conceptualization and empirical validation", Industrial Management & Data Systems, Vol. 122 No. 5, pp. 1355-1383. https://doi.org/10.1108/IMDS-07-2021-0454

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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