Academic journal article Journal of the Association for Information Systems

Cross-Level Moderation of Team Cohesion in Individuals' Utilitarian and Hedonic Information Processing: Evidence in the Context of Team-Based Gamified Training

Academic journal article Journal of the Association for Information Systems

Cross-Level Moderation of Team Cohesion in Individuals' Utilitarian and Hedonic Information Processing: Evidence in the Context of Team-Based Gamified Training

Article excerpt

1Introduction

In today's rapidly changing and highly competitive business environment, firms often use teams to accomplish their organizational objectives (Zhang, Venkatesh, & Brown, 2011). As such, organizations have invested substantially in information technologies (IT) designed specifically to support team collaboration (Maruping & Magni, 2015). An important goal of team research has been to identify factors and processes that improve team performance (e.g., Choi, Lee, & Yoo, 2010). Such studies have often concentrated on the social and motivational influences among team members (Beal, Cohen, Burke, & McLendon, 2003). Prior research has concluded that social and motivational forces create cohesion among team members and that strong team cohesion, in turn, leads to improved performance, because a cohesive team is more motivated and more collaborative (Beal et al., 2003; Huang, Wei, Watson, & Tan 2002; Venkatesh & Windeler 2012; Yang & Tang 2004). Team cohesion refers to a team member's sense of belonging to a team and his or her feeling of morale associated with membership in that team (Bollen and Hoyle, 1990). This study adds to the team cohesion literature by demonstrating that team performance can likewise affect team cohesion and by empirically examining the moderating role of team cohesion in individuals' information processing.

The specific focus of this study is on team-based gamification. Gamification, defined as "the use of game design elements in nongame contexts" (Deterding, Sicart, Nacke, O'Hara, & Dixon, 2011, p. 9), has recently received considerable attention as a means of persuading and motivating individuals to engage in various positive behaviors (Hamari, Koivisto, & Pakkanen, 2014). Gamification is diffused in a number of different contexts, such as training, education, defense, scientific exploration, leisure, health, politics, engineering, and charity (Sigala, 2015). For example, computer-based simulation games have been shown to improve employees' managerial and technical skills (Sitzmann, 2011). In particular, universities and corporate training programs have incorporated enterprise resource planning simulation games (ERPsim: Léger, Robert, Babin, Pellerin, & Wagner, 2007) into their curricula and training (Léger, 2006) because these games allow students and employees to gain insights into the integration and functionality of business and IT (Cronan, Léger, Robert, Babin, & Charland, 2012; Léger, Cronan, Charland, Pellerin, Babin, & Robert, 2012). The desired behavioral outcomes from gamification could be a result of the intrinsically motivating, gameful experiences supported by the game features (Hamari, Koivisto, & Sarsa, 2014). Although playing games is considered purely autotelic or hedonically motivated, gamification is commonly used to achieve utilitarian goals outside the game (e.g., increasing consumer loyalty, encouraging greener consumption, supporting healthier decision-making) (Koivisto & Hamari, 2014). Furthermore, gamification is often viewed as a persuasive technology designed for attitude formation and change (Hamari, Koivisto, & Pakkanen, 2014; Llagostera, 2012). For example, utilitarian perceptions of gamified services (e.g., perceived reciprocal benefits) have been found to positively affect attitudes toward those services (Hamari & Koivisto, 2013). In sum, the utilitarian and hedonic elements of gamification make it an effective persuasion tool for forming or changing attitudes.

Persuasion-based information systems (IS) research has focused to date on the types of external information/cues and an individual's information processing style that ultimately influence attitude change (Angst & Agarwal, 2009). Gamification as a persuasive technology is an effective instructional method because it concurrently engages trainees' cognitive and affective processes (Sitzmann, 2011; Tennyson & Jorczak, 2008). …

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