Video games have a strong incentive effect and a hedonic experience effect, and have obvious advantages in attracting individual engagement. Inspired by it, the application of gamification within the enterprise has been greatly developed in practice in recent years. Enterprise internal gamification is the application of game elements to task design, performance appraisal, career management and other employee incentive management. It has important reference value for reshaping employees’ workplace experience and then transforming their behavior mode. However, at present, the application of gamification in enterprises is still a relatively new research field. Some concepts in gamification research field need to be concretized and contextualized into research concepts in the organization field. The incentive effect of gamification in enterprises has not been unanimously recognized; especially the basic theoretical research on gamification is still insufficient.
In view of this, based on the situational perspective, this paper believes that the game elements, such as points, leaderboards, virtual roles, content unlocking, team competition and so on, can help employees find the meaning and fun of work, enhance the sense of interconnection with others in the process of work, and thus obtain a transcendental positive psychological experience, that is, to obtain the promotion of workplace spirituality, and then increase the proactive behavior in the work. Based on this, this paper constructs theoretical hypotheses.
The research is conducted in the form of questionnaire survey to collect data. Mature scales are used to establish items. The survey selects employees from service industry, high-tech industry and Internet industry as the objects. Finally, 435 valid samples are collected. Through reliability and validity analysis, correlation analysis, homologous method deviation test and multiple regression analysis, the theoretical hypotheses are empirically tested.
The results show that:（1）Immersion and social elements will promote employees’ proactive behavior, while achievement elements will inhibit it.（2）Immersion elements drive employees’ proactive behavior mainly by enhancing their inner experience; social elements promote employees’ proactive behavior mainly by enhancing their sense of work meaning; on the contrary, achievement elements inhibit employees’ proactive behavior mainly by reducing employees’ sense of work meaning.（3）Employees with different game behavior patterns have different responses to the three kinds of game elements, which will affect the incentive effect of game elements. The negative interaction effect will be produced between low competition orientation and achievement elements, and low others orientation and social elements, while the positive interaction effect will be produced between high others orientation and social elements.
The main contributions of this paper are as follows: It explains the incentive mechanism of gamification driving employees’ proactive behavior from the situational perspective, which not only expands the theoretical perspective and explanation path of gamification driven individual engagement, but also builds a direct dialogue platform for gamification theory and enterprise incentive theory, and provides an index for the situational turn of enterprise incentive theory. In particular, with the “player generation” becoming the main force in the workplace, gamification has a good development prospect in reshaping and strengthening employees’ meaningful experience in the workplace by creating new situations with strong sense of relevance or non-utilitarian meaning system. The research of this paper provides inspiration for enterprises to design and apply gamification more reasonably.