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Designing work for different kind of "players"

In game design, it is well known that people react differently to different games. So a way to success with a game is to make sure to create an experience that motivates different player types. So what about the game called work, does your workplace try to design a great experience that motivates different kind of people?

A common way to define player types is Richard Bartle’s ; Achievers, Explorers, Socializers, and Killers. I think four different player types is a bit too narrow though to say anything about our behavior at work, so I’m going to use Andrzej Marczewski’s Hexad instead, that contains six different types for a comparison:

Socialisers are motivated by Relatedness. They want to interact with others and create social connections. Use them to extend the network of your company, take care of new employees and build the community around your business.

Free Spirits are motivated by Autonomy and self-expression. They want to create and explore. A good idea if you have this people in your organization is to make them intraprenors, and develop their own projects.

Achievers are motivated by Mastery. They are looking to learn new things and improve themselves. They want challenges to overcome. Keep track of those people and make sure that they don’t have too repetitive work to do. Have regular discussions about what the next step in their competence development plan is.

Philanthropists are motivated by Purpose and Meaning. This group are altruistic, wanting to give to other people and enrich the lives of others in some way with no expectation of reward. If your company or organization doesn’t have a bigger purpose than making money, you probably don’t have many of them among your employees or team-members. If you do have a bigger purpose these people are often among your best employees. However, they intend to work as teachers, nurses or global improvers in a non-commercial context.

Players are motivated by Rewards. They will do what is needed of them to collect rewards from a system. They are in it for themselves. They are your star sellers, and a lucrative bonus-system keep them even more motivated.

Disruptors are motivated by Change. In general, they want to disrupt your system, either directly or through other users to force positive or negative change. Keep them on your good side, and use them to innovate your processes at work and see things from different perspectives.

So, knowing what player type your team consists of is one way to better adjust projects and processes so they fit the people that are going to work with them. You can take the test here if you are curious about what player type you could identify yourself with.

By Frida Monsén

Reference: Marczewski, A. (2015). User Types. In Even Ninja Monkeys Like to Play: Gamification, Game Thinking and Motivational Design (1st ed., pp. 65-80). CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.
ISBN-10: 1514745666
ISBN-13: 978-1514745663

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