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33. Playbor


Playbor is the combination of play and labor. Both play and work is not a game as a game has to be voluntary.

Example: Checkout cashiers at Target has a screen that indicates how fast they check people out. This system incentivizes the checkout clerks to do a better job and making it a little fun for them. However, this can be about the company monitoring them down to every individual checkout. There is no fun, voluntary or meaning for the employee but purely about external extrinsic controls. Is this mandatory system truly fair, appropriate and ethical for the workers?

Example: Disneyland implemented a system where laundry workers doing laundry in the basement of the hotel can see how quickly every member of the housekeeping staff is cleaning rooms and performing their duties. There is a leaderboard and a ranking system. Employees nicknamed the system “Electronic Whip”.

Part of what makes something intrinsically motivating is when the person feels autonomy and that they are in control of the situation. If the feedback is not purely informational but perceived as controlling, then it does not promote intrinsic motivation and can demotivate and lead to worse performance.

It is important to think about how gamified systems in the enterprise can be designed to promote the beneficial aspects of gamification and not demoralizing the employees and lead to worse performance.  A pure leaderboard or pure ranking and scoring system is probably the worst way to promote the beneficial, cooperative, engaging aspect of gamification.


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