Exploring the Impacts, Setbacks and Potentials of Gamification in Promoting Brand Value Co-Creation

  • Mohamad Amir Merhabi

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Business-to-consumer platforms are increasingly employing gamification – which refers to the use of game design elements in non-game context – to motivate their online users’ involvement in brand development. However, little is known so far about the process through which gamification promotes brand value co-creation. This PhD project is set to unravel this process, alongside addressing its major setbacks and potentials via three consecutive studies.

First, a systematic literature review study is conducted, leading to the development of an advanced framework labelled Mechanics - Dynamics - Psychological Triggers - Motivational Effects, which outlines the key stages of the designated process. Second, a content analysis study of selected social threads in the online gamified community of the British mobile network operator Giffgaff is pursued. The study investigates the impact of gamification on promoting an underexamined type of brand value co-creation, associated with online users’ contribution to social activities. Correspondingly, a new theoretical model titled Motivational Drivers in Gamified Social Programs is developed, unveiling a range of social values that are demonstrably found
driving online users’ engagement in this overlooked type of brand value co-creation in a gamified environment.

Third, a sequential mixed-method study is carried out to address gamification’s failure in
persuading a large segment of online users – so-called lurkers – to engage in brand value co-creation. The study comprises a series of focus group discussions, followed by a cross-sectional survey with lurkers of the global gamified travel review platform TripAdvisor. An original theoretical framework entitled Lurkers’ Rational in Gamified CoCreative Platforms is thereby generated, demonstrating the reasons of lurkers’ stance. Additionally, a cluster of potential measures designated to practically address their disengagement is constructively developed.

This thesis offers a compound of theoretical contributions to the areas of gamification and brand value co-creation, and provides evidence-informed recommendations to practitioners, in addition to unveiling a set of promising future research directions.
Date of Award2023
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorPanagiotis Petridis (Supervisor) & Andrew Farrell (Supervisor)


  • Gamification
  • brand value co-creation
  • business-to-consumer
  • online platforms
  • crowdsourcing
  • lurkers
  • corporate social responsibility

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