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

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Abstract: Today firms use teams extensively to accomplish organizational objectives. In addition, gamification has recently received much attention as a means of persuading employees and customers to engage in desired behaviors. Despite the importance of teams and the growing interest in gamification as a persuasion tool, past researchers have paid little attention to team-based gamification from a multilevel perspective. Based on motivational consistency theories, we propose that at the team level, team performance has a positive effect on team cohesion. Drawing upon the elaboration likelihood model (ELM), we further propose two cross-level effects in the context of team-based gamified training: first, that team cohesion will positively moderate the relationship between utilitarian perceptions (i.e., perceived quality of learning) and attitude; and second, that team cohesion will negatively moderate the relationship between hedonic perceptions (i.e., perceived enjoyment of learning) and attitude. We tested our research model using an enterprise resource planning (ERP) simulation game involving 232 participants in 78 teams. The results of Ordinary Least Squares and Hierarchical Linear Modeling analysis support our hypotheses. This study makes three substantive contributions to the team literature and to the ELM in the context of team-based gamified training. First, it theorizes and empirically tests the effect of team performance on team cohesion at the team level. Second, it extends the ELM by examining the cross-level moderation of team cohesion in human information processing. Third, it demonstrates that the utilitarian and hedonic aspects of information technology do not influence user attitudes equally.

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