On the Effectiveness of Gamified Risk Management Workshops: Evidence from German SMEs


  • Avo Schönbohm Hochschule für Wirtschaft und Recht Berlin Berlin School of Economics and Law
  • Alexandra Jülich Hochschule für Wirtschaft und Recht Berlin Berlin School of Economics and Law




Gamification, Gamified Workshop Design, Risk Management, SMEs


This study analyzes the potential benefits gamification can offer to SMEs in the area of risk management. A structured review of the topic of risk management in SMEs and previous studies of the application of gamification to risk management forms a theoretical framework. A gamified risk management workshop is devised which is used as a treatment for three German SMEs. This article contains a description of the developed workshop, the applied methodology and the respective results. While following a quasi-experimental action research approach, it becomes evident that the gamified workshop has the potential to motivate the participants, increase their knowledge on risk management and foster cognitive and group de-biasing. The findings suggest that gamification can be a valuable tool for SMEs to enhance their risk management process.

Author Biography

Avo Schönbohm, Hochschule für Wirtschaft und Recht Berlin Berlin School of Economics and Law

Professor for Business Administration and Management Accounting


[1] Falkner, E. M., Hiebl, M. R. W., Risk management in SMEs: a systematic review of available evidence, Journal of Risk Finance (Emerald Group Publishing Limited), Vol. 16, Nr. 2, pp. 122-144, 2015 http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/JRF-06-2014-0079
[2] Prentice, R. A., Valine, Y. A., Don’t kid yourself, you’re biased, RMA Journal, Vol. 95, Nr.10, pp. 12-17, 2013
[3] Abotsi, A. K., Dake, G. Y., Agyepong, A. R., Factors Influencing Risk Management Decision of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises in Ghana, Contemporary Economics, Vol. 8, Nr. 4, pp. 397-413, 2014
[4] Schönbohm, A., Urban, K., “Can Gamification close the engagement gap of Generation Y?”, Berlin, Logos Verlag, 2014
[5] Enterprise Gamification Consultancy: Risk Management Awareness, [Online], Available at http://www.enterprise-gamification.com/mediawiki/index.php?title=Risk_Management_Awareness, 2014
[6] Bajdor, P., Dragolea, L., The gamification as a tool to improve risk management in the enterprise, Annales Universitatis Apulensis Series Oeconomica, Vol. 2, Nr. 13, pp. 574-583, 2011
[7] AIRMIC, Alarm, IRM, A structured approach to Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) and the requirements of ISO 31000, [Online], Available at https://www.theirm.org/media/886062/ISO3100_doc.pdf, 2010
[8] Marcelino-Sádaba, S., Pérez-Ezcurdia, A., Echeverría Lazcano., A. M., Villanueva, P., Project risk management methodology for small firms, International Journal of Project Management, Vol. 32, Nr. 2, pp. 327-340, 2014 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijproman.2013.05.009
[9] Clark, A., Smaller sized risk management, Canadian Underwriter, Vol. 78, Nr. 9, pp.38-42, 2011
[10] Lindegaard, S., Innovation: The 7 Key Differences Between Big and Small Companies, [Online], Available at: http://www.15inno.com/2011/10/28/free-book-making-open-innovation-work/, 2011
[11] Negus, J., 10 common ERM Challenges, Risk Management Magazine, [Online], Available from: http://www.rmmagazine.com/2010/03/01/10-common-erm-challenges/, 2010
[12] Gao, S. S., Sung, M. C., Zhang, J., Risk management capability building in SMEs: A social capital perspective, International Small Business Journal, Vol. 31, Nr. 6, pp. 677-700, 2013. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0266242611431094
[13] Moore, J., Culver, J., Masterman, B., Risk Management for Middle Market Companies, Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, Vol. 12, Nr. 4, pp. 112-119, 2000. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1745-6622.2000.tb00024.x
[14] Ellegaard, C., Supply risk management in a small company perspective, Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, Vol. 13, Nr. 6, pp. 25-434, 2008
[15] Bruns, V., Fletcher, M., Banks’ risk assessment of Swedish SMEs, Venture Capital, Vol. 10 No. 2, pp. 171-194, 2008 http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13691060801946089
[16] Sukumar, A., Edgar, D., Grant, K., An investigation of e-business risks in UK SMEs, World Review of Entrepreneurship, Management and Sustainable Development, Vol. 7, Nr. 4, pp. 380-401, 2011. http://dx.doi.org/10.1504/WREMSD.2011.042892
[17] Thomas, M., Decision-making: is risk management the Prozac of modern business?, Keeping Good Companies, Vol. 64, Nr. 11, pp. 663-665, 2012
[18] Barnes, J. H. Jr., Cognitive Biases and their Impact on Strategic Management, Strategic Management Journal, Vol. 5, Nr. 2, pp. 129-137, 1984 http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/smj.4250050204
[19] Harada, Y., Hunter, M., „Walking under a Ladder“: Superstition and Ritual as a cognitive bias in management decision making, Economics, Management, and Financial Markets, Vol. 7, Nr. 4, pp34-41, 2012
[20] Gigerenzer, G., Hertwig, R., Pachur, T., “Heuristics: The foundations of adaptive behaviour”, 1st edition. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011 http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199744282.001.0001
[21] Sims, R. R., Sauser, W. I., Toward a Better Understanding of the Relationships among Received Wisdom, Groupthink, and Organizational Ethical Culture, Journal of Management Policy & Practice, Vol. 14, Nr. 4, pp.75-90, 2013
[22] Kahr, A., Blame 'Systemic Risk' on Groupthink, American Banker, Vol. 175, Nr. 156, 2010
[23] Raval, U., Ojha, A. K., Risk perceptions of TMTs: Impact on strategic change and conformity, Academy of Management Annual Meeting Proceedings, pp. 1496-1501, 2014
[24] Lahno, A., Serra-Garcia, M., Peer effects in risk taking: Envy or conformity?, Journal of Risk & Uncertainty, Vol. 50, Nr. 1, pp. 73-95, 2015 http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11166-015-9209-4
[25] Agans, R. P., Shaffer, L. S. The Hindsight Bias: The Role of the Availability Heuristic and Perceived Risk, Basic & Applied Social Psychology, Vol. 15, Nr. 4, pp. 439-449, 1994 http://dx.doi.org/10.1207/s15324834basp1504_3
[26] Marshall, A., Ojiako, U., Managing risk through the veil of ignorance, Journal of Risk Research, Vol. 16, Nr. 10, pp. 1225-1239, 2013 http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13669877.2013.788056
[27] Cen, L., Hilary, G., Wei, K. C. J., The Role of Anchoring Bias in the Equity Market: Evidence from Analysts’ Earnings Forecasts and Stock Returns, Journal of Financial & Quantitative Analysis, Vol. 48, Nr. 1, pp. 47-76, 2013 http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0022109012000609
[28] Hess, D., Orbe, S., Irrationality or Efficiency of Macroeconomic Survey Forecasts? Implications from the Anchoring Bias Test, Review of Finance, 2013, Vol. 17, Nr. 6., pp. 2097-2131, 2013
[29] Deterding, S., Dixon, D., Khaled, R., Nacke, L., Gamification: toward a definition, [Online], Available from: http://gamification-research.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/02-Deterding-Khaled-Nacke-Dixon.pdf, 2011
[30] Scheiner, C., Witt, M., The Backbone of Gamification – a Theoretical Consideration of Play and Game Mechanics, [Online], Available at: http://subs.emis.de/LNI/Proceedings/Proceedings220/2372.pdf , 2011
[31] Gartner, Gartner says by 2014, 80 Percent of Current Gamified Applications Will Fail to Meet Business Objectives Primarily Due to Poor Design, [Online], Available at http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/2251015, 2012
[32] Kooij, K., Hoogendoorn, E., Spijkerman, R., Visch, V., Validation of Games for Behavioural Change: Connecting the Playful and the Serious, International Journal of Serious Games, Vol. 2, Nr. 3, 2015
[33] De Gloria, A., Bellotti, F., Berta, R., Lavagnino, E., Serious Games for education and training, International Journal of Serious Games, Vol. 1, Nr. 1, 2014 http://dx.doi.org/10.17083/ijsg.v1i1.11
[34] Ryan, R., Deci, E., Intrinsic and extrinsic Motivation: Classic Definitions and new directions, Contemporary Educational Psychology, Vol. 25, pp. 54-67, 2000 http://dx.doi.org/10.1006/ceps.1999.1020
[35] Deterding, S., The Lens of Intrinsic Skill Atoms: A Method for Gameful Design, Human–Computer Interaction, Vol. 30, Nr. 3-4, pp. 294-335, 2015 http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/07370024.2014.993471
[36] Cunningham, C., Zichermann, G., “Gamification by Design: Implementing game mechanics in web and mobile apps”, 1st edition, Sebastopol: O’Reilly, 2011
[37] Library Technology Report, Designing Gamification in the right way; Vol. 51, Nr. 2, pp. 29-35, 2015
[38] Bartle, R., Hearts, clubs, diamonds, spades: Players who suit MUDs, Journal of MUD Research, Vol. 1, Nr. 1, [Online], Available at: http://www.mud.co.uk/richard/hcds.htm, 1996
[39] Lichtenvoort, D., “Video game element incentives in cross functional enterprise”, Hamburg: Diplomica Verlag GmbH, 2014
[40] Pandey, A., Gamification Of Compliance Training: A Case Study, [Online], Available at http://elearningindustry.com/gamification-of-compliance-training-serious-game-concept, 2014
[41] Afify, M. F., Action Research: Solving Real World Problems, Tourism & Hospitality Research, Vol. 8, Nr. 2, pp. 153-159, 2008 http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/thr.2008.13
[42] Burnes, B., Kurt Lewin and the Planned Approach to Change: A re-appraisal, Journal of Management Studies, Vol. 41, Nr. 6, pp. 977-1002, 2004 http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-6486.2004.00463.x
[43] Hammersley, M., Action Research: A contradiction in terms?, Oxford Review of Education, Vol. 30, Nr. 2, pp. 165-181, 2004 http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0305498042000215502
[44] Hron, A., Kompe, H., Otto, K.-P., Wächter, H., “Aktionsforschung in der Ökonomie“, Frankfurt (Main) / New York: Campus Verlag, 1979
[45] Duschek, S., Sydow, J., “Aktionsforschung – Königsweg zu Netzwerkzeugen?“ In: Sydow, J.; Duschek, S. (HRsg), Netzwerkzeuge: Tools für das Netzwerkmanagement. Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden, 2013 http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-658-00258-9_11
[46] Nogueira, J. M., Romero, D., Espadas, J., Molina, A., Leveraging the Zachman framework implementation using action research methodology – a case study: aligning enterprise architecture and the business goals, Enterprise Information Systems, Vol. 7, Nr. 1, pp. 100-132, 2013 http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17517575.2012.678387
[47] Devlin, A. B., Murphy, T. P., An architecture for a business and information system, IBM Systems Journal, Vol. 27, Nr. 1, pp. 60-80, 1988 http://dx.doi.org/10.1147/sj.271.0060
[48] Avison, D., Lau, F., Myers, M., Nielsen, P., Action Research, Association for Computing Machinery, Action Research Communications of the ACM, Vol. 42, Nr. 1, pp. 94-97, 1999 http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/291469.291479
[49] Bradley, K., Quasiexperimental Research, [Online], Available at: http://www.education.com/reference/article/quasiexperimental-research/, 2009
[50] McTaggart, R., “Guiding Principles for Participatory Action Research”, in McTaggart, R. Ed. (1997) Participatory Action Research, International Contexts and Consequences, State University of New York Press, Albany, 1997
[51] Coughlan, P., Coghlan, D., Action Research for Operations Management, International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 22, Nr. 2, pp. 220-240, 2002 http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/01443570210417515
[52] Lewis, P., Saunders, M., Thornhill, A., “Research methods for business students”, 5th edition. Edinburgh Gate: Pearson Education Limited, 2009
[53] Carson, D., Gilmore, A., Perry, C., Grønhaug, K., “Qualitative Marketing Research”, London: Sage, 2001 http://dx.doi.org/10.4135/9781849209625
[54] Krueger, R. A.; Casey, M. A., “Focus Groups: A Practical Guide for Applied Research” (3rd edn), Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2000 http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/10518-189
[55] Dresing, T., Pehl, T., Schmieder, C., Manual (on) Transcription, Transcription Conventions, Software Guides and Practical Hints for Qualitative Researchers, 3rd English Edition, Marburg, [Online], Available at: http://www.audiotranskription.de/english/transcription-practicalguide.htm, 2015
[56] Kvale, S., “Interviews”. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 1996
[57] Catalano, C. E., Luccini, A. M., Mortara, M., Best practices for an effective Design and Evaluation of Serious Games, International Journal of Serious Games, Vol. 1, Nr. 1, 2014
[58] Landers, R. N., Bauer, K.N., Kallan, R. C., Gamification of task performance with leaderboards: A goal setting experiment, Computers in Human Behavior, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2015.08.008, 2015
[59] Mekler, E. D., Brühlmann, F., Tuch, A. N., Opwies, K., Towards understanding the effects of individual gamification elements on intrinsic motivation and performance, Computers in Human Behavior, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2015.08.048, 2015




How to Cite

Schönbohm, A., & Jülich, A. (2016). On the Effectiveness of Gamified Risk Management Workshops: Evidence from German SMEs. International Journal of Serious Games, 3(2). https://doi.org/10.17083/ijsg.v3i2.117