When gamification backfires: the impact of perceived justice on online community contributions

Thomas Leclercq, Ingrid Poncin, Wafa Hammedi, Avreliane Kullak, Linda D. Hollebeek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


While online communities may enhance firm performance, they commonly fail to retain members. To address this challenge, scholars and managers call for the use of gamification. However, despite gamification’s growing use in online communities, insight into its effect on member experience and behaviours remain limited. We hypothesise that gamification affects member-perceived distributive and procedural justice. In experimental studies, we assess the impact of in-gamification perceived justice on member contributions. We find that while high in-gamification perceived procedural justice acts as a necessary prerequisite for member contributions, high distributive justice can reduce game-related uncertainty, thereby rendering gamified practices less fun, particularly for low-engaged community members that tend to value rewards. We add to the literature by (a) pinpointing the core role of perceived justice in the persistence of online communities, and (b) unveiling that high distributive justice can lead gamification to backfire in online communities by affecting member experience and contributions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)550-577
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Marketing Management
Issue number5-6
Publication statusPublished - 23 Mar 2020


  • consumer engagement
  • experience
  • Gamification
  • justice
  • online community


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