InLine: A Serious Game for Configurational Human Resource Management

Luuk Dirk Collou, Guido Wybe Jan Bruinsma

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review


InLine is a human resource management (HRM) serious game that addresses the challenges that HR practitioners are faced with when designing context specific HRM policies and practices for organizations. In the current paper, the design and initial validation of InLine is presented. First, in order to get to grips with the requirements that the HRM domain poses on the content of InLine, the challenges within contextualized HRM are discussed. Secondly, by linking these challenges to the opportunities that game theory and serious gaming provide the initial design and potential of InLine to capture these HRM challenges are presented. InLine was designed to capture the diversity in organizational strategy and related context specific desired employee behaviour. Departing from the competing values model to determine HR practices that influence the desired employee behaviour, a set of seventy-two HR practices that enhance specific desired employee behaviour was identified. In multiple rounds (representing a year) HR practitioners have to choose the combination of practices that they think have the best fit with the organization strategy. After each round a simulation model provides feedback on the quality of their choice. Vertical alignment (difference between strategy and policy) and horizontal alignment (focus difference within the set of practices) are the main indicators of decision quality. In InLine, players thus are challenged to design the most aligned HRM
configuration that affects desired employee behaviour within a specific context.
To validate and test the extent to which InLine grasps the complexities of designing contextualized HRM, nine play sessions with HR practitioners were held. These play sessions delivered promising results. InLine was able to adequately grasp the complexities HR practitioners are faced with when designing a contextualized HRM configuration. InLine furthermore has potential to be used in educational and organizational settings as an exploration tool for HRM configuration. As a research method, InLine is able to provide unique insights into the specific inner working of configurational HRM. As such, InLine is a first step towards capturing HRM design by making explicit the decision options.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 11th European Conference on Games Based Learning, ECGBL 2017
Publication statusPublished - 5 Oct 2017
Event11th European Conference on Games Based Learning, ECGBL 2017 - FH Joanneum University of Applied Science, Graz, Austria
Duration: 5 Oct 20176 Oct 2017
Conference number: 11


Conference11th European Conference on Games Based Learning, ECGBL 2017
Abbreviated titleECGBL


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