If You Grind in the Game, You Grind in Real Life
(Grinding = repetitive action in a video game to raise the character's statistics/wealth)
The theory, on its very surface, seems sound: the elements of friendly rivalry found in video games can be applied to real-world workday tasks to make the menial and repetitive stuff more palatable. However, this really depends on the rewards.
Workaday tasks tend not to have immediate payoffs (assemble enough presentation packets, and you get to assemble a few more presentation packets), if they're immediate at all (employee review in six months' time). If anything, the finding makes me question the very act of grinding, as its rewards are even more ephemeral than those in the workplace.
Having said that, one can sell MMORG characters for big bucks once they're suitable beefed up, but, then again, grinding has been outsourced. Is this something to be encouraged?
Take the ancient art of grinding: Monotonous tasks can be made palatable, perhaps even enjoyable, if participants are measured against their peers, and a spirit of friendly competition is allowed to thrive. Phat lewt in the form of rewards for reaching goals doesn't hurt either.
Over at Microsoft, points and prizes were handed out to employees who participated in bug-testing Windows Vista -- a laborious process that, as a result of offering competitive goals, saw increased participation.
The ideas, while interesting, seem a bit short sighted. Monotonous activities in MMOs invariably lead to big payoffs: Mine enough ore, and I get to build fancy new weapons. The dangling carrot doesn't work as well in the real world -- no matter how many TPS reports I file, I won't level up all the way to CEO. I'll just get more work.