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Afshin Tanouri


Transformative Gamification Services for Mental Well-being

12 February 2024

Studying towards a Doctor of Philosophy

Country of Origin: Iran


I am a third-year Ph.D. candidate in Marketing at the University of Canterbury. My main areas of research include Gamification, Digital Marketing, Social Marketing (marketing for behaviour change), Service Marketing, and Transformative Services Research. I am particularly interested in studying how innovative technologies such as gamification, digital marketing tools, AR and VR can be used in different fields of research to bring about positive outcomes for consumers, businesses, environment, and society. I adopt both quantitative and qualitative methods in my research. I am especially interested in experimental research, collaborative approaches (e.g., co-creation, co-design, iterative design, collective intelligence) and system dynamics modeling. During the past few years, I have taught on several marketing courses and my research has been published in leading marketing journals such as Journal of Services Marketing [Q1], and Journal of Service Theory and Practice [Q1] as well as international conferences such as Australia and New Zealand Marketing Academy (ANZMAC), International Social Marketing Conference, and the Global Macromarketing Conference.

The focus of my Ph.D. research is on Transformative Gamification and how it can be used for well-being purposes. Building upon transformative services research paradigm, cognitive behavioural therapy approaches, and storytelling literature, my research suggests that apart from game mechanics that are often considered as an inseparable aspect of gamification services, immersive storytelling and a mechanism to encourage reflection are the pivotal components of transformative gamification services. In general, my Ph.D. research consists of 3 phases. In the first phase, I introduced the concept of transformative gamification and developed a conceptual framework for transformative gamification services. In the second phase, I developed a practical design guideline for transformative gamification services. In this phase, I introduced a mixed method approach, based on co-design to design gamification services for well-being purposes. For the last phase -which is ongoing at the moment- I have developed a gamified mobile app called “EmotionTune” to empirically verify some aspects of transformative gamification services.

Prior to starting my Ph.D., I worked for more than 6 years in different industries such as automotive, pharmaceuticals, and publishing industries as marketing manager, digital marketing and market research executive, and regional sales representative. My responsibilities included planning and managing nationwide integrated marketing communication and digital marketing campaigns, managing marketing research projects, as well as monitoring day to day marketing activities. In my spare time, I enjoy playing football, going on tramping trips, or making myself busy doing some photography, graphic design, and video editing.



Primary Supervisor: Ann-Marie Kennedy

Co-Supervisor: Ekant Veer


Working thesis title

Transformative Gamification Services for Mental Well-being


Academic History

  • Master of Marketing Management, University of Tehran, Iran
  • Bachelor of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Qom University of Technology, Iran



  • Tanouri, A., Kennedy, A-M., Veer, E. (2021). “A conceptual Framework for Transformative gamification services”, Journal of Services Marketing, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. [Q1]
  • Tanouri, A., Mulcahy, R. and Russell-Bennett, R. (2019), "Transformative gamification services for social behaviour brand equity: a hierarchical model", Journal of Service Theory and Practice, 29(2), pp. 122-141. [Q1]



  • Tanouri, A. (2017). Investigating the relationship between experiential value of a social marketing mobile game on components of consumer-based brand equity, [Masters Thesis], University of Tehran.


Selected Conference Proceedings

Tanouri, A., Kennedy, A-M. (2021). Gamification in Macro-Social Marketing Narratives. Proceedings of the 2021 Global Macromarketing Conference (pp. 353-362), Auckland, New Zealand, July 12-16

Tanouri, A., Kennedy, A-M., Veer, E. (2020). Gamification in the intersection of TSR and social marketing. International Social Marketing Conference.

Tanouri, A., Kennedy, A-M., Veer, E. (2019). Behaviour change through gamifying social marketing. Proceedings of 2019 ANZMAC Conference (pp.1208-1211). Wellington, December 2-4.

Tanouri, A., Russell-Bennett, R., (2017). Playing serious health games: What matters most?. 2017 Australia and New Zealand Marketing Academy (ANZMAC), Melbourne, Australia, December 4-6

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