Internet games and Leadership

Most people argue that games are just for fun and to kill time. How would you consider gaming experience in person’s curriculum vitae asking for a leadership position vacancy? An asset?

Nick Yee surveyed MMORPG players for the first time at the end of the previous millennium. Since then, he has surveyed over 35.000 MMORPG players of the most popular USA MMORPG games. Near 280 respondents wrote about their guild leadership experience. Yee’s findings about leadership can be described in the same terms as in the real world.
Internet kids

First, most novice guild leaders fall into the trap of trying to be everyone’s friend and making sure that everyone in the guild is happy. The most common lesson learned was that it’s simply impossible to please everyone. Second, in any situation where people have different needs and motivations, conflicts will arise. These conflicts tend to be particularly stressful because of the existing friendships and ties within the guild. Inevitably, the guild leader will be asked to become the mediator. Third, many respondents noted that laying down a firm hand was important and that sometimes you have to be tough and say no. Because many guilds start off as small, casual, and friendly guilds, guild leaders often feel conflicted when it comes to disciplining guild members. The next finding was the difficulty in picking the right people for the guild, as well as the difficulty in kicking people out of the guild. In the game and in the real life, the duality of being a leader is well perceived. It is not easy to be a friend and a leader at the same time. The guild leaders highlighted the importance of having ground rules, making people aware of them and being consistent with those rules, which is equal to real-life leadership.

MMORPGIn the 2007 research ‘Leadership in a Distributed World’ the global player IBM recognized that globalization is placing new demands on today’s corporate leaders. As organizations continue to expand and operate in a more virtual environment, executives are being asked to provide guidance and direction to teams working across time zones and distances. IBM was interested in learning about the leadership lessons from the world of computer games with special interest in MMORPG games.  Given the parallels between the gaming environment and the globally integrated enterprise of the twenty-first century, IBM decided to explore the similarities and differences in leadership across both domains.

To do so, IBM tapped into an extensive cohort of gamers who work for IBM. For their study, they surveyed 214 business professionals who participate in a community of online gaming enthusiasts. They found out that more than one-third of those interviewed believed that MMORPG leadership approaches can be used to improve leadership effectiveness within the enterprise. Nearly half of them stated that game playing has improved their real-world leadership capabilities. Three-quarters believed that the environmental factors within MMORPG can be applied to enhance leadership effectiveness for the globally integrated enterprise. Based on this study, IBM believes that online gaming provides a unique look into the future of tomorrow’s organization. They highlighted six recommendations for leaders looking to increase their effectiveness in a distributed world.
English: An in-game screenshot of a player-versus-player battle at a "land control area" from the video game Anarchy Online. The game's graphical user interface lines the periphery of the image. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In 2011 online games generated $19 billion in revenue (source: FORBES) while engaging across time and space in these multiplayer games. Still having second thought about gaming experiences in CVs?


  1. This is quite an interesting question.
    There is one danger that we have to take into account: almost all young people are now playing games on their mobile phones. They do that everywhere and all the time - at school during lessons, at universities during lectures, at work - instead of working.
    So "playing games" seen in CV may frighten a would be employer...
    Having this danger in mind, I am sure that playing "proper" games improves our ability and may be a plus in our CV. Those are strategic and logical games, or simulation games etc.
    Personally I play a Chinese/Japanese game of Go, which develops logical and strategic thinking, and this is that kind of "proper" games I mean. So you can see "Go" in my CV and in my LinkedIn profile, as I do recognise such a skill as a great asset.

    1. Krzysztof Grabowski I would like to point out an interesting article I just read: The 3 Characteristics of Tomorrow's Leaders @:

  2. Yes I get it, This is the way of the future. These gamer's are playing games, learning new strategic and logical games that are really simulated games.

    The question I have is how do these people interact with actual people? I'm sure this is great. And I know my brother played video games and became an air traffic controller, my nephew the same and was a soldier in Iraq. They use simulations all the time now. I guess if you put gamer on your resume that's a good thing..

    1. Annie thank for your comment that confirms what the post suggested. Also mine kids are well equipped with different knowledge that would be needed in "their times" ...


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.