Massively Multiplayer Online Games May Be A Good Indication Of Leadership Capability

By Leslie Zeder

According to The Harvard Business Review, massively multiplayer online games (MMOG) such as World of Warcraft may enhance the leadership skills of tomorrow’s managers.

3 academics raised the idea in a piece in The Harvard Business Review back in 2008, stating:  “leadership in online games offers a sneak preview of tomorrow’s business world”.

What Leadership Skills Can MMOG Build?

The academics contend that massively multiplayer online games can help in pin-pointing the skills needed by the future business directors because the decentralised & interactive scenarios which are ever more on the rise within our new global world (organisations in which leadership is seen as a collective endeavour performed by a chain of individuals, each with vital tasks to complete) are reflected in these sort of games.

How Do These Skills Translate Over Into The Business World?

Such games mirror the openness and full disclosure which is demanded of employees more and more by businesses (especially in fields like auditing).

The CEO of a major professional services & auditing firm confirmed he believes MMOG does indeed reflect these sorts of real-world scenarios, however, a job applicant’s online gaming skills would not be the only factors taken into account when hiring:

“Games can help create the conditions for interaction between participants, motivating them and getting them to work together, but players are always aware that they are playing a game and this isn’t real life. Nor does it reflect teaching methods. Furthermore, there are subtleties involved in leading people that only emerge after lengthy and deep analysis.”

Gaming In Business Education Is Growing

Research performed by José Esteves from IE Business School examined the use of gamification in the development programs of 21 companies. He noted that:

The approach these firms took towards integrating gamification into the development programs has shifted from merely encouraging competition through reward systems and monetary incentives towards a more sophisticated, advanced and subtle tool able to affect and alter staff behaviour.

It’s Nothing New Really

What we are seeing here is just an evolution of practices which have existed for many years and are today broadly recognised and accepted. Though the methodology applied, content and goals are of course, very different to the real-world. These practices include:

  • Role playing

  • Action learning

  • Simulations