Monday 10 March 2014

Research Bulletin: Leadership in videogames and real life

Videogame communities are a fundamental component of massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs). These communities are virtual teams composed of about 38 players (on average) who share similar in-game goals and interests (Yee, 2008). Game communities participate in goal-based in-game missions (e.g., quests, expeditions, raids), in which members collaborate to complete the goal with each member playing a distinct role to help the group complete the mission. Because these roles include leadership to varying degrees, Yei-Beech Jang and Seung-Ho Ryu (Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology) were interested in investigating how leadership experience within these games relates to real-world leadership. 

Active MMORPGs players from Korea completed an online survey. Players were asked to indicate (1) if they belonged to any of the game communities and (2) if they preferred to play alone or with a team. Online leadership experience was measured using a scale and previous leadership experience was used as a control variable. Interestingly, the researchers assessed players’ offline leadership skill to see if their online game leadership skill might possibly “transfer” to their offline leadership. Individuals who belonged to game communities exhibited greater online leadership experience than individuals who did not belong to a game community (i.e., who played alone). There was also a positive correlation between online leadership experience and offline leadership skill.

Although this study is not without its limitations (e.g., sample characteristics, self-report measures of leadership), these results highlight the possible benefits of belonging to a game community and also the possibility that MMORPGs may be used to help individuals to develop leadership abilities. It makes one wonder what other online skills might be transferable to the offline world. 

Posted by Jin Kang

Jang, Y., & Ryu, S. (2011). Exploring game experiences and game leadership in massively multiplayer online role-playing games. British Journal of Educational Technology, 42, 616-623.

Yee, N. (2008, October 9). The Demographics of Guilds. Retrieved from /001635.php.

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