Archive for the ‘EVE Online’ Category

MMO research notes, Part 1

Saturday, February 5th, 2011

Now that our Simulation & Gaming article is online, I thought it would be helpful to summarize some of our findings.  For the MMO study mentioned in the article, I surveyed players of EVE Online, World of Warcraft, and Guild Wars.  I asked them about their leadership structure (whether they had a single leader, a team of leaders, or no formal leaders), their own leadership role in the guild, and their transformational leadership behavior, both within the MMO and in their real life workplace.

I think the most interesting finding is that guild leaders in guilds with just one leader tend to report the highest levels of transformational leadership.  As the guild has more leaders, their individual transformational leadership declines.  I believe this supports one of the underlying assumptions of leadership research in video games, that leadership is even relevant and that guild leaders are acting like so-called traditional leaders.  Regular gamers might say “well duh” but from a behavioral point of view it is important to establish prior theories of leadership are even relevant in a virtual world context.  This also suggests that strong leadership may not be necessary when leadership is shared among several members or the entire group.  There’s not much research examining how leadership structure impacts performance in MMOs.

Another finding I think is very interesting and specific to MMOs is the type of leadership structure in guilds.  In EVE, only 25% of the participants said their guild was lead by a single leader.  Although leadership teams or “top management teams” have become popular in organizations, they are still the exception.  In MMOs a single leader or CEO is the rarer form of leadership structure.

One last takeaway is the different trends between MMOs.  Comparing WOW and EVE, players who said they were not in a guild tended to self-report higher transformational leadership behavior than players who were not in a guild in EVE.  When you get right down to it, leadership = influencing others.  In EVE, you can play solo for years without really interacting with anyone and still get pretty far in the game.  In WOW (at least at the time of the study) you needed to team up with other people to accomplish high level goals.  So in a sense, WOW was requiring all of its players to have or to develop at least some level of transformational leadership ability, whether they had it themselves (solo players) or by association through their guild.  Now, EVE guilds/corps appear to require or develop a similar amount, but only in WOW was influence also required for solo players.  You need to be able to exert some influence if you’re constantly trying to put together high level raids with strangers.  This is a great example of how a game will have a hard time inadvertently developing skills, like leadership, that are not built into the structure of the game.

I’ll post more tomorrow on one of my more recent EVE Online studies!

Simulation & Gaming article online

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

Our Simulation & Gaming article “Leadership in Multiplayer Online Gaming Environments” is now online.  Hooray!  Should the article stoke your curiosity, there’s plenty more meat that wasn’t included but is available in my thesis and Ugur’s dissertation.

Our SIOP poster submissions were apparently not worthy this year, which is not surprising given their theoretical nature & gaming content.  We’ve resubmitted to AoM so keep your fingers crossed.  I’ll still be in Chicago and look forward to catching up with the small but determined cadre of researchers exploring organizational psychology through games!  I’m actually looking forward to fully enjoying the first SIOP where I’m not presenting anything.

Leadership in video games

Saturday, December 4th, 2010

My article “Leadership in Multiplayer Onling Gaming Environments” with Ugur Kaplancali and Ron Riggio has finally been accepted for publication in Simulation & Gaming.  Huzzah!  I’ll update the link when the article is actually available.  Next up in research-land will be the decisions on my SIOP poster submissions, which I should get in a week or two.

In other news, in June I accepted an internship at PepsiCo on the enterprise organization and management development team.  It’s a great team and interesting work and I’m having a blast!