Harvard Biz Review Looks at WoW Leadership Model

May 6, 2008 -
So your family thinks that you'll never amount to anything because you sit around in your bathrobe all day managing your World of Warcraft guild.

Maybe. Maybe not.

According to an article in the Harvard Business Review, you could be modeling the coming wave in leadership styles. The lengthy, multi-page piece is definitely worth a read, but here are a few snippets to whet your appetite - and maybe help keep the family off your back:
A lot of work will be done by global teams... that are assembled for a single project and then disbanded. Collaboration within these geographically diverse groups will, by necessity, occur mainly through digital rather than face-to-face interaction.

What on earth will leadership look like in such a world [?] ...the answers may be found among... Eve Online, EverQuest, and World of Warcraft. Despite their fantasy settings, these online play worlds... in many ways resemble the coming environment we have described and thus open a window onto the future of real-world business leadership.

True, leading 25 guild members in a six-hour raid on Illidan the Betrayer’s temple fortress is hardly the same as running a complex global organization... [but] don’t dismiss online games as mere play. The best ones differ from traditional video games as much as universities do from one-room schoolhouses...

Comments

I wonder how many people in the business world shout "LEROY JENKINS" before sabotaging a project?

Any online game with an auction/sale system has an active economy with laws of supply and demand, which as I gather most businesses adhere to.

The entire subject matter is a good read. I've seen a few of these crop up, over the last decade. More and more, it seems like a good training tool, but can not be effectively translated to the classroom.

Being a graduate with a BS in Management, I see alot of parallels between MMO guilds and real-life business organizations.

[...] wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptSo your family thinks that you’ll never amount to anything because you sit around in your bathrobe all day managing your World of Warcraft guild. Maybe. Maybe not. According to an article in the Harvard Business Review, you could be modeling the coming wave in leadership styles. The lengthy, multi-page piece is definitely worth a read, but here are a few snippets to whet your appetite - and maybe help keep the family off your back: A lot of work will be done by global teams… that are assembled for a single project and then disbanded.(GP: sounds like a raid, no?) Collaboration within these geographically diverse groups will, by necessity, occur mainly through digital rather than face-to-face interaction. What on earth will leadership look like in such a world—a world whose features have already begun to transform business? Suspend your skepticism for a moment when we say that the answers may be found among the exploding space stations, grotesque monsters, […] [...]

That Gamezone comment bot is getting really annoying.

I've been in an online guild for a little over 10 years now, and leading it for the last 3. I'm a senior Finance guy in my day job, and I reckon the guild takes more skill juggling people and personalities than my office team.

It's definitely a great skillset to pick up.

Related: Gary Larson's "hopeful parents" cartoon. (Google "far side" "hopeful parents".)

Heh.
I knew my obsession with gaming groups would pay off someday.
Really, I surprised that it would take so long for people to draw the parallels; The actual activities that people are taking part in are vastly different, but you have to do a LOT of working with people and managing conflicts.

[...] like being a game-master in a pen & paper rpg can do wonders for your creative mind this is not exactly a revelation for many of us. Hone your leadership skills in a virtual world then take it tostreet. read more | diggstory [...]

I definitely get this, unfortunately society in general doesn't seem to get it, not even people involved in gaming get it really.

I learned alot about leadership and managing people while playing and running a MUD, and now in WoW.. but, unlike being the captain of a casual sports team or a member of a real life club, mentioning this to a potential employer only gets me funny looks.

[...] GamePolitics wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptSo your family thinks that you’ll never amount to anything because you sit around in your bathrobe all day managing your World of Warcraft guild. Maybe. Maybe not. According to an article in the Harvard Business Review, you could be modeling the coming wave in leadership styles. The lengthy, multi-page piece is definitely worth a read, but here are a few snippets to whet your appetite - and maybe help keep the family off your back: A lot of work will be done by global teams… that are assembled for a single project and then disbanded. Collaboration within these geographically diverse groups will, by necessity, occur mainly through digital rather than face-to-face interaction. What on earth will leadership look like in such a world [?] …the answers may be found among… Eve Online, EverQuest, and World of Warcraft. Despite their fantasy settings, these online play worlds… in many ways resemble the coming environment we have described and […] [...]

Belgarion89,

I don't, but I do use it mockingly when someone royally f-'s up.

~~All Knowledge is Worth Having~~

If you want to look at business leadership look at eve-online.

More than one player heads an alliance of a thousand+ players spread across multiple sub groups. Each sub group has different focuses and different internal structures.

If the alliance holds sovereignty in any territory there is a huge amount of work involved in keeping it. A complicated logistics chain is needed to keep Player owned Structures fueled and operational. When you add combat operations and command to that pile, its becomes a nightmare with a huge amount of burnout. It usually takes a strong personality to keep corps within the alliance from outright fighting.

Even a small industrial corp needs products from mining, research, salvaging, and moon harvesting. These can be acquired in corp, or bought at one of the major trade hubs. Its not uncommon to see corps negotiate supply contracts with other corps. Then you have to find a market to sell your products, then you have to transport them.

Huge amount of work.

@Bystander

That's called linking back or some such thing, what gamezone is doing. I've used it to link back to articles on GamePolitics as well.

I definitely agree with this. When I was a junior in high school, I help run a Mechwarrior 4 clan. Setting up schedules for matches, scheduling practices, coming up with strategies, and learning how to deal diplomatically with issues that come up when leading a group of different people. It is definitely valuable and I learned a lot about leading a team and working with people.

The gamers of today will become the leaders of tomorrow. Quite a scary thought for some people.

I used to organise 6-man group raids in an MMORPG called Anarchy Online and I have to say it's a lot harder than leading people in my normal job. For one, people often show there worst online, especially if they don't know you in-game. In real-life they usually are the opposite.

@Vacavriach
Ignorant people, good thing we will be leading them or they would be bible thumping and fear mongering their way right into passing traffic.

[...] [Via GamePolitics] [...]
 
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