New research finds that online gamers are likely to develop team-based skills that will help them find a job and become a valuable team player at the worksite.
The findings may help to dispel the negative beliefs often associated with dedicated online gaming.
The study by researchers at Missouri S&T found that World of Warcraft (WoW) gamers who were successful working as a team in “raids” had qualities that psychological studies have shown to translate to success on virtual workplace teams.
These qualities include what psychologists call the Big Five personality traits — extraversion, agreeableness, openness, conscientiousness, and neuroticism, as well as computer-mediated communication skills and technology readiness.
The research team came to its conclusion by surveying 288 WoW gamers from across the massive multiplayer online role-playing game’s (MMORPG) many servers. Those surveyed were diverse in age, race, sex, class, occupation, and location.
The average survey taker played WoW eight hours a week and worked 38 hours a week; important because the research team wanted survey takers that had full-time jobs that potentially involved teamwork.
The survey consisted of 140 questions asking about motivation, communication skills, preferences for teamwork, and personality, with most questions relating to the Big Five personality traits.
WoW is the world’s most-subscribed-to MMORPG, with over 10 million subscribers. After creating a character, players explore an almost limitless virtual landscape. They complete quests and fight monsters, all while interacting and working with characters controlled by other players — a key aspect to the S&T research study.
The team surveyed 288 players of the game’s fifth expansion set, Warlords of Draenor.
They compared players survey answers to their character’s statistics. A player’s group achievement points indicate how much group gameplay they’ve participated in, and how successful it has been, said Elizabeth Short, a graduate student in industrial-organizational psychology who compiled data for the study.
“What we wanted to look at was virtual teamwork and what kind of characteristics a person had in-game that would translate to real life and the workplace,” she said.
Short called the correlations the research team found between a gamer’s WoW group achievements and player traits small but “statistically significant.” One of the strongest correlations the team found was in terms of technology readiness.
“The more technologically ready you are, the more resilient around technology you are, the more adaptable you are, the more achievement points you have (in WoW). You could flip that,” she said.
“The more achievements you have in game, the more technology savvy you are in real life. And that’s a good thing, especially in virtual communication teams and workplaces.”
Short will be presenting the research team’s findings at the 32nd annual Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology Conference in Orlando.
Source: Missouri S&T