Good gamers, good managers? A proof-of-concept study with Sid Meier’s Civilization

By | December 28, 2021

The “Review Of Managerial Science” has a few days ago puliblished an article called “Good gamers, good managers? A proof-of-concept study with Sid Meier’s Civilization. In this article, 4 scientist of the University of Lichtenstein, the University of Rotterdam and the University of Münster had the hypothesis that being good at games, which require managing skills, might also indicate that a person is a good manager. They picked Civilization 5 for their research. The basic setup in this case was that participants were recruited at an university, and they got time to play Civ5. After some time to get used to the game, they got split into groups, and could play against each other. At the end the score was assesed. Afterwards, the gamers had to participate in various tests regarding management capabilities. It turned out that persons with higher scores in the game also scored better in these tests for management skills. This does not necessarily mean that playing Civ5 makes you a good manager, but that the same skills are required for both.

An excerpt:

“Our results should be useful to researchers from various felds who are becoming increasingly aware of video games’ potential to indicate several skills other than gaming skills. Our study revealed signifcant and positive relationships between the participants’ game success and how they performed during our assessments.
As explained, assessment centers can provide a comprehensive picture of an applicant’s knowledge and abilities, thus they are increasingly used to predict future job performance. Therefore, we also used the data collected from the assessments to calculate an overall assessment rating, a commonly used job-performance predictor (e.g., Russell and Domm 1995). In creating an overall assessment rating, there are different approaches to data aggregation (Thornton and Rupp 2006, p. 161), and we tested two purely quantitative approaches: First, we aggregated the skill-dimension ratings into overall assessment ratings, with weightings based on the relevance of the skill dimensions to the exercises; second, we used the skill ratings to calculate exercise ratings, which we then aggregated into overall assessment ratings, with weightings based on the length of the exercises. For both aggregation approaches, we explored how the overall assessment results correlated with participants’ game results, using the same model specifcation as before, and found that the students’ overall assessment ratings were signifcantly related to their game scores. Accordingly, video games may not only be used to assess specifc skills but could also be useful to predict performance at a more general level. In fact, assessment centers are one of the most commonly used tools to predict the future job performance of university graduates (see, e.g., Ballantyne and Povah 2004) who apply for managerial positions but typically lack work experience”

The article is freely available here.

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