Online Games in the Workplace: Creating the Leaders of Tomorrow

Katherine Mehr

Does your job suck the life out of you? Has it become boring and "all work and no play"? What if your boss told you that you could put down the tedious TPS report for a few hours and play video games instead? Believe it or not…companies are allowing their employees to play games such as World of Warcraft, Everquest and Eve Online.

What’s the catch? None—just another way to leverage knowledge and skills.

Though these fantasy games are just that, in many ways they resemble the business landscape and open a window to the future of business leadership. These games require strategic decision-making, team building and leadership in order to progress to the higher levels of play, which can translate to fit real-world corporate contexts.


These multi-player online games are designed so that individuals globally can interact and accomplish missions through compelling strategy and teamwork. Individuals assume different roles throughout levels of play and can climb their way into leadership positions based on their ability to execute decisions and lead their team through challenging situations. Much of this we see within the business environment. Employees have the opportunity to demonstrate their skills and knowledge within their teams/business units that add to the core value of the business and leverage their opportunity to climb into leadership roles.

Tony O’Driscoll, Professor of the Practice of Business Administration at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, shares with Human Resources IQ how gaming can change how leaders function tomorrow and make them more effective today.