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Human resource professionals increasingly enhance their assessment tools with game elements—a process typically referred to as “gamification”—to make them more interesting and engaging for candidates, and they design and use “serious games” that can support skill assessment and development. However, commercial, off-the-shelf video games are not or are only rarely used to screen or test candidates, even though there is increasing evidence that they are indicative of various skills that are professionally valuable. Using the strategy game Civilization, this proof-of-concept study explores if strategy video games are indicative of managerial skills and, if so, of what managerial skills. Under controlled laboratory conditions, we asked forty business students to play the Civilization game and to participate in a series of assessment exercises. We find that students who had high scores in the game had better skills related to problem-solving and organizing and planning than the students who had low scores. In addition, a preliminary analysis of in-game data, including players’ interactions and chat messages, suggests that strategy games such as Civilization may be used for more precise and holistic “stealth assessments,” including personality assessments.
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Review of Managerial Science (2021) 15:957–990
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Good gamers, good managers? Aproof‑of‑concept study
withSid Meier’s Civilization
AlexanderSimons1· IsabellWohlgenannt1· MarkusWeinmann2·
Received: 14 August 2018 / Accepted: 9 January 2020 / Published online: 4 February 2020
© The Author(s) 2020
Human resource professionals increasingly enhance their assessment tools with
game elements—a process typically referred to as “gamification”—to make them
more interesting and engaging for candidates, and they design and use “serious
games” that can support skill assessment and development. However, commercial,
off-the-shelf video games are not or are only rarely used to screen or test candi-
dates, even though there is increasing evidence that they are indicative of various
skills that are professionally valuable. Using the strategy game Civilization, this
proof-of-concept study explores if strategy video games are indicative of managerial
skills and, if so, of what managerial skills. Under controlled laboratory conditions,
we asked forty business students to play the Civilization game and to participate
in a series of assessment exercises. We find that students who had high scores in
the game had better skills related to problem-solving and organizing and planning
than the students who had low scores. In addition, a preliminary analysis of in-game
data, including players’ interactions and chat messages, suggests that strategy games
such as Civilization may be used for more precise and holistic “stealth assessments,”
including personality assessments.
Keywords Assessment· Gamification· Recruitment· Human resources· Serious
games· Video games
JEL Classification J24· M51
* Alexander Simons
Extended author information available on the last page of the article
Content courtesy of Springer Nature, terms of use apply. Rights reserved.
A.Simons et al.
1 3
1 Introduction
“I’ve been playing Civilization since middle school. It’s my favorite strategy
game and one of the reasons I got into engineering.”
Mark Zuckerberg on Facebook, 21 October 2016
Information technology (IT) has changed human resource (HR) management, par-
ticularly its assessment procedures. HR professionals are increasingly using IT-
enhanced versions of traditional selection methods such as digital interviews, social-
media analytics, and reviews of user profiles on professional social-networking sites
instead of traditional selection interviews, personality tests, and reference checks
(Chamorro-Premuzic etal. 2016). While business games have a long history in per-
sonnel assessment and development, the use of digital games and game elements is
also increasing (see, e.g., Ferrell etal. 2016). For example, computerized personality
surveys and assessment exercises have been “gamified” with elements such as narra-
tives, progress bars, and animations (Armstrong etal. 2016) to create a more engag-
ing experience for applicants, and “serious” games—that is, digital games that serve
purposes other than entertainment (Michael and Chen 2006)—have been designed
for assessment, education, and training (see, e.g., Bellotti etal. 2013).
The potential of commercial, off-the-shelf video games has long been ignored
by HR research, but interest in them has recently surfaced. Several video games
have been found to be able to be indicative of various skills that are profession-
ally valuable, including persistence, problem-solving, and leadership (Lisk etal.
2012; Shute etal. 2009, 2015), which are often referred to as twenty-first-century
skills (see, e.g., Chu etal. 2017). Therefore, Petter etal. (2018) recently proposed
that employers could use video games to screen or test applicants and that appli-
cants should indicate their gaming experiences and achievements on their résu-
més. In fact, being adept at video games can significantly boost one’s career. For
example, Jann Mardenborough, a professional racing driver, is said to have started
his career by participating in Gran Turismo competitions (Richards 2012), and
Matt Neil’s performance in the video game Football Manager allegedly paved the
way for his career as a football analyst (Stanger 2016).
The use of video games for assessment purposes is often referred to as a
“stealth assessment” (e.g., Shute etal. 2009; Wang etal. 2015). During stealth
assessments, candidates are less aware that they are being evaluated (Fetzer 2015)
because they can fully immerse themselves in the game, so that test anxiety and
response bias can be reduced (Kato and de Klerk 2017; Shute etal. 2016). How-
ever, different video games and game genres can indicate very different types
of skills (Petter etal. 2018), so the challenge faced by research is to determine
which games can be used to assess which types of skills. Against this backdrop,
we explore if and to what extent strategy video games can be used to assess man-
agerial skills using the video game Civilization (www.civil izati We focus
on managerial skills because they are closely related to several of the twenty-
first-century skills that previous research has assessed using video games, and
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Good gamers, good managers? Aproof-of-concept study with…
we use Civilization because it is an unusually broad and open video game that
confronts players with a high level of complexity: Dealing with multifaceted and
deeply connected game mechanisms requires players to plan their actions care-
fully, to develop sophisticated strategies, and, in the multiplayer mode, to interact
and trade with other players. In fact, there is increasing anecdotal evidence that
Civilization requires skills such as critical thinking and strategic planning—skills
that are known to be important in managerial jobs. To determine which manage-
rial skills influence game success, this exploratory study focuses on the follow-
ing research question: Can strategy video games such as Civilization be used to
assess managerial skills and, if so, what skills are they indicative of? To answer
our research question, we asked business students to participate in a controlled,
correlational laboratory study that involved a series of multiplayer games and
assessment exercises. Accordingly, the students’ managerial skills were measured
using the assessment-center method, and to answer our research question, we
compared the participants’ game scores with their assessment results.
The article proceeds as follows. Section2 provides the background on person-
nel assessments and reviews research on game-based assessment methods. Section3
describes the basic game principles of Civilization and provides a rationale for why
the game could be used to assess managerial skills. Section 4 outlines the proce-
dures for data collection and analysis and explains how we organized the multiplayer
games with the participants and how we designed the assessments. Section5 pre-
sents our findings, which are discussed in Sect.6. Section7 acknowledges the limi-
tations and Sect.8 concludes the paper.
2 Game‑based assessment
The history of personnel-selection research stretches back to the first decade of
the twentieth century (Ghiselli 1973). Since then, researchers have studied various
methods for assessing candidates, including general mental-ability tests, reference
checks, work-sample tests, interviews, job-knowledge tests, peer ratings, grades,
and assessment centers (e.g., Reilly and Chao 1982; Schmidt and Hunter 1998;
Schmitt et al. 1984). Since the late 1950s, increasing numbers of organizations
from the private and public sectors have used assessment centers to evaluate appli-
cants (Spychalski etal. 1997) and to develop and promote personnel (Ballantyne
and Povah 2004). Assessment centers’ greatest advantage over other predictors is
that they combine traditional assessments such as interviews, simulation exercises,
and personality tests to provide an overall evaluation of an applicant’s knowledge
and abilities (see Thornton and Gibbons 2009). Therefore, assessment centers allow
employers to collect detailed information about candidates’ skills and abilities such
as their communication skills, problem-solving skills, or their ability to influence or
be aware of others (Arthur etal. 2003).
During the past few years, IT has disrupted traditional forms of personnel selec-
tion by producing new, technology-enhanced assessment methods (Chamorro-
Premuzic et al. 2016). For example, reference checks are increasingly conducted
online using business-oriented websites such as LinkedIn, which inform potential
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A.Simons et al.
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employers about applicants’ professional networks, work experience, and recom-
mendations (Zide etal. 2014). While job interviews via videoconferencing services
such as Skype (Straus etal. 2001), unlike face-to-face meetings, may even be used
for voice mining (Chamorro-Premuzic et al. 2016), social-media platforms such
as Facebook and Twitter provide information about the applicants’ personal rela-
tionships, private hobbies, and interests—information that has long been unavail-
able to recruiters (Stoughton etal. 2015). Therefore, though they can save time and
costs (Mead and Drasgow 1993), such assessments also raise several legal and ethi-
cal issues (Slovensky and Ross 2012) as well as privacy concerns (Stoughton etal.
2015), and they may even influence construct measurement (Morelli et al. 2017).
For example, researchers have found that the results of computerized versions of
cognitive-ability tests, personality tests, and situational-judgment tests can differ
from those of written tests (see,e.g., Stone etal. 2015) because candidates may tend
to answer more quickly but less accurately in IT-based assessments (Van de Vijver
and Harsveld 1994). Against this background, researchers have been challenged to
compare traditional assessments with the IT-based methods that are increasingly
used in HR practice (Anderson 2003).
In addition to these technology-enhanced assessment methods, a recent trend
in assessment is the “gameful” design of personnel-selection methods (see, e.g.,
Chamorro-Premuzic etal. 2016). Gamification, which refers to the use of game ele-
ments, and serious games, which refers to the design and use of purposeful games,
have received special attention from researchers. Gamification generally describes
the idea of using game elements in non-game contexts (Deterding etal. 2011) to
increase user engagement (Huotari and Hamari 2012). Examples of such game ele-
ments are leader boards, progress bars, feedback mechanisms, badges, and awards
(Hamari et al. 2014), which have been used in contexts as diverse as marketing,
health, and education (e.g., Huotari and Hamari 2012; Kapp 2012; McCallum
2012). Among others, researchers have studied the gamification of personality sur-
veys and assessment exercises using game elements such as narratives and progress
bars (Armstrong etal. 2016; Ferrell etal. 2016). Today, the rapidly growing gami-
fication market offers various applications that can support personnel selection. For
example, Nitro, a cloud-based enterprise gamification platform by Bunchball, can be
used to implement game elements such as challenges, badges, and leaderboards on
websites, apps, and social networks to assess employee performance (www.bunch; HR Avatar, a company that administers online employment tests, uses
animations to create immersive simulations for various types of jobs (www.hrava tar.
com); and, Visual DNA, a web-based profiling technology, queries website visitors
using images instead of text to learn about their personalities (www.visua
Serious games are those that have been developed for purposes other than enter-
tainment (Michael and Chen 2006). Serious games are especially common in educa-
tion, where they have long been used to engage learners and help them to acquire
new knowledge and abilities through play (see, e.g., Van Eck 2006). However, seri-
ous games are also becoming increasingly popular in other domains, including in
the marketing, social-change, and health fields (e.g., McCallum 2012; Peng etal.
2010; Susi etal. 2007). HR has long used business games (i.e., serious games that
have been developed for business training), which were once paper-and-pencil-based
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Good gamers, good managers? Aproof-of-concept study with…
but are mostly digital today (Bellotti etal. 2013). Examples for serious games that
can be used for personnel assessment are America’s Army, an online shooting game
developed by the US Army to recruit soldiers (www.ameri casar; Theme
Park Hero, a game-based cognitive ability assessment for recruitment by Revelian
(www.revel; and Knack, a mobile puzzle game that assesses players’ skills
in various dimensions and awards players with skill-related badges based on their
game results (www.knack In fact, such gaming apps may lead to a shift
in the relationship between assessor and assessed, from business-to-business to
business-to-consumer, and from reactive test-taking to proactive test-taking—such
that “the testing market will increasingly transition from the current push model—
where firms require people to complete a set of assessments in order to quantify
their talent—to a pull model where firms will search various talent badges to iden-
tify the people they seek to hire” (Chamorro-Premuzic etal. 2016, p.632; emphasis
in original).
While gamification and serious games have received some attention from
researchers, the market for recruitment games and gamified assessment applications
has grown much more quickly than academic interest has, which “leaves academics
playing catch up and human resources (HR) practitioners with many unanswered
questions,” especially regarding these approaches’ validity (Chamorro-Premuzic
etal. 2016, p. 622). Commercial, off-the-shelf video games have received even less
scientific attention, although researchers have recently shown increasing interest in
video games. In fact, during the past few years, several video games have been found
to be indicative of various skills other than gaming skills, including professionaland
digital skills, so Petter et al. (2018) encouraged applicants to share their gaming
experiences on their résumés and during job interviews, and employers to use video
games to screen or test candidates. As Barber etal. (2017, p. 3) put it, “similar to
how an individual’s background in competitive sports communicates information to
a hiring manager, an individual’s history in online gaming can be a signal to a hiring
manager of attributes possessed by the potential job candidate.”
Various video games may qualify for skill assessment, including tactical games
such as Use Your Brainz (a modified version of Plants vs. Zombies 2) and role-
playing games such as The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, which have been used to assess
problem-solving skills (Shute et al. 2009, 2016); massively multiplayer online
games such as EVE Online and Chevaliers’ Romance III, which may indicate leader-
ship skills and behavior (Lisk etal. 2012; Lu etal. 2014); and first-person shooters
such as Counter Strike, which may be used to learn about players’ creativity (Wright
etal. 2002). In addition, video games may reflect intellectual abilities, for example,
multiplayer online battle arenas such as League of Legends and DOTA 2, adventure
games such as Professor Layton and the Curious Village, and puzzle games such as
Nintendo’s Big Brain Academy (Kokkinakis etal. 2017; Quiroga etal. 2009, 2016).
Video games may even be used to train and develop these and related skills, for
example, sandbox games such as Minecraft, which have been used to teach plan-
ning, language, and project-management skills (see Nebel etal. 2016); multiplayer
games such as Halo4 and Rock Band, which have been found to improve team cohe-
sion and performance (Keith etal. 2018); and puzzle games such as Portal2, which
have been found to improve players’ spatial, problem-solving, and persistence skills
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A.Simons et al.
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(Shute etal. 2015). A broader experimental study with various video games such
as Borderlands2, Minecraft, Portal2, Warcraft III, and Team Fortress 2 suggested
that video games may generally be used to train individuals in communication skills,
adaptability, and resourcefulness (Barr 2017).
Accordingly, in studying the relationship between gaming and skill assessment
and development, researchers have mostly focused on twenty-first-century or digital
skills. However, as Granic etal. (2014) explained, different game genres offer dif-
ferent benefits to gamers, thus it is still a challenge for research to determine what
game genres can be used to assess and train which types of skills. In particular, strat-
egy video games deserve the researchers’ attention because they are both complex
and social (Granic et al. 2014). Due to strategy games’ complexity, players must
carefully plan and balance their decisions, develop alternative game strategies, and
deal with high levels of uncertainty; furthermore, since modern strategy games are
typically played online with other players, they are also interactive and social, so
that communication and negotiation skills are important. Therefore, strategy games
could arguably be useful for skill assessment; however, they have not yet received
much attention from researchers. Basak etal. (2008) used Rise of Nations, a real-
time strategy video game, to train executive functions in older adults; Glass etal.
(2013) found that StarCraft, another real-time strategy video game, can improve
cognitive flexibility; and Adachi and Willoughby (2013) discovered a relationship
between gaming and self-reported problem-solving skills for strategy games as
opposed to fast-paced games. Still, most of the research has been dedicated to game
genres other than that of strategy and has tended to neglect several skills that may be
assessed using strategy games. Against this background, this study explores if strat-
egy games such as Civilization are indicative of managerial skills, so they could be
used for assessment purposes.
3 Sid Meier’s Civilization
Civilization is a long-standing series of strategy games in which players move in
turns, giving them time to think, which is why the game has been compared to chess
(Squire and Steinkuehler 2005). Sidney K. “Sid” Meier and Bruce Shelley created
the first Civilization game for MicroProse in 1991. Since then, five sequels and sev-
eral expansion packs and add-ons have been released. With millions of copies sold
and multiple awards won—the opening theme of Civilization IV was even awarded a
Grammy—, Civilization is considered one of the best and most widely played turn-
based video games to date (seeOwens 2011). The current version of the series is
Civilization VI, which was not available at the time when we collected our data, so
we used CivilizationV. However, most of the information we provide applies to the
whole game series.
The idea of the Civilization game is to build a civilization from scratch from the
ancient era to the modern age, which requires players to expand and protect their
borders, build new cities, develop their infrastructures, discover novel technologies,
maintain economies, promote their cultures, and pursue diplomacy. Including all
downloadable content and the two expansion packs Gods & Kings and Brave New
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Good gamers, good managers? Aproof-of-concept study with…
World, forty-three civilizations are currently available in Civilization V, and each
offers unique gameplay advantages. The world differs in each game, with differing
geography, terrain, and resources. During the game, players must explore their world
to uncover the randomly generated map, find new resources, identify suitable loca-
tions for founding cities, and outline the other civilizations’ territories. The game
can be played alone in single-player mode (i.e. against the computer) or together
with other players in multiplayer mode (i.e. against each other). There are four main
types of victory in the game—domination, science, culture, and diplomacy—, so it
offers numerous avenues through which to pursue success:
First, if all but one player has lost their original capital cities through conquest,
the last player who still possesses his or her own capital city wins the domination
victory. To achieve the domination victory, players can recruit more than 120
military units, ranging from archers and warriors to nuclear missiles and giant
death robots. While all these units have their general advantages and disadvan-
tages, their strength and speed further depend on a number of factors such as the
opponents and the terrain. In addition, several buildings can be constructed to
increase the strength of the military units (e.g., barracks, armories, and military
academies) or to improve the defense of cities (e.g., walls, castles, and arsenals).
Second, the first player whose technological development is advanced enough to
build and launch a spaceship wins the science victory, for which technological
progress is most important. Science progresses with every turn, and once play-
ers have researched enough, they can discover novel technology that yields new
units, new buildings, or certain game advantages. More than eighty technolo-
gies (e.g., mining, biology, and nuclear fusion) in several eras (e.g., the ancient,
medieval, and atomic eras) can be researched. Choosing a technology to explore
is not easy because scientific discovery follows predefined and complex paths in
the so-called tech tree. Various buildings can accelerate scientific progress (e.g.,
libraries, universities,and public schools).
Third, the player whose cultural influence dominates all other civilizations wins
the cultural victory. Players develop their civilizations’ culture with every turn,
which expands their borders and allows them to introduce social policies that
yield certain gameplay bonuses. Civilization offers forty-five social policies
(e.g., humanism, philanthropy,and reformation) and three ideologies (freedom,
order, and autocracy) with sixteen tenets each. In addition, great works of artists,
writers, and musicians as well as ancient artifacts that can be found in archeolog-
ical digs together produce tourism, which helps civilizations spread their culture
around the world. Several buildings (e.g., monuments, opera houses, andmuse-
ums) support a cultural victory.
Fourth, the player who wins a world-leader resolution in the World Congress
achieves the diplomatic victory. All civilization leaders are represented by
a certain number of delegates in the World Congress (which later in the game
becomes the United Nations), where they can propose, enact, reject, or repeal
resolutions that—for good or for bad—affect all of them (e.g., embargos, fund-
ing, andtaxes). The number of delegates a civilization has is especially impor-
tant for proposals to pass in the World Congress, and this mainly depends on the
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A.Simons et al.
1 3
number of that civilization’s city-state allies. Players can seek allies from among
sixty-four city-states (e.g., Zurich, Prague, and Hanoi) of differing types (e.g.,
religious, mercantile, andmaritime), and diplomats help them find out how other
civilizations think about their proposed resolutions and make diplomatic agree-
If no player has achieved one of the four types of victory, the game ends in the
year 2050, and the player with the highest score wins the time victory. It is not
entirely clear how the game calculates the scores, but there are many websites,
wikis, and forums that offer quite sensible estimates, suggesting that scores are cal-
culated as a function of several factors with different weightings that reflect eco-
nomic, scientific, cultural, and military progress. Among them are the number (and
size) of cities owned, technologies researched, wonders built, and the amount of
land controlled. As players can pursue different types of victory, there is no simple
or ideal strategy for winning the game. Instead, they must develop balanced strate-
gies, as weakness in any area can weaken other areas:
[T]he strategies in winning, whichever conditions the player might choose,
are intricate and manifold. If a player attempts a military victory, he/she still
needs to keep up scientific research, or the units will become obsolete. A
strong economy must be maintained or the player won’t be able to support all
of the military units. A variety of cities are necessary to build units, but cities
not only require maintenance, they also need to be defended from enemies.
Regardless of what path the player chooses, an appropriate balance must be
struck. Within this framework, there are many options for the player to explore
(Camargo 2006, n.p.).
In sum, Civilization has a great variety of ways in which to play and win, mak-
ing it an unusually broad and open game. While even the central game elements—
terrain features, resource types, buildings, religion, happiness, espionage, trading,
archeology, wonders, promotions, specialists, great people, barbarians, and many
more—cannot be explained concisely, our broad overview should provide some
sense of the game mechanics. (A more detailed description of the game can be found
at http://civil izati on.wikia .com.) As explained, strategy games are both complex and
social, which is especially the case with Civilization, so the game may indicate sev-
eral skills other than gaming skills that are important when on the job: Civilization
requires players to deal with multifaceted and deeply connected game mechanisms
such as economics, science, culture, and religion—along with various units, build-
ings, and resources—, which demand careful planning and strategy development.
In the multiplayer mode, players must also interact with each other, either coopera-
tively through diplomacy, trading, and research, or competitively through war, espi-
onage, and embargos, so they must communicate and negotiate. Against this back-
ground, strategy video games such as Civilization may be indicative of analytical
skills such as organizing, planning, and decision-making, and interpersonal skills
such as communication and negotiation—skills that largely correspond to those that
have been deemed important for managerial positions (see, e.g., Arthur etal. 2003).
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Good gamers, good managers? Aproof-of-concept study with…
According to Common Sense Media, a nonprofit provider of entertainment and
technology recommendations to families and schools, Civilization provides an edu-
cational tool for classrooms and helps to develop players’ creativity and thinking-
and-reasoning ability (Sapieha n.d.). In fact, the game has also been used as an edu-
cational tool in, for example, history lessons (Squire 2004; also see Shreve 2005),
so it is not surprising that it was planned to develop an educational version of the
game for use in North American high schools (Carpenter 2016). Early on, Squire
and Barab (2004, pp. 505 and 512) found that Civilization can not only help students
learn about history, but also about the interplay between geography, politics, and
economics, and that “powerful systemic-level understandings” can emerge through
gameplay. Against this background, our study explores if strategy games such as
Civilization can be used to assess managerial skills and what skills they can assess—
“to ascertain exactly what it is that players are taking away from games such as […]
Civilization” (Shute etal. 2009, p. 298).
4 Method
4.1 Participants
We promoted the research project in lectures and via e-mail and offered participants
a copy of Civilization V plus add-ons and the chance to win one of six prizes in
a lottery—three tablet computers, a notebook, an e-book reader, and a Civilization
board game—as an incentive to participate. Fifty business students, all native Ger-
man speakers from a small European university, volunteered to participate. Shortly
after a student had responded, we explained to him or her the conditions of partici-
pation via e-mail and provided copies of CivilizationV, including the add-ons, Brave
New World and Gods & Kings. The participants had onemonth to learn how to play
Civilization, which was a challenge for some, as becoming competent in the game
requires players to invest considerable time and effort. Therefore, ten students who
applied for the study withdrew, citing time constraints. Table1 provides descriptive
statistics for the forty remaining participants.
Participants’ average age was 24.10 years, and thirty of the forty participants
were male. Twenty-three of the participants were undergraduate business-adminis-
tration students, while the remaining seventeen were in business-oriented master’s
programs at the graduate level. Thirty-three percent had participated in an assess-
ment center before. Their previous Civilization V playtimes—which we could meas-
ure because all participants became our “friends” on Steam, a software distribution
platform—ranged from 3.80 to 260.30h, with a standard deviation of 39.25h. Still,
as only a few of the volunteers had played the game before, their Civilization play-
times, with a few exceptions, were relatively equally distributed among them, with
a mean of 33.40h and a median of 26.95 h. The participants’ self-estimated expe-
rience with other Civilization titles (e.g., Civilization IIV, Beyond Earth) ranged
from 0 to 200 h, with a mean of 23.90 h. They reported spending an average of
around 4 h/week on video games of any kind (often action, sports, and strategy
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A.Simons et al.
1 3
4.2 Procedures
Multiplayer games We organized ten four-hour multiplayer games, each with four
participants. The games were run as permanently supervised LAN games in a com-
puter lab, where we had installed Steam and Civilization V. To ensure that partici-
pants could not identify each other during the game and team up with their friends,
they were randomly assigned to groups, and they used anonymized Steam accounts
and usernames. In addition, their workstations were surrounded by whiteboards so
they could not see each other’s screens, they were not permitted to speak aloud to
each other, and they wore headphones so they could not hear each other when they
were typing in the game’s chat window. To ensure that the participants would try to
play as skillfully as possible, the winner of one of the most expensive lottery prizes
was drawn from among the ten participants who had earned the highest scores in the
multiplayer games. Figure1 illustrates the physical layout of the multiplayer games.
We informed the participants about the game setup via e-mail before the gam-
ing sessions started. All of them played the “Washington” civilization to ensure that
they had equal benefits. To rule out potential artificial intelligence (AI) biases, there
were no computer players. The “Pangaea” map type was used so all players shared
a single, huge landmass (as opposed to maps with several islands or continents).
The difficulty level was set at medium–high (“emperor”) to make the game challeng-
ing, the game pace was set to “quick” to shorten the time required for a game, the
Table 1 Participants’ descriptive statistics
Variable Unit Obs Mean SD Min Max
Age (years) 40 24.10 4.70 19.00 46.00
Gender (female = 1) 40 .25 .44 .00 1.00
Study level (Master’s = 1) 40 .43 .50 .00 1.00
Gaming habits (h/week) 40 4.08 5.54 .00 25.00
Civilization V playtime (h) 40 33.40 39.25 3.80 260.30
Experience with other Civilization titles (h) 40 23.90 54.09 .00 200.00
Experience with assessment centers (yes = 1) 40 .33 .47 .00 1.00
Fig. 1 Physical layout of the multiplayer games. This figure is not included in the article’s Creative Com-
mons licence
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Good gamers, good managers? Aproof-of-concept study with…
resource distribution was “balanced” so the geography was as fair as possible, and
the turn timer was enabled to prevent players from delaying the game. In addition,
the map size was “tiny,” the four main types of victory were enabled, movement
and combat were set to “quick,” and downloadable content other than the approved
add-ons, Gods & Kings and Brave New World, was disabled. All the other settings
(e.g., game era, world age, number of city-states) were standard. With increasing
playtime, Civilization tends to slow down, especially in the multiplayer mode, so we
tested this setup in three one-day LAN games, each with at least four unique players,
to ensure it would perform adequately.
Assessment centers We designed our assessments according to established
guidelines and procedures from the academic and professional literature on person-
nel selection (e.g., Ballantyne and Povah 2004; Caldwell etal. 2003). For example,
our design incorporated the ten recommendations established by the International
Task Force on Assessment Center Guidelines, which address issues ranging from
behavioral classification and simulation to recording and data integration (Joiner
2000) (Appendix 1). We assigned participants to groups based on the groups in
which they played the games and we conducted ten assessments with four partici-
pants each. Each of the ten assessments took approximately 5h.
To provide an incentive for the participants to perform as well as possible in the
assessments, we drew one of the lottery prices from among the ten participants who
performed best. In addition, we offered all participants the chance to receive feed-
back on how they performed during the assessments. After a short introduction that
provided an overview of the time schedule and exercises, participants signed a dec-
laration of consent that stated that they had participated voluntarily, that they could
quit at any time for any reason, and that they would keep the contents of the assess-
ments confidential until the study was completed so their fellow participants could
not prepare in advance. The assessments concluded with a short personality test and
a debriefing in which the participants were presented with their preliminary results
and could ask questions about the study.
Our assessments featured the probably most common types of assessment-
center exercises: presentations, in-basket exercises, case studies, role plays, and
group discussions (see Spychalski etal. 1997) (Appendix2). All exercises, which
were conducted in German to ensure sufficient comprehension, came from the
academic and professional literature on personnel evaluation and selection. We
supervised the participants’ work on all exercises, including the breaks, and vide-
otaped all exercises except for the written case study and in-basket exercises to
facilitate detailed data analysis. We selected only those exercises that did not
require more than basic managerial knowledge and we adapted them slightly to
match our objectives. Figure2 illustrates the setting of the assessments based on
screenshots we took from the videos.
Our exercises required participants to show the dimensions of managerial skill
that are most commonly evaluated in assessment centers (Arthur etal. 2003): con-
sideration/awareness of others (“awareness of others” hereafter), which reflects
the extent to which individuals care about others’ feelings and needs; communica-
tion, which reflects how individuals deliver information in oral or written form;
drive, which reflects individuals’ activity level and how persistently they pursue
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A.Simons et al.
1 3
achievement; influencing others, which reflects how successfully an individual
can steer others either to adopt a certain point of view or to do or not do some-
thing; organizing and planning, which reflects individuals’ ability to organize
their work and resources systematically to accomplish tasks; and problem-solv-
ing, which reflects how individuals gather, understand, and analyze information
to generate realizable options, ideas, and solutions (Arthur etal. 2003).
The six skill dimensions categorize several skills that we could directly
observe and measure with our exercises, so they represent the categories we used
to classify behaviors displayed by participants (Joiner 2000), and we developed
a hierarchical competency system (Chen and Naquin 2006) that defined which
dimensions were assessed in which exercise. Each dimension was assessed
in more than one exercise, and—even though the videos we took allowed for
repeated and focused evaluations—we onlyassessed between two andfive dimen-
sions per exercise (see Woehr and Arthur 2003). We used twenty-five, more
measurable and specific skills that we borrowed from the academic literature on
personnel recruitment to evaluate the participants’ performance in the six dimen-
sions (Appendix3).
4.3 Measures
Game success We measured participants’ game success based on their final Civili-
zation scores because it is nearly impossible to achieve any type of victory in Civili-
zation V other than the domination victory in a 4-h game. As explained, these scores
are automatically calculated by the game and are a function of several factors, each
with its own weighting, that reflect economic, scientific, cultural, and military pro-
gress. Although all games were of equal length, participants’ game scores varied
with the number of turns a group took, and the number of turns varied with the
game pace (e.g., war slowed the game down in some groups). To allow for group
comparisons, we calculated a participant’s Mean points per turn as the quotient of
his or her total points in the game and the number of turns that his or her group took.
Managerial skills Two assessors, one of whom was not part of the project team,
used a 7-point Likert scale (where 7 is high) to independently evaluate the partici-
pants’ performance during the assessments. One of the main reasons that assessment
Fig. 2 Assessment-center setup (role play, group discussion, presentation). This figure is not included in
the article’s Creative Commons licence
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Good gamers, good managers? Aproof-of-concept study with…
centers often fail is insufficient assessor training (Caldwell etal. 2003), so our asses-
sors used detailed instruction and evaluation material that we created based on the
literature and on notes that one of the researchers took while observing the par-
ticipants’ work. As is typically recommended, the assessors used sample solutions,
criteria catalogs, and behavior checklists that described desirable and undesirable
behavior (see, e.g., Reilly et al. 1990). The assessors independently reviewed the
participants’ written solutions for the case study and in-basket exercise and watched
the videos of the other exercises at least twice. They took detailed notes to justify
their ratings.
Accordingly, our assessors independently rated the skills that the participants
demonstrated during their work on the exercises, and we averaged their individual
ratings to get final skill ratings for each exercise. As the rating scale was ordinal, we
measured the assessors’ level of agreement using Kendall’s coefficient of concord-
ance. All coefficients of concordance were significant, so inter-rater reliability was
generally high (Appendix4). Next, we averaged the assessors’ skill ratings across
exercises to get composite skill-dimension ratings. For example, for measuring the
skill dimension Organizing and planning, we used data collected from the case-
study, in-basket, and presentation exercises and averaged the following skill ratings:
Coaching, Delegation, Strategic thinking, Planning and scheduling, Structuring and
organizing, and Time sensitivity; for measuring the skill dimension Problem-solving,
we used data collected from the case-study and in-basket exercises and from the
group discussion and averaged the following skill ratings:Solution finding, Deci-
siveness, Problem analysis, and Fact finding. (Appendix3 provides additional infor-
mation as to what skill ratings were used to measure what skill dimension.)
4.4 Model specification
We specified a linear mixed-effects regression model to estimate the relationship
between participants’ performance in the game (measured as mean points per turn)
and their managerial skills (measured as skill-dimension ratings). Because the par-
ticipants played Civilization in groups we used a mixed-effects model with varying
intercepts to consider group effects, as observations within the same group might be
correlated (Gelman and Hill 2007); as Barr et al. (2013) suggested, we specified a
linear mixed-effects model with maximum random effects.
We also had to assume that the effects were not constant across groups, as group-
specific game dynamics (e.g., war and alliances between players) may have had an
influence, so the model also allowed for the coefficients (i.e., the slopes) to vary
across groups. According to Snijders and Bosker (2012), random-coefficient models
are especially useful for relatively small groups like the four-participant groups in
our study. Therefore, we specified the following varying-intercept, varying-slopes
model (see StataCorp 2019, p. 14):
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A.Simons et al.
1 3
where SDRijk is the skill-dimension rating k for a participant i in a group j; β00 repre-
sents the overall mean intercept; β10 is the overall mean effect (slope) of Mean points
per turn (MPTij); Controlsij are the control variables Age, Gender, Civilization V
playtime, Experience with other Civilization titles, Gaming habits, Study level,
and Experience with assessment centers; and εij indicates level-one residuals (i.e.,
on the individual level), which are assumed to be normally distributed with mean
0. As observations from the four participants in a group might be correlated, u0j
is a level-two random effect (i.e., a group-specific random intercept) that describes
the between-group variability of the outcome variable SDRijk and captures the non-
independence between observations of SDRijk for participants i in a group j, so it
allows the intercept β00 to vary across groups. Similarly, u1j is a level-two random
effect (i.e., a group-specific random slope) of MPTij that accounts for in-game group
dynamics and allows the coefficient β10 to vary across groups. Both random effects,
u0j and u1j, are assumed to be normally distributed with mean 0.1
5 Results
5.1 Descriptive results
Table 2 shows the participants’ game results and assessment results. The partici-
pants’ Total points in the game (i.e., their final scores) ranged from 213 to 1291, with
a mean of close to 700 points and a standard deviation of around 246 points. The
number of Turns the groups took ranged from 131 to 205, with a mean of around
165 turns. The participants’ Mean points per turn averaged 4.20, had a standard
deviation of 1.30, and ranged from 1.28 to 6.62.
The participants’ performance in each of the six skill dimensions ranged from
2.00 (Drive, Influencing others) to 6.67 (Influencing others). The mean and stand-
ard deviation for Awareness of others were 4.10 and .94, respectively, while they
were 4.41 and .75 for Communication, 4.04 and .89 for Drive, 4.29 and 1.21 for
Influencing others, 4.00 and .79 for Organizing and planning, and 4.04 and .81 for
Next, we test whether the participants’ game results correlated with their assess-
ment results.
5.2 Regression results
Based on our model specification, we conducted a series of regression analyses to
test whether the participants’ game results correlated with their assessment results.
That is, we ran separate regressions on the six skill dimensions using the same model
1 We modelled the binary control variables Gender and Experiences with assessment centers as fixed
factors because they contain all population levels in our study (Snijders and Bosker 2012). We modelled
all other control variables in the same way as Mean points per turn (i.e., coefficients with fixed and ran-
dom components; maximal random-effects structure; see Barr etal. 2013).
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Good gamers, good managers? Aproof-of-concept study with…
specification, while participants’ skill-dimension ratings provided the outcome vari-
ables (i.e., Awareness of others, Communication, Drive, Influencing others, Organ-
izing and planning, and Problem-solving). While we found no significant relation-
ships between Mean points per turn and Awareness of others, Communication,
Drive, and Influencing others, we found Mean points per turn to significantly corre-
late with both Organizing and planning and Problem-solving. For each of these two
skill dimensions, we estimated two models, one model without control variables and
one model with control variables. Table3 presents the regression results for Organ-
izing and planning and Table4 presents the regression results for Problem-solving.
We used Stata 13.1 to estimate the mixed-effects models (“mixed command”). By
default, Stata uses the maximum-likelihood estimation (StataCorp 2019).2
For Organizing and planning, Model 1a (without controls) indicates a signifi-
cantly positive coefficient for Mean points per turn (β = .25, p < .00), which remains
robust when adding the control variables (Model 1b: β = .18, p < .05). Accordingly,
both models suggest that game success is correlated with higher skill levels in
Organizing and planning.
For Problem-solving, Model 2a (without controls) indicates a significantly pos-
itive coefficient for Mean points per turn (β = .19, p < .04), which remains robust
when adding the control variables (Model 2b: β = .19, p < .04). Accordingly, both
models suggest that game success is correlated with higher skill levels regarding
In summary, the mixed-effects linear regression analysis suggests that participants
who had high Civilization scores had significantly better problem-solving skills and
organizing-and-planning skills on average than did participants who performed less
Table 2 Descriptive results
Variable Unit Obs Mean SD Min Max
Video games
Turns (abs. number) 40 165.20 23.00 131.00 205.00
Total points (abs. number) 40 698.80 246.28 213.00 1291.00
Mean points per turn (see text) 40 4.20 1.30 1.28 6.62
Awareness of others (see text) 40 4.10 .94 2.17 6.08
Communication (see text) 40 4.41 .75 3.00 6.00
Drive (see text) 40 4.04 .89 2.00 6.33
Influencing others (see text) 40 4.29 1.21 2.00 6.67
Organizing and planning (see text) 40 4.00 .79 2.71 5.57
Problem-solving (see text) 40 4.04 .81 2.33 5.50
2 The assumptions in linear mixed-effects models are weaker than they are in normal linear regression
models (Gelman and Hill 2007, pp. 45–47). We tested for multicollinearity, which presented no prob-
lems, as all variance inflation factor (VIF) values were smaller than 2. We also tested for normality of
errors using qqplots, which also presented no problems.
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A.Simons et al.
1 3
well in the game. This result suggests that game success is positively related to these
two skill dimensions.
6 Discussion
Gamification, the use of game elements in non-game contexts (Deterding et al.
2011), has received considerable attention from researchers (see, e.g., Hamari
etal. 2014), as has the design and use of serious games that have been developed
Table 3 Regression results for Organizing and planning
*p < .05; **p < .01; ***p < .001. Standard errors are in parentheses. N = 40; number of groups = 10
Dependent variable: organizing and planning
Model 1a: without controls Model 1b: with controls
Mean points per turn .25 (.08) .00** .18 (.09) .05*
Civilization V playtime .00 (.00) .93
Experience with other Civilization titles −.00 (.00) .50
Gaming habits .03 (.02) .26
Age −.02 (.03) .57
Gender −.52 (.32) .11
Study level .20 (.24) .41
Experience with assessment centers −.16 (.26) .53
Intercept 2.95 (.38) .00*** 3.62 (.92) .00***
Group-specific effects Yes Ye s
Log likelihood −42.53 −39.73
Table 4 Regression results for Problem-solving
*p < .05; **p < .01; ***p < .001. Standard errors are in parentheses. N = 40; number of groups = 10
Dependent variable: problem-solving
Model 2a: without controls Model 2b: with controls
Mean points per turn .19 (.09) .04* .19 (.09) .04*
Civilization V playtime .00 (.00) .79
Experience with other Civilization titles −.00 (.00) .37
Gaming habits −.02 (.03) .49
Age −.04 (.03) .16
Gender −.56 (.30) .06
Study level .09 (.25) .72
Experience with assessment centers .06 (.25) .80
Intercept 3.25 (.41) .00*** 4.31 (.91) .00***
Group-specific effects Yes Ye s
Log likelihood −45.87 −40.80
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Good gamers, good managers? Aproof-of-concept study with…
for purposes other than entertainment (Michael and Chen 2006). Researchers have
long studied the negative effects of conventional video games and have only recently
turned to their potentially positive effects (e.g., Liu etal. 2013). Vichitvanichphong
etal. (2016, p. 10) examined video games’ potential for indicating elderly persons’
driving skills and concluded that “good old gamers are good drivers.” Similarly,
using the example of the strategy game Civilization, we explored video games’
potential for indicating managerial skills and asked whether good gamers would
be good managers. Civilization has already received attention from researchers in
various disciplines (e.g., Hinrichs and Forbus 2007; Owens 2011; Squire and Barab
2004; Squire and Steinkuehler 2005; Testa 2014), but application scenarios in busi-
ness contexts have not yet been explored. Against this backdrop, we explored the
following research question: Can strategy video games such as Civilization be used
to assess managerial skills and, if so, what skills are they indicative of?
Our results should be useful to researchers from various fields who are becom-
ing increasingly aware of video games’ potential to indicate several skills other than
gaming skills. Our study revealed significant 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 appli-
cant’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 specification as before, and found that the students
overall assessment ratings were significantly related to their game scores. Accord-
ingly, video games may not only be used to assess specific 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 uni-
versity graduates (see, e.g., Ballantyne and Povah 2004) who apply for managerial
positions but typically lack work experience.
As there are several predictors other than assessment centers that can be used
for evaluating and selecting personnel, including general mental-ability tests, ref-
erence checks, work-sample tests, peer ratings, and grades (e.g., Reilly and Chao
1982; Schmidt and Hunter 1998; Schmitt etal. 1984), we also compared the stu-
dents’ game results with their academic performance. While the results of this com-
parison have been presented elsewhere as research-in-progress (Simons etal. 2015),
they confirmed that participants who had high scores in the game performed sig-
nificantly better in their studies than did the participants who had low game scores.
Clearly, even though grades are a common tool in hiring, some researchers have
questioned their predictive power regarding job performance and adult achievement
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A.Simons et al.
1 3
(e.g., Bretz 1989; Cohen 1984). Still, several studies have suggested that grades and
future job performance are related (e.g., Dye and Reck 1989; Roth etal. 1996), so
our pre-test provided additional evidence for the usefulness of video games in per-
sonnel selection.
Accordingly, our results support the notion that gaming experiences and achieve-
ments may meaningfully inform personnel recruitment and assessment (Petter etal.
2018). As Efron (2016, n.p.) put it: “The more children play games to learn and
navigate life, the more they will expect them as they enter the adult world. Employ-
ers who get ahead of this curve will have an advantage in the war for talent. The
best of the best will be snared through games.” While games are unlikely to replace
traditional assessment methods, they may provide a useful, innovative, and engaging
supplement to other recruitment tests. In addition, if an off-the-shelf game such as
Civilization can be an indicator for managerial skills, even if only to some extent,
certainly strategy games developed specifically for that purpose offer potential for
personnel recruitment. Having said that, this is a proof-of-concept study, so we do
not recommend the use of Civilization for assessments in professional contexts, as
using a standard video game such as Civilization for assessment purposes carries the
risk that applicants who have played the game before will receive higher ratings than
applicants who have not. (The participants’ previous Civilization playtimes were
relatively equally distributed and only a few of them had played the game before, so
gaming experience was not an issue in our study; instead, our measure of game suc-
cess rather reflects how fast participants learned the game in the study-preparation
phase.) In fact, it is a well-known challenge of game-based assessment that gamers
may have an unfair advantage over non-gamers (Kim and Shute 2015). Accordingly,
our results also suggest that “serious” strategy games that are designed for skill
assessment offer companies an opportunity to save time and money, as recruitment
procedures such as the use of assessment centers are time-consuming and expensive.
The design and use of video games for recruitment purposes requires understand-
ing what skills and skill dimensions the games assess and what game mechanisms
allow for skill assessment. Therefore, our study was exploratory and identified the
dimensions of managerial skill that correlate with success in the Civilization game.
We found significant positive correlations between the participants’ game results
and their problem-solving skills and organizing-and-planning skills but no statistical
evidence for other skills such as communication or the ability to influence others.
However, this result does not necessarily mean that no strategy game can indicate
the presence of other skill dimensions, because our study only focused on a specific
game (i.e., Civilization) and used a highly aggregated measure of game success (i.e.,
the participants’ Civilization scores). In fact, video games offer much more data than
what we analyzed in this study. For test purposes, we developed a Civilization mod
(“modding” refers to changing a video game using development tools) (seeOwens
2011) and ran it during the multiplayer games to collect various performance meas-
ures per player and per turn, including the players’ in-game chats, which provided a
near-complete picture of each participant’s performance in the game (e.g., what was
researched and in what order). A systematic exploration of the log files is outside the
scope of this article, but a preliminary analysis suggests that in-game data analytics
offers the potential to draw a more sophisticated picture of managerial talent. For
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Good gamers, good managers? Aproof-of-concept study with…
example, we extracted data on a participant’s number of allies and opponents from
the log files, both of which may reflect interpersonal skills. In fact, the number of
opponents (allies) was negatively (positively) correlated with the participants’ abil-
ity to influence others, while the average number of chat messages was positively
correlated with the participants’ communication skills. As modern video games pro-
duce tremendous amounts of data, they may thus inform employers about more than
just the broad skills we measured.
Accordingly, our future research will explore the extent to which strategy games
such as Civilization can be used for “stealth assessments,” which refers to “the real-
time capture and analysis of gameplay performance data” such as game logs (Ke and
Shute 2015, p. 301), and is “woven directly and invisibly into the […] gaming envi-
ronment” (Shute 2015, p. 62). As video games are immersive, stealth assessments
can reduce test anxiety and the urge to respond in certain ways (Kato and de Klerk
2017), especially when it comes to non-cognitive skills such as conscientiousness
that are usually assessed through self-reported means (Moore and Shute 2017). The-
oretically grounded in evidence-centered design (see Mislevy et al. 2016), stealth
assessments require the development of a competency model, which defines claims
about candidates’ competencies, an evidence model, which defines the evidence of
a claim and how to measure that evidence, and a task model, which determines the
tasks or situations that trigger such evidence (Van Eck etal. 2017; also see, e.g.,
Shute and Moore 2017). Accordingly, our future research will focus on develop-
ing such models and on exploring what skills and skill dimensions can be assessed
with in-game data. For example,strategy games may also offer potential to measure
social and interpersonal skills and personality traits, as people may behave differ-
ently in a gaming environment than they would in a job-application procedure—in
fact, faking is a known limitation of personality tests (Morgeson etal. 2007). The
qualitative analysis of players’ in-game behavior during assessments, for example
based on chats and performance data, may shed light on individuals’ negotiation
strategies, including opportunistic behavior, emotional intelligence, and persistence.
Finally, our study is correlational, so the causality is unclear—that is, our results
do not suggest that Civilization can be used to develop managerial skills nor train
individuals inthese skills. Still, deliberately designed strategy games may not only
measure performance but may also improve certain skills such as those at the ana-
lytical level. Therefore, our results might also stimulate research on the design of
game-based personnel-development tools that companies might use for employee
development and that job applicants might use to test and train their abilities before
they participate in assessments.
7 Limitations
Our research has some limitations. First, as participation in our study was voluntary
and time-consuming—participants spent an average of more than 25h learning how
to play the game, they all participated in a 4-h multiplayer game, and the assess-
ment-center exercises took 5h—our sample size was small, so the robustness of
the observed effects could be questionable. Therefore, we also estimated the models
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A.Simons et al.
1 3
(without controls) using Bayesian data analysis, which can handle small sample
sizes better than frequentist methods can (Hinneburg etal. 2007). According to the
Bayesian estimation,3 the effect of game success on organization and planning was
.26*** and that for problem-solving was .20**. Therefore, all effects are comparable
to the effects estimated using the frequentist approach and different from zero, so
they further support our results.
In addition, even though the participants were assigned randomly to groups, the
groups’ composition may still have affected individual performance. To account for
the groups’ differing playing times, we measured game success as mean points per
turn, but other factors at the group level, especially the dynamics inherent in the
game, may have biased the results. For example, if an unskilled player leaves a city
(in the game) undefended, the player who conquers that city has a significant advan-
tage for the rest of the game, which would affect the group’s overall performance.
We constructed linear mixed-effects models that were not only useful for our small
group sizes but also allowed for the coefficients and the intercepts of the regression
functions to vary across groups.Still,while we included several control variables,
future research should use more holistic models. For example, general mental ability
is a heavily used predictor of managerial performance (Schmidt and Hunter 2004),
but we did not measure our participants’ general mental ability, even though playing
video games such as Civilization is cognitively demanding (see Granic etal. 2014).
The validity of our measures, especially at the skill-dimension level, presents
another limitation. To assess their validity, we used confirmatory factor analy-
sis where the latent variables were the exercises and the skill dimensions, and the
observed variables were the skills (see, e.g., Gorsuch 1983). While most skills had
significant factor loadings with their corresponding exercises, indicating high valid-
ity, many skills did not load on their corresponding skill dimension or were even
insignificant. However, this does not necessarily indicate a measurement error, as
assessment centers have repeatedlybeen found to lack construct validity across exer-
cises (see, e.g., Bycio etal. 1987; Jansen and Stoop 2001; Sackett and Dreher 1982).
For example, Archambeau (1979) found that skill-dimension ratings measured in
the same exercise correlated strongly and positively, while the same skill-dimension
ratings measured across exercises correlated far more modestly, and Neidig et al.
(1979) presented similar results (both cited in Gibbons and Rupp 2009). These find-
ings have led to a long and ongoing debate among HR researchers on the so-called
construct-related validity paradox (see, e.g., Arthur etal. 2000). We used a struc-
tured literature review to identify a consistent and valid set of skills, but these skills
were still diverse. For example, the skill dimension of Communication was measured
with skills such as writing, spelling, and grammar (i.e., written communication), as
well as clarity of speech and verbal ability (i.e., oral communication). However, a
good speaker is not necessarily a good writer, which may explain the results of our
3 In a Bayesian analysis, the significance level of parameter estimates is based on highest-density inter-
vals (HDIs). An HDI indicates which points of the posterior distribution are most credible (Kruschke
2014). Therefore, we consider values inside the HDI to be more credible than those that are outside the
HDI and use the following significance levels: ***99%, **95%, *90% when the HDI does not contain 0.
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Good gamers, good managers? Aproof-of-concept study with…
validity tests. In addition, for some of the skill dimensions, we could only measure
very few skills (Appendix3), so it is still a challenge for future research to collect
additional evidence on the relationship between gaming and managerial skills.
While our results are consistent with related work on inconsistency in assessment-
center ratings, the low construct validity may also result from poor assessment-
center design and implementation (Woehr and Arthur 2003). However, even though
the design of assessment centers is generally not straightforward (see, e.g., Bender
1973), we believe that our assessments were demonstrably thorough. Caldwell etal.
(2003) identified ten common assessment-center errors ranging from inadequate job
analysis to sloppy behavior documentation. To avoid these errors, our assessment-
center design followed established guidelines from the academic and professional
literature on personnel recruitment (e.g., Ballantyne and Povah 2004). In particu-
lar, ten principles established by the International Task Force on Assessment Center
Guidelines provided a framework for our assessments (Joiner 2000) (Appendix1).
Against this background, we are confident that our research takes an important step
toward clarifying the potential of strategy games such as Civilization in assessment.
8 Conclusions
Our study suggests that video games such as Civilization can be used to assess prob-
lem-solving skills and organizing-and-planning skills—skills that are highly rel-
evant for managerial professions. We thus conclude that collecting and analyzing
data from strategy video games can offer useful insights for profilers and recruit-
ers in the search for talent. A preliminary analysis of in-game data collected dur-
ing the multiplayer games further suggests that strategy games offer the opportu-
nity to assess other dimensions of managerial skill, including interpersonal skills.
Our future research will thus explore if and to what extent strategy games such as
Civilization can be used for stealth assessments, which collect and analyze gameplay
performance data in real time to draw conclusions about individuals’ management
Acknowledgements We thank all of the students who participated for their time and effort. We also
owe thanks to many of our colleagues at the University of Liechtenstein, especially Matthias Tietz for
a brilliant performance in the role-play exercise and for his support in evaluating the assessment-center
results; Roope Jaakonmäki for a terrific poster design and other help; Nicole Thöny and Sandra Beyer
for organizing rooms, catering, and the like; and Bernd Schenk and Jan vom Brocke for general project
support. This article is an extension and revision of a research-in-progress paper presented at the 36th
International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS 2015) in Fort Worth, Texas, and we thank the
anonymous ICIS reviewers for their constructive comments on our research (Simons etal. 2015). Finally,
we thank Martin Hibbeln from the University of Duisburg-Essen, Stephan Kramer from the Rotterdam
School of Management, Oliver Müller from Paderborn University, Jan Recker from the University of
Cologne, and Christoph Schneider from the IESE Business School for sharing their thoughts and ideas
with us.Any remaining errors are our own.
Funding The study was funded by the Liechtenstein National Research Fund (Grant No.wi-1-16) and
also received financial support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation pro-
gram under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement (Grant No. 645751).
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Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License,
which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as
you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Com-
mons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article
are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the
material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is
not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission
directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creat iveco mmons .org/licen
Appendix1: Assessment‑center design
We designed our assessment centers following established guidelines and proce-
dures from the professional and academic literature. The following ten principles,
established by the International Task Force on Assessment Center Guidelines, pro-
vided a framework for our assessments (Joiner 2000):
1. Job analysis held minor importance in our case, as we did not intend to evalu-
ate participants’ suitability for a specific job but focused on the assessment of
general managerial skills. Therefore, we used the dimensions of managerial skill
that are most commonly used in assessment centers (Arthur etal. 2003). In addi-
tion, either the exercises we selected did not require specific subject knowledge
or we adapted them to match our objectives.
2. Behavioral classification refers to determining which behavior is representative
of which type of managerial skill. For that purpose, Chen and Naquin (2006)
recommended developing a hierarchical competency system, which can be used
to categorize the skill dimensions, skills, and specific behaviors displayed by the
participants during the exercises (Joiner 2000). Our evaluation schemes were
designed accordingly, and the sample solutions, checklists, and criteria we used
described desirable and undesirable behavior at a detailed level.
3. The assessment techniques, that is, the exercises used for the assessment, must
allow the researcher to evaluate the defined skill dimensions (Joiner 2000).
Our assessments featured the most common types of exercises (see Spychalski
etal. 1997), which we borrowed from established academic and professional
textbooks (Appendix2). We also established a link between skill dimensions
and exercises by creating an exercise/competency matrix (Joiner 2000) (Tables5
and 6).
4. Multiple assessments refer to the use of several exercises to elicit a variety of
behaviors (Joiner 2000). We conducted a pre-test of our assessment techniques
(Caldwell etal. 2003) to ensure that they allowed us to collect objective and
reliable behavioral information in the defined skill dimensions (Joiner 2000).
We also used a broad spectrum of short exercises instead of only a few, similar
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Good gamers, good managers? Aproof-of-concept study with…
exercises that require a long time to complete (Thornton and Byham 1982),
and each skill dimension was assessed in several exercises (seeThornton and
Gibbons 2009).
5. Simulations like group exercises, in-basket exercises, interaction simulations,
presentations, and fact-finding exercises are an important element of assess-
ment centers, as they can be used to observe individuals’ behavioral responses
to job-related situational stimuli (Joiner 2000). Accordingly, all our exercises
provided simulations instead of simple evaluations of subject knowledge or
multiple-choice tests.
6. Multiple assessors must observe the applicants’ behavior and evaluate the per-
formance based on the defined skill dimensions (seeThornton and Gibbons
2009). Among other factors, the number of assessors required depends on the
types of exercises, the skill dimensions assessed, and the assessors’ experience
and training, but a typical ratio of subjects to assessors is two subjects to one
assessor (Joiner 2000). Accordingly, we used two assessors for each group of
four participants.
7. Assessor training includes behavioral-observation training and performance-
dimension training, the former of which helps to sensitize assessors and supports
note-taking, and the latter of which reduces the risk that performance is assessed
based on overall impressions instead of actual skills (Ballantyne and Povah
2004; Jackson etal. 2005). Our assessors received detailed instructions and,
even though they did not have psychology backgrounds, they were experienced
in evaluating students’ performance in terms of grading.
8. As to recording behavior, assessors should follow a systematic procedure and
record their impressions accurately at the time of observation based on, for
example, notes or checklists (Joiner 2000). Our assessors evaluated the partici-
pants’ performance in a systematic, replicable, and reliable manner. In addition,
they did not conduct their assessments during the participants’ work on the
exercises but did so afterward based on videos, which allowed for repeated and
more focused evaluations.
9. Assessors should also create reports of their observations before the aggregation
discussion or statistical aggregation (Joiner 2000). Our integration approach did
not involve discussions between assessors but followed a purely quantitative
model, and inter-rater reliability was high (Appendix4). Still, our assessors
took detailed notes to justify their assessments for each exercise.
10. There are various approaches to data integration. Thornton and Rupp (2006)
distinguished five methods of integrating assessment-center observations and
ratings, from the purely judgmental to the purely statistical. As we wanted to
increase replicabilityand objectivity, we applied a purely statistical aggregation
approach that was based on equal weightings for calculating the skill-dimension
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A.Simons et al.
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Appendix2: Exercises
Our assessments featured the most common types of assessment-center exercises:
presentations, in-basket exercises, case studies, role plays, and group discussions
(see Spychalski et al. 1997). The case-study exercise was originally designed by
Stärk (2011), the presentation exercise by Eck etal. (2007), the role-play exercise by
Siewert (2004), the in-basket exercise by Obermann (2013), and the group discus-
sion by Kleinmann (2013).
The case-study exercise dealt with location planning in the cinema industry. Par-
ticipants stepped into the role of the head of the marketing department for a movie-
house chain that, given the wide diffusion of home-theater systems and streaming
services, has experienced a sharp fall in revenues. Participants were provided with
detailed information about the chain’s theatres, including organization charts, reve-
nues, debts, visitors, showroom sizes, food/drink offerings, and technical equipment.
The participants’ assignment was to provide a written statement on the chain’s loca-
tion policy on behalf of the top management and to justify their recommendations
on whether to close some of the chain’s theatres and to develop strategies on how
to run the other theatres in the future. Participants had 45min to prepare this state-
ment. Some of the information they were provided, which included a detailed glos-
sary, was not necessarily required to complete the assignment successfully, so the
search for useful information was part of the challenge in this exercise.
In the presentation exercise, participants were put into a fictitious job-application
situation. A short description explained their future tasks in the company (e.g., mar-
ket research, business analyses, customer support) and the job requirements (e.g.,
flexibility, commitment, social competence). They had to apply for the job using a
5-min presentation to the assessors, who represented the company’s board of direc-
tors. The assessors did not ask questions during or after the presentations.
The role-play exercise put participants in the situation of a middle manager who
is working for a company in the satellite-reception industry and observes employees
celebrating with a glass of sparkling wine during work time. The participant was
told that one of the employees, who was described as committed, loyal, and popular
among colleagues, worked in the participant’s department. The company had a strict
anti-alcohol policy that established alcohol consumption as a reason for termina-
tion, so the employee was ordered to attend a meeting with the participant/manager,
which set the stage for the role play. The purpose and content of this meeting, which
took 10min, were not fixed, so participants could either decide to fire the employee
or to risk conflict with top management. A Ph.D. student from our department took
the role of the employee and was provided with a script on how to react based on
the participant’s arguments. For example, he argued either that they had only cel-
ebrated the successful completion of an advanced training course, which he took
for the good of the company, or that there was alcohol at the company’s last Christ-
mas party and other events. If the participant decided to fire him, he acted shocked
and said he had heard that the other employees with whom he celebrated had not
been fired by the other department heads. If the participant decided to not fire him,
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Good gamers, good managers? Aproof-of-concept study with…
he acted relieved and said that the employees from the other departments had been
The in-basket exercise put participants in the situation of a middle manager of a
cleaning company who had just returned from a holiday. Participants were provided
with a short description of the company, including an organization chart, and with
their assignment, which was to read and process sixteen e-mails, several of which
were related and required immediate action. Participants had 30 min to read the
e-mails and prepare and take notes, and another 60min to answer as many of the
e-mails as possible. To facilitate preparation and note-taking, we provided writing
materials and print versions of the e-mails, but the participants answered the e-mails
on laptops on which we had pre-installed standardized pdf templates that mimicked
an e-mail software. Participants had to justify their decisions in the broader context
of the company and, as time was an issue in this exercise, to explain how they prior-
itized the e-mails, for which the templates provided additional space.
Finally, in the group discussion, participants were put into a board meeting of
a Swiss bank that was recruiting a manager for a new business unit that would be
responsible for asset and securities management. They were provided with back-
ground information on the bank and on the job requirements, including the required
practical experiences, language skills, and academic records. The participants
received short CVs from eight short-listed applicants and were asked to review the
materials and take notes independently before deciding collectively on one of the
applicants. This assignment was a challenge, as the background information on the
job requirements with which they were provided differed among them. During the
group discussion, which took 30min, they had to rule out the candidates one by
one. Their assignment was all the more challenging because they were not allowed
to review the background information during the discussion but only the notes they
took during the preparation period, and because only one of the applicants fulfilled
all of the requirements.
Appendix3: Exercises, skill dimensions, andskills
Table 5 shows the exercise/competency matrix we created to establish a link
between the skill dimensions, the more measurable and specific skills, and the exer-
cises. Table6 provides descriptions and references for each skill we assessed.
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A.Simons et al.
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Table 5 Exercise/competency matrix
Skill dimensions Skills Exercises
Presentation Role play Case study In-basket
Awareness of others Open communication x
Interpersonal sensi-
Team work x
Perception of social
Team building x
Communication Active listening x
Clarity of speech x
Spelling and gram-
Verbal ability x
Writing style x
Drive Results orientation x x
Initiative x
Influencing others Leadership x
Persuasiveness x x
Organizing and plan-
Coaching x
Delegation x
Strategic thinking x
Planning and sched-
x x
Structuring and
Time sensitivity x
Problem-solving Solution finding x
Decisiveness x
Problem analysis x x
Fact finding x x
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Table 6 Skill dimensions and skills
Skill dimensions Skills Description Exemplary references
Awareness of others Open communication The ability to foster open communication and encourage others to share their ideas
and concerns
Arthur etal. (2003)
Interpersonal sensitivity The ability to show consideration for the situations of subordinates Lievens (1999)
Team work The ability to cooperate and work well with others in pursuit of common goals Lievens etal. (2003)
Organizational orientation The ability to recognize the impact of decisions on other components of an organiza-
Thornton and Byham (1982)
Perception of social cues The ability to recognize indirect hints in the environment as required on the job Russell and Domm (1995)
Team building The ability to develop supportive relationships with team members and to create a
team spirit
Lievens etal. (2003)
Communication Active listening The ability to use facial expressions and body language to show that one is listening Lievens (1999)
Clarity of speech The ability to speak grammatically correctly and to use appropriate verbal language Jackson etal. (2005)
Spelling and grammar The ability to write grammatically correctly and to use appropriate written language Thornton and Byham (1982)
Verbal ability The ability to speak clearly, fluently, and at an appropriate volume and pace Lievens etal. (2003)
Writing style The ability to convey and interpret information and express ideas through written
Love and DeArmond (2007)
Drive Results orientation The ability to show commitment to achieving high quality in work performance and
reaching goals
Goffin etal. (1996)
Initiative The ability to influence events actively rather than passively and to take action to
achieve goals
Thornton and Byham (1982)
Influencing others Leadership The ability to guide others towards task accomplishment and/or achievement of
Love and DeArmond (2007)
Persuasiveness The ability to obtain agreement or acceptance and to persuade or influence others Rupp etal. (2003), as cited
in Thornton and Rupp
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A.Simons et al.
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Table 6 (continued)
Skill dimensions Skills Description Exemplary references
Organizing and planning Coaching The ability to guide and help subordinates to develop, and facilitate their profes-
sional growth
Goffin etal. (1996)
Delegation The ability to allocate tasks, decisions, and other responsibilities to appropriate
Thornton and Byham (1982)
Strategic thinking The ability to think strategically, holistically, and long term about decisions Ulrich (1987)
Planning and scheduling The ability to set goals and priorities and to identify and initiate goal-relevant
Goffin etal. (1996)
Structuring and organizing The ability to arrange ideas and organize information in a systematic manner Love and DeArmond (2007)
Time sensitivity The ability to recognize time limitations of situations and to accomplish tasks within
these limits
Ross and Wolter (1998)
Problem-solving Solution finding The ability to identify a problem situation and formulate alternative ways to solve a
Love and DeArmond (2007)
Decisiveness The ability and readiness to make decisions, render judgments, and take action Thornton and Byham (1982)
Problem analysis The ability to find the underlying causes of problems Lievens (1999)
Fact finding The ability to look for information and toidentify the advantages and disadvantages
of available options
Lievens (1999)
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Appendix4: Inter‑rater reliability
As the rating scales were ordinal, we measured the assessors’ level of agreement
using Kendall’s coefficient of concordance. As Table 7 shows, all coefficients of
concordance were significant, so inter-rater reliability was generally high.
Table 7 Kendall’s coefficient of
a For the in-basket exercise, we used a detailed and comprehensive
checklist of yes-or-no questions for each e-mail. Since the rating was
straightforward and did not require subjective judgment, we did not
calculate measures of inter-rater reliability for this exercise
ExerciseaSkills W p
Case study Fact finding .944 .001
Planning and scheduling .930 .001
Problem analysis .919 .001
Spelling and grammar .954 .001
Strategic thinking .930 .001
Structuring and organizing .930 .001
Writing style .936 .001
Group discussion Active listening .909 .001
Initiative .955 .001
Fact finding .962 .000
Persuasiveness .952 .001
Results orientation .912 .001
Team building .906 .001
Team work .886 .002
Presentation Clarity of speech .936 .001
Time sensitivity .956 .001
Verbal ability .919 .001
Role play Interpersonal sensitivity .958 .000
Open communication .963 .000
Persuasiveness .951 .001
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AlexanderSimons1· IsabellWohlgenannt1· MarkusWeinmann2·
Isabell Wohlgenannt
Markus Weinmann
Stefan Fleischer
1 Department ofInformation Systems, University ofLiechtenstein, Fuerst-Franz-Josef-Strasse,
9490Vaduz, PrincipalityofLiechtenstein
2 Rotterdam School ofManagement, Erasmus University, Burgemeester Oudlaan 50,
3062PARotterdam, TheNetherlands
3 European Research Center forInformation Systems (ERCIS), University ofMünster,
Leonardo-Campus 3, 48149Münster, Germany
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... There is already a range of research investigating how playing online video games affords the development and strengthening of soft skills, including problem solving, spatial ability, risk management, and team-working (Prensky, 2012;Shute et al., 2015;Simons et al., 2021). Furthermore, other studies have shown that online gaming can elicit emotional and behavioural engagement from gamers (Adeyemi et al., 2021;Lim et al., 2020;Peters et al., 2018;Sabourin & Lester, 2014). ...
... In the multiplayer mode, players interact and trade with other players of Civilisation. The study found that the students with higher scores on the game had better problem-solving, organising, and planning skills than those with lower scores (Simons et al., 2021). These students who did well in this gameplay may probably be in manager or engineer-type roles that reflect these skills, which will reflect their discipline. ...
... Engineers played the strategy game (e.g., Sid Meier's Civilisation), where the player builds a civilisation from scratch. It is a highly complex game requiring critical thinking, leading to increased problem-solving, organising, and planning skills (Simons et al., 2021). ...
Full-text available
Background Online gaming motivations are differently associated with career interests. However, very little is known about online gaming behaviour based on the actual games played and how career interests are reflected in what people play. Hence, we investigated the actual gaming behaviour of individuals from an extensive secondary data set to further support gamers’ future career planning and professional training. Methods The study comprised 16,033 participants playing a different number of games on Steam. Our study was based on the 800 most played games only and included participants where we had access to gender and job details. We employed a secondary data analysis approach by using an existing data set (O’Neill et al., 2016), looking into the actual gaming behaviour of Steam users and additional administrative data (i.e., job details and gender) provided by Game Academy Limited. We used logistic regression on the participants’ top ten games, allowing us to investigate any possible associations between different professions, gender, and the games played. Results We found that IT professionals and engineers played puzzle-platform games, allowing for enhanced spatial skills. Managers showed an interest in action roleplay games where organisational and planning skills can be improved. Finally, engineers were associated with strategy games that required problem-solving and spatial skills. There were apparent gender differences too: females preferred playing single-player games, whereas males played shooting games. Conclusion Our study found that online gaming behaviour varied between different job categories, allowing the participants to gain different soft skills. The soft skills gained could assist gamers with training that leads to a particular career path. The reasons for these findings and suggestions for future research will be discussed.
... In the first example, Sid Meier's Civilization VI is the best example [6][7]. This is a game in which players play the leaders of various civilizations, starting from the Stone Age, and eventually becoming the most successful civilization on earth through diplomacy, war, scientific research and development. ...
... Gothic architecture is an example of the development of flying buttresses, in which the lateral thrust of the walls is transmitted through half-arch columns to columns or window partitions, resulting in thinner and taller walls. [6] and Hagia Sophia is indeed a famous Gothic building in the Middle Ages. [7]. ...
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There are many different types of games on the market, such as AAA games that focus on commercial profits, independent games that express the ideas of some producers, experimental games for the purpose of exploration, and the rare enlightenment games for education or interest enlightenment game. Enlightenment games are very important for a person's interest enlightenment or for children's basic education because they provide a relatively simple and easy-to-accept way for users to acquire knowledge in new areas. The purpose of this article is to summarize existing educationally inspired games and summarize their strengths and weaknesses. This article outlines a comparison of positive feedback in video games and educational games, a professional survey of educational games, and the impact of educational games on players. As well as investigating the professionalism of the game and its impact on people. In the future, educational enlightenment games can replace some simpler enlightenment education or experience some areas that have never been experienced before.
... Para esta investigación se utilizó el juego Sid Meier's Civilization VI como herramienta de assessment para poder medir la efectividad en los procesos de elección de profesionales en puestos de gerencia (Simons et al., 2020). ...
... Las distintas mecánicas de los juegos de estrategia como Civilization VI pueden ser un indicativo de ciertas características analíticas de los individuos como son la organización, el planeamiento y la toma de decisiones, así como también de ciertos atributos como negociación y comunicación interpersonal (Arthur et al., 2003). Simons et al. (2020) comparan el uso del videojuego junto con los resultados de pruebas y entrevistas de assessments realizadas por expertos, denotando que los resultados de los participantes con mejores puntajes se correlacionaban con los resultados de las pruebas de assessments realizadas por profesionales, indicando la pertinencia del uso de este videojuego como herramienta que complementa el proceso de contratación de personal calificado para posiciones gerenciales. ...
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Los videojuegos son productos digitales que se vienen aplicando en diversos contextos que no son necesariamente lúdicos dado que contienen características que permiten la mejora de diversas habilidades de parte de los videojugadores. En el presente artículo se realiza una revisión de las tendencias en la aplicación de videojuegos en la industria y en la educación, tomando como marco el modelo MDA (Mechanics, Dynamics y Aesthetics), así como se revisan algunas definiciones de conceptos necesarios para el entendimiento y análisis de estos productos digitales. Al final, se concluye en la impor­tancia de los videojuegos por su capacidad de generar motivación y enfoque, por lo que su aplicación en entornos distintos a los de entretenimiento generaría muchos beneficios.
... problem-solving skills (Shute et al. 2016); massively multiplayer online role-playing games like World of Warcraft and EVE Online to assess leadership skills (Lisk et al. 2012); strategy video games like Sid Meier's Civilization to assess managerial skills like organizing and planning (Simons et al. 2021); learning video games like Physics Playground to assess creativity (Shute and Rahimi 2021); and Xbox Kinect video games like Just Dance or Table Tennis to assess elderly people's driving skills (Vichitvanichphong et al. 2016). In addition, while researchers have long studied the negative effects of video games, such as addiction or aggression, they have recently turned to possible positive outcomes and provided arguments for video games' ability not only to indicate but also to develop professional skills. ...
Full-text available
Several studies have shown that video games may indicate or even develop intellectual and cognitive abilities. As intelligence is one of the most widely used predictors of job performance, video games could thus have potential for personnel assessment. However, few studies have investigated whether and how virtual reality (VR) games can be used to make inferences about intelligence, even though companies increasingly use VR technology to recruit candidates. This proof-of-concept study contributes to bridging this gap between research and practice. Under controlled laboratory conditions, 103 participants played the commercial VR game Job Simulator and took the short version of the intelligence test BIS-4. Correlation and regression analysis reveal that, on average, participants who completed the game more quickly than others had higher levels of general intelligence and processing capacity, suggesting that VR games may provide useful supplementary tools in the prediction of job performance. Still, our results also indicate that game-based assessments have limitations that deserve researchers’ attention, which lead us to discuss directions for future research.
... Using the popular computer-mediated strategy game Civilization, a study suggests that higher performance in the game was related to greater problem-solving, organization, and planning skills. Consequently, although the factual knowledge conveyed in the game may be of limited use in a corporate context, observing players' interaction in the game may serve as an instrument for personnel assessment [56]. ...
Full-text available
The digital transformation of production (“Industry 4.0”) has the potential to enormously accelerate and improve the efficiency of manufacturing processes and value chains. But it also entails recruiting new employees, as well as re- and upskilling current employees of diverse ages groups for new and increasingly more complex tasks to manage increasingly more complex information. In this article we present an overview and meta perspective on serious games as a human-centric methodology. We discuss how these can contribute to 1) learning how operators react to complex situations and how they deal with incomplete, uncertain, or fuzzy information, 2) understanding how operators of production systems and production networks can be supported by human-centric industrial user interfaces, and 3) enable operators to act appropriately in complex and dynamic cyber-physical production systems. We present an actionable adaptable iterative process model for designing serious games and exemplify this model using a supply chain and quality management serious game. Further, we present empirical studies that illustrate the application of the model and suggest the utility of serious games as a learning environment to evaluate industrial user interfaces, and to investigate human behavior in complex production environments. As such, we propose serious games as a versatile methodology to facilitate transitioning from Industry 4.0 (data-driven and interconnected) to Industry 5.0 (humane work and sustainability).
... One paper focused on employer branding by utilizing serious games [21], which raises the company's cultural fit in the game and reality. In a similar direction goes the paper by Simons et al. [22] concerning the link between gamers and managers. They researched Civilization players and identified that good players were better in problem-solving and planning than worse players. ...
... In either case, professional players are signed by esport organizations. For example, TSM and Cloud9 are currently the two most valued esport organizations that contract competitive players (Settimi, 2020). These organizations are privately owned. ...
Full-text available
Esport-or competitive video gaming-is on the rise as events attract millions of viewers. Prior literature presents a vivid debate about esport. Proponents highlight esport for two reasons: First, as a means to self-actualization and satisfaction through a desire to win and a preference for difficult tasks. Second, for its entertainment and value creation. Adversaries do not acknowledge esport as an official sport for intellectual property concerns and possible addiction. Information systems can contribute to the debate on this digitally-enabled phenomenon that crosses multiple fields of research. Based on a review of the esport ecosystem and the current state-of-the-art in research, the article proposes an esport research agenda for information systems research.
... Studies have shown that games entertain, instruct, change attitudes and enable skills development. Studies successfully correlating participants' previous gameplay experiences to related real-life skills, e.g., reaction games and driving skills (Vichitvanichphong et al. 2016) and strategy games with management skills (Simons et al. 2020), supported this finding. ...
Full-text available
Municipal waste sorting is an important but neglected topic within sustainability-oriented Information Systems research. Most waste management systems depend on the quality of their citizens pre-sorting but lack teaching resources. Thus, it is important to raise awareness and knowledge on correct waste sorting to strengthen current efforts. Having shown promising results in raising learning outcomes and motivation in domains like health and economics, gamification is an auspicious approach to address this problem. The paper explores the effectiveness of gameful design on learning outcomes of waste sorting knowledge with a mobile game app that implements two different learning strategies: repetition and elaboration. In a laboratory experiment, the overall learning outcome of participants who trained with the game was compared to that of participants who trained with standard analogue non-game materials. Furthermore, the effects of two additional, learning-enhancing design elements – repetition and look-up – were analyzed. Learning outcome in terms of long-term retention and knowledge transfer were evaluated through three different testing measures two weeks after the training: in-game, through a multiple-choice test and real-life sorting. The results show that the game significantly enhanced the learning outcome of waste sorting knowledge for all measures, which is particularly remarkable for the real-life measure, as similar studies were not successful with regard to knowledge transfer to real life. Furthermore, look-up is found to be a promising game design element that is not yet established in IS literature and therefore should be considered more thoroughly in future research and practical implementations alike.
... Se destaca la evaluación del disfrute en Educación Física (9,09 %), del rendimiento en Fisioterapia y Nutrición (13,33 %) y de la satisfacción en Informática (8,70 %). En Simons et al. (2021) implantaron en el aula un juego serio que mejoró el rendimiento, destacando que tenían más habilidades los que tenían una mayor experiencia en el entorno digital y en videojuegos. El modelo TETEM propone dos características clave que pueden afectar a la eficacia de la experiencia ludificada en el sujeto: la actitud y la experiencia con los videojuegos, puesto que supuestamente predicen la reacción del sujeto a la experiencia gamificada. ...
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La evaluación de los procesos de gamificación en educación, pueden plantear una alternativa a las estrategias de evaluación tradicionales del aula. Esta revisión sistemática analiza cómo se han evaluado las diferentes propuestas de gamificación en diferentes áreas de conocimiento como ciencias de la salud, ciencias exactas, ciencias sociales y humanidades. Se identificaron ochenta y cinco estudios significativos a través de una búsqueda en ISI Web Of Science y SCOPUS. En esta revisión sistemática se siguieron los criterios establecidos en la declaración PRISMA 2020. La gamificación ha sido evaluada en cuatro áreas de conocimiento distribuidas en siete disciplinas: Educación Física, Fisioterapia y Nutrición, Matemáticas, Física y Química, Informática, Ciencias Sociales, Ciencias Naturales y Lingüística, siendo diferentes los procesos e instrumentos de evaluación que se han empleado en su implantación. Se señalan los resultados sobre la producción científica, analizando las características de las propuestas gamificadas, el diseño, método y corte de investigación empleado, los resultados motivacionales y de aprendizaje, así como la calidad de la producción científica en cada disciplina educativa mediante la Escala de Evaluación de Artículos Científicos (EACSH) de López et al. (2019). La escala está compuesta por diecinueve criterios de evaluación concretados en ocho dimensiones: resumen, introducción, metodología, resultados, discusión, referencias, apéndices, estilo y formato. Se concluye que las variables psicológicas que más se evaluaron en las propuestas gamificadas fueron el aprendizaje y la motivación, siendo todos los resultados positivos. Por otro lado, se establecieron correlaciones significativas entre los instrumentos de evaluación y la mejora de alguna variable psicológica: grupos de reflexión y participación, cuestionarios y motivación, entrevistas y atención, test de evaluación y rendimiento, y encuestas para mejorar la satisfacción. Se analizan y discuten los resultados en cada una de las siete disciplinas estudiadas.
Intelligence is one of the most important psychological constructs and influences many decisions. Unsurprisingly, a large number of measurement instruments are available. However, conceptual development related to intelligence has been stagnant for many years despite recent technological trends that would enable new approaches to assessing human intelligence. One such approach would be to develop intelligence tests in virtual-reality scenarios, enabling researchers to observe how people interact with problems to solve them. Furthermore, artificial intelligence and machine learning could be used to gain even more insights from test data or use data arising from people's everyday lives to predict intelligence. Endeavors to assess intelligence without tests may eventually also lead to approaches using physiological variables related to the brain to make predictions. This article proposes several visions of plausible future developments in intelligence assessment over the coming decades and examines potential problems that might arise with these new methods.
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Many organizations may be missing candidates with the competencies needed for a digital workforce because they don't consider the skills gained through non-work activities, such as online gaming. Organizations should therefore encourage applicants to share their online gaming experiences on their résumés and during job interviews. Based on interactions with corporate recruiters, career support personnel and online gamers, this article explains how and why organizations should consider applicants' online gaming experiences in their hiring processes.
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Serious games are increasingly being explored for use as assessment tools in broad domains. Drawing from research in these domains, we present important advantages and challenges that arise when using games for assessment. In light of this context and as an introduction to this special issue on Serious Games and Assessments, we introduce the experts’ contributions on using games for processes integrating agile game development approaches with psychometric validation processes and designing and developing games for formative assessments.
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Hundreds of millions of people play intellectually-demanding video games every day. What does individual performance on these games tell us about cognition? Here, we describe two studies that examine the potential link between intelligence and performance in one of the most popular video games genres in the world (Multiplayer Online Battle Arenas: MOBAs). In the first study, we show that performance in the popular MOBA League of Legends’ correlates with fluid intelligence as measured under controlled laboratory conditions. In the second study, we also show that the age profile of performance in the two most widely-played MOBAs (League of Legends and DOTA II) matches that of raw fluid intelligence. We discuss and extend previous videogame literature on intelligence and videogames and suggest that commercial video games can be useful as 'proxy' tests of cognitive performance at a global population level.
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The rate of technological change is quickly outpacing today's methods for understanding how new advancements are applied within industrial-organizational (I-O) psychology. To further complicate matters, specific attempts to explain observed differences or measurement equivalence across devices are often atheoretical or fail to explain why a technology should (or should not) affect the measured construct. As a typical example, understanding how technology influences construct measurement in personnel testing and assessment is critical for explaining or predicting other practical issues such as accessibility, security, and scoring. Therefore, theory development is needed to guide research hypotheses, manage expectations, and address these issues at this intersection of technology and I-O psychology. This article is an extension of a Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP) 2016 panel session, which (re)introduces conceptual frameworks that can help explain how and why measurement equivalence or nonequivalence is observed in the context of selection and assessment. We outline three potential conceptual frameworks as candidates for further research, evaluation, and application, and argue for a similar conceptual approach for explaining how technology may influence other psychological phenomena.
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This study measured the effects of playing commercial video games on the development of the desirable skills and competences sometimes referred to as ‘graduate attributes’. Undergraduate students in the Arts and Humanities were randomly assigned to either an intervention or a control group. Previously validated, self-report instruments to measure adaptability, resourcefulness and communication skill were administered to both groups. The intervention group played specified video games under controlled conditions over an eight week period. A large effect size was observed with mean score change 1.1, 1.15, and 0.9 standard deviations more positive in the intervention group than the control on the communication, adaptability, and resourcefulness scales respectively (p = 0.004, p = 0.002, and p = 0.013 for differences in groups by unpaired t-test). The large effect size and statistical significance of these results support the hypothesis that playing video games can improve self-reported graduate skills. The findings suggest that such game-based learning interventions have a role to play in higher education.
In this chapter, we describe the importance of assessing and developing conscientiousness in students and how we are approaching this challenge. After discussing the benefits conscientiousness has for learning, we describe the process we are using to create a valid stealth assessment of conscientiousness. We then discuss the current state of this work and suggest next steps and areas of future research around conscientiousness. Finally, we broaden our scope to discuss the strengths and limitations of using stealth assessment to measure noncognitive competencies, as well as give some recommendations to help others use this approach. Our hope is that this chapter will demonstrate both (a) the importance and complexity of conscientiousness measurement in educational settings, and (b) a general process for thinking about and designing assessments for noncognitive competencies.