Studies on video games are no uncommon thing, and a recent example from Brigham Young University (BYU) shows that newly-formed work teams experienced a 20% boost in productivity after playing games together for 45 minutes.
The full study is published in AIS Transactions on Human-Computer Interaction, and recruited 352 individuals before randomly organising them into 80 teams with no pre-existing relationships. They were then tasked with a geocaching competition called Findamine where they had to follow text-based clues to find landmarks, having cash incentives at the end of it all.
Following this first round teams were sent off to either play video games together, have quiet homework time, or engage in a 'goal training' discussion, each of which lasted 45 minutes. Rock Band and Halo 4 were the choices of video games, chosen because they're both "familiar" and require coordination between players.
While the 'goal training' group reported a higher increase in team cohesion over the gaming teams, the latter increased performance in their second round of Findamine, raising scores from 435 to 520.
"To see that big of a jump — especially for the amount of time they played — was a little shocking," said co-author and BYU associate professor Greg Anderson. "Companies are spending thousands and thousands of dollars on team-building activities, and I'm thinking, go buy an Xbox."
"Team video gaming may truly be a viable — and perhaps even optimal — alternative for team building," added lead researcher Mark Keith, associate professor of information systems at BYU.
The researchers also add that players don't have to be dedicated gamers to see the benefits, as novices quickly built working relationships and increased communication to learn the games with their colleagues.
One caveat that was added though is that this was done with teams who didn't know each other, and BYU adds that if team members are already familiar with one another then competitive gaming may actually reinforce biases and negative relationships that existed before.
Members of BYU are now examining the varying level of influence that competitive and non-competitive games can have on team building.
What games would you play to increase team building? We've included some examples down below.
Thanks, The Inquisitr.