Gamers can learn us to simplify the world of resistance. According to them, someone who is acting resistant is either a killer or an achiever.
In this week’s post I am returning to Richard Bartle’s player types that have emerged from research on gamers since the 1980′s. Why? Because it contains an insight on managing resistance that is essential for organizational change practitioners.
Bartle identifies four player types – Achievers, Explorers, Socializers, and Killers.
- Achievers will go to great lengths to achieve rewards that confer them little or no gameplay benefit simply for the prestige of having it.
- Explorers are playing for the social credit of having discovered something. They find great joy in discovering an unknown glitch or a hidden easter egg.
- Socializers are probably the biggest group making up about 80% of the population. According to Gabe Zicherman they are after ‘light-weight, non-confrontational easy-to-reciprocate social interactions with other people’. The game is merely a tool they use to meet others in-game or outside of it.
- Killers thrive on competition with other players in order to win at their expense.
As organizational change practitioners we can go great lengths to describe what resistance is and how we should manage it. Unfortunately we tend to get lost in analysis paralysis. Bartle’s typology shows us how resistance occurs in gaming-like interaction. It tells us that there is a difference between killers and achievers. As simple as it may seem, it’s something we tend to overlook whenever we categorize a behavior as resistance.
So apart from suspecting yourself first – something we must do whenever we feel ‘being resisted upon’ – there is a second question we can ask:
Is this person acting out of a desire to achieve something or rather out of a desire to kill?
The answer to this question will largely determine whether your effort, time and money will be spent on ‘damage prevention’ or rather on ‘relationship building’. The lesson – in the end – is always the same: play more video games!