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How Game of Thrones leaders can teach us a thing or two about management

How Game of Thrones leaders can teach us a thing or two about management

  • Date26 August 2022

What kind of manager would Jon Snow be in the office and how would having Daenerys Targaryen, Mother of Dragons, be as a leader for employees?

Games of Thrones image

A newly published book demonstrates how the skills of the Game of Thrones characters could help those in real life lead their teams to success.

Fans of the ever-popular TV show and its prequel, House of the Dragon, can discover which leader they are by reading the new book, ‘Management Lessons from Game of Thrones’ by Professor Fiona Moore, from the School of Business and Management at Royal Holloway, University of London, and finding out which character they take after by taking this quiz.

The book explores aspects of Westerosi society and politics whilst revealing how management theory influenced the world-building in the Game of Thrones franchise. It also outlines how students, academics and managers can draw on the series to further enhance their understanding of concepts in human resource management and organisation theory.

The Battle of Winterfell, for instance, provides many good examples of management failure: an unwillingness to delegate authority, a poor chain of communication, a lack of a system for operating on multiple levels a lack of flexibility and a failure to leverage organisational assets (for example, shutting Tyrion and Sansa, the two best strategic minds in the castle, in the crypt for the duration of the fight). It’s only the rare exceptions to those problems that allow the battle to be won.

For another, the Night’s Watch provides an excellent case study of how human resource management happens in any organisation. They recruit according to their specific organisational needs (people with the skills and morals to fight White Walkers), they provide a generous benefits package (training and medical services that most people in Westeros never experience), they have a clear pathway to promotion, and they’re even facing the same sort of understaffing issues that HR managers are currently facing post-pandemic. 

Professor Fiona Moore said: “Whilst you won’t be managing people with a dragon or direwolf by your side, my book looks at the fascinating ways the skills of the characters of the Game of Thrones leaders can teach us about business and management in the real world.

“By exploring how Jon Snow became a reluctant leader which everyone admired and respected, regardless if they were on the same side, to the rising of the underdog which many people may have underestimated, such as Tyrion Lannister, the book has it all. 

“You don’t even have to be a fan of the show to gain insight from the book, as it has something for everyone who is leading, or thinking of, leading a team.”

‘Management Lessons from Game of Thrones’ by Professor Fiona Moore is published by Edward Elgar Publishing.

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