Corporate Elitism :: The Pros and Cons

It is always the most active members that set the stage for a corporation’s successes or failures.  These people determine the norms, both culturally and in terms of formal rules, and they are far more important than the transient group of casual players who often hop from one opportunity to the other.

Because no two humans are exactly alike, no two organizations can ever be truly identical in the truest sense. However, that doesn’t mean that there are not similarities between corporate “cultures” that can often be summed up in ways that make generalizations possible.

One of the most common self-proclaimed corporate descriptions is possessing many “elite pilots.” While it may be true in some cases, many times the supposed elite status of a corp is greatly over-stated.

In many cases, what we have in a particular corp is not so much an “elite” force, but a culture of eliteISM (and didn’t your postmodern philosophy professor at the 50k/year undergraduate program tell you to be suspicious those pesky -ism’s?).

Corporate elitism (in the context of Eve) is the belief that one’s organization is “better” than the average corp, or ‘maybe even the best in New Eden!’ This belief can lead both to excellence in conduct, which is a positive thing, and/or to some very detrimental psycho-social problems.

PROS of Corporate Elitism

I strongly believe that if you demand excellence and provide strong criticism to those that foul up, you will lose out a few good pilots with weak stomachs, but mostly you remove people who lack the potential or correct attitude to get better.

I have met countless people who think they know everything but perform absolutely horrendously before eventually getting kicked. Excessive e-peen is perhaps the single worst obstacle for combat pilots trying to improve their skills.

How DARE you tell me not to fit plates on a drake!

Sometimes it rubs people the wrong way, but if you’re in a corp where there are constantly groups asking to merge-in, there isn’t really any reason NOT to be picky about people’s choices.

Elitism can also foster a high standard that members aspire to, as well as high-level theory and discussions of how to improve tactics, fittings or fleet composition. These are all critical to the success of a corp and its alliance (if associated with any).

Elite pilots are also among the most helpful because they actually have useful things to teach. For example, it’s much easier to learn about de-cloaking on gates, cycling weapons in lag, how to fly a dictor in large fleet fights, or combat probing from other people than just browsing a Wiki page.

Handled properly, having pride in one’s corp and pursuing excellence is a good thing, especially if your corp-mates are actually as good as they think they are and are willing to pass along the knowledge to their brothers in arms.

CONS of Corporate Elitism

Despite the obvious advantages, a culture of elitism can have some serious drawbacks for a corp. The bigger the egos, the easier it is for small disputes to lead to explosions.

One of the biggest ways this can happen is through blame-shifting. When no one has humility, it’s impossible to apologize for mistakes and move forward. Typically these arguments are most common at the top-leadership level.

Another problem that occurs commonly in corps with a culture of elitism is that the expert pilots can easily go down the road of being unwilling to tolerate the presence of noobs in their fleets, leading to division and/or refusal to run important corp-wide operations.

Sometimes elitists go beyond being helpful..

Corps within corps are never good, and often this leads to a mass-exodus. When players leave a corp they can do a large amount of damage, both in terms of isk and your corp’s reputation.

Even if they stay and make good-faith attempts to help new players, sometimes criticism is simply not constructive. “What the fuck were you thinking?” “Holy shit this is a terrible fit.” Both are not constructive, regardless of whether or not they hold any truth.

It’s always better to explain mistakes and try to correct them – up to a point – beyond which some members are better of just being kicked.

Still, if you aren’t going to kick someone, you might do well to keep in mind that you have to fly with them again in the future and there are limits to what is appropriate.

Conclusion

Contrary to a great deal of evidence to the contrary, I believe that no one wants to be in a terrible corp full of terrible players. Even if a corp looks terrible from the outside, the members within don’t feel that way or they wouldn’t be there.

Even the alliances that seemingly embrace a swarm mentality have a secret belief that their sworn enemies are un-ironically even worse in some ways. It’s human nature to believe you can do things as well or better than anyone else “if you really wanted to.”

However, cracking down too hard on players who make mistakes can be counter-productive.

The problems arise when the honest desire to improve a corp causes the most important members to burn-out or otherwise start to resent others within the organization.

Elitism is beneficial as long as the active members are having fun. As soon as they feel burdened by the corp, rather than proud of it, those elitists will become ticking time-bombs.

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14 Responses to “Corporate Elitism :: The Pros and Cons”

  1. Ah the elitists of eve where would we be without there blabbering bullshit!
    There’s those that do and those that talk about it.
    A good Corp will get rid of the latter one way or another!

    • I’m not sure those are two different kinds of people. The people with huge stats and really high activity in-game are often among the most prolific posters on sites like SHC and their respective alliance forums. Especially where fitting discussions are taking place.

      • True, but there’s also alot of guys that are masters of this game that never openly/publicly discuss anything.
        There are simply too many types of person in this world unless one generalizes, imo, I believe your description of elitism to be corrosive.

  2. confirming im “elite”

  3. Elitism is stupid, because in New Eden it’s about acting together to have success. If a pilot is good and teaches his experience to others, he will be an asset to the corp. If a pilot is good and expresses his elitism all the time, he is a social retard and should be kicked.

    Leadership is something about setting standards and give pilots a lead to reach them. And the leadership has to check that the methods to level up every pilot is working.

    Elitism is about egomania, but never to search the way to be better than others.

    • I’m not sure if it’s “stupid.” You seem to agree that cultural elitism can benefit a corp when newer / less talented pilots are forced to learn from the best around.

      Most online games are full of people with huge egos. Eve is no exception.

      The question is when elitism goes from being a good thing for a corp to a bad thing.

      • Name it not elitism. Name it good leadership for success. Huge egos failcascading all the time. The difference is to work all the time for new practices and tactics instead to call yourself an elitist and getting outdated like former BOB. Only poeple in leadership knowing that the process to get a better performance never ends, are elitists.
        This process sets standards for members and demanding all the time a feedback whether the actions to level up pilots are good enough. In this process huge egos have no place because they are unable to adapt, unable to see new demands and unable to work together. Kick them!

        Is it one of the great errors of the anglosaxon world to think there must be only a charismatic leader. May be you have 1-15 months success, but soon interest differences growing and the alliance failcascading. If an alliance can be called elite it’s Evoke. Maybe I’m wrong but the perfomance of Evoke looked in the last years were allways good. They have allways fullfilled fleet doctrines on the field.

        No I’m not Evoke member and I never will be, but the performance of this alliance is really impressive. Maybe PL is surviving the next 2 years and I call them also elitist.

  4. Completely offtopic:
    I have read your post about keyboard lag and the F-keys only minutes earlier, and here I found these:

    “… though blame-shifting.”
    “… embrace a swam mentality”

    I don’t believe in pointing out typos as being constructive. It just seemed worthy of attention that both times the R was missing. And in relation to the F-keys not responding, yes, it was funny 😀

    On-topic again, I enjoy your long articles since not many people seem to put in such an effort.

    • Hah! Great eye for detail.

      I will only say that my in-combat key pushes are a little more deliberate and precise than those that occur as I hammer out blog entries (which I actually write most-often on my laptop during the day not my desktop at home). However I take your point, it can always be human error or even the keyboard.

      I’ve made the corrections now =P

      • I don’t doubt that your Eve button-pushing is more precise and deliberate than blogging on a laptop in the afternoon. Often forgetting to run the spell/grammarchecker myself (thank you laziness).

        I have not experienced laggy F-keys myself yet but I do fear having to activate modules by mouse and becoming a “clicker”. Since you play other MMOs aswell you surely know the dangers associated with it, besides loss of performance.

        I’ve had a similar experience the other day that cost me. Orbiting a target with MWD on (activated by F-key), then toggling overload on (activated by Alt+F-key), which resulted in the MWD showing activation as per normal waiting to overload on next cycle, but my speed decreased instead as if the MWD was turned off. There was no scram, my opponent later confirmed it by chat. Hope that’s unrelated and stays a one time experience.

  5. I think most of the Pros of Elitism go with a solid Espirit de Corps. Partly because I’m just predisposed to like any -ism I will admit.

    I prefer to see that my corp/alliance has people designated to help with certain things. I also believe that anyone that has to TELL you how good he is, probably isn’t that good. If you are good, people around you know it.

    Bonus points for the picture from Black Adder.

  6. wafer says eat more beans!

  7. wafer needs to eat less beans and brush up on his paint skills lol….

  8. […] [6] Thames, Easley (2011, March 6). Corporation Elitism : The Pros and Cons. Retrieved November 2,2015 from https://couldhavetakenitsolo.wordpress.com/2011/03/06/corporate-elitism-the-pros-and-cons/ […]

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