WHAT IS BEHIND THE (GLASS)DOOR? EXAMINING TOXIC WORKPLACE CULTURES VIA AN EMPLOYMENT REVIEW SITE
Keywords:Glassdoor, games industry, labour, public texts, Riot Games
Launched in 2008 as a site to collect the anonymous perspectives of current and former employees as well as their self-reported salaries, Glassdoor.com has grown to be a top destination for American job seekers wanting to learn more about the work environment of particular companies. Using reviewed posted by current and former Riot Games employees (the developer behind League of Legends) as a case study, I argue that Glassdoor is an easily accessible yet underutilized public yet anonymous resource for scholars interested in a peek ‘behind the curtain’ of industries reliant on non-disclosure and non-disparagement agreements, such as the games industry. In this paper I report on my ongoing analysis of 740 current and former employee reviews of Riot posted to Glassdoor between October 2009 and March 2021. Riot is a particularly fruitful case study as it is a company that has been criticized for creating a toxic work environment, with sexual harassment and a lack of promotions for women being frequently discussed in the games media. As a result of this analysis, I argue it provides ample evidence to indicate that Glassdoor can be a fruitful venue for media industry scholars interested in better understanding employee perspectives about 'notorious' companies while mitigating potential harm to informants who might otherwise be reluctant to speak ‘on the record’ about an industry that remains resistant to change.