vManagement: Initial Exploration of Management Practice

Susan Wurtz, Dale Cyphert, Leslie K. Duclos

Abstract


For several years, the authors have maintained a simulation (sim) in Second LifeTM, with management responsibility for allocating sim resources across research and instructional projects, some of which involved working with residents. Although not originally anticipated to be a research site in management theory and practice, the project presented an unexpected pattern of difficulty and an unexpectedly rich case study to examine why and how the virtual environment generated norms of power and empowerment for which traditional management practice was not effective. We conducted a theoretical thematic analysis on a body of conversation transcripts, meeting agendas and minutes, email messages and other administrative documents, applying concepts from the literature on presence, copresence, embodiment and social capital, seeking to identify the sociocultural context and structural conditions that shaped meanings and experiences of participants in this project. This exploratory analysis suggests a need for development of management theory and practice based on norms of empowerment shaped by designer-user role hybridization – in short, vManagement.

Keywords


virtual worlds; project management; vManagement; Embodied Social Capital

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The full website for the Journal of Virtual Worlds Research can be found at: http://jvwresearch.org