Investigating virtual teams in massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs): an integrated model for virtual team effectiveness
Διερευνώντας τις εικονικές ομάδες στα διαδικτυακά παιχνίδια πολλαπλών χρηστών (MMOGs): ένα ενοποιημένο μοντέλο για την αποτελεσματικότητα των εικονικών ομάδων
KeywordsMassively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOGs) ; Virtual leaders ; Emotional intelligence ; Virtual team effectiveness ; Virtual teams ; Virtual world teams ; e-Leaders ; Transformational leadership
Over the years, there has been explosive growth in the use of virtual teams in organizations. However, the individual and team factors that result in the team effectiveness of a virtual team still remain unclear. In an attempt to understand what makes a virtual team effective, researchers are shifting their attention from traditional working environments to virtual ones, such as the Virtual World Teams (VWTs). The purpose of this Ph.D. is to try to understand how virtual teams work better by shedding light on the VWTs of Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOGs). A Preliminary Study aiming at researching players’ perception of soft-skills development and leadership in the virtual world teams of MMOGs was conducted. Based on these results, the study was designed and the final survey was based on the most important virtual team effectiveness factors identified from the literature. An integrated Virtual Team Effectiveness Model (VTEM) based on the Input-Process-Output (IPO) framework was used to test the relationships between group, environmental and individual-level inputs (Cooperative Group Norms, Task Interdependence, leader’s Emotional Intelligence), transition, interpersonal and action processes (Social Capital, Team Cohesion, Transformational Leadership) and virtual team effectiveness, from a multi-level perspective. A Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) was conducted to test whether the data fit the hypothesized measurement model and Structural Equations Modelling (SEM) analysis was conducted to reveal the direct and indirect relations between the factors. SEM analysis (N= 500) revealed that a leader’s Emotional Intelligence is positively related to Transformational Leadership, which in turn is associated with Team Effectiveness. A significant path between Task Interdependence, Cooperative group norms, Social capital, Team cohesion, and Team effectiveness was revealed. In addition, Task Interdependence seemed to be also related to Team Satisfaction, a sub-factor of Team Effectiveness. Finally, Team Cohesion has a partially mediating role between transformational leadership perceived at the team level and Team Effectiveness. In order to examine the gender differences in the key elements of the model, one-way ANOVA and Tukey post hoc tests were conducted. A significant difference in the scores of male and female players was found in players’ perceptions about their leader emotional intelligence, transformational leadership, and virtual team effectiveness. Significant differences were also discovered across membership levels (low-level, mid-level, and high-level).