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Monday, 28 October 2013

Virtual worlds as digital workplaces: Conceptualizing the affordances of virtual worlds to expand the social and professional spheres in organizations

Virtual worlds as digital workplaces: Conceptualizing the affordances of virtual worlds to expand the social and professional spheres in organizations

  1. Bernadett Koles kolesb@ceubusiness.org
    1. Central European University, Hungary
  2. Peter Nagy
    1. Central European University, Hungary

Abstract

The primary aim of the current paper is to explore ways in which organizations can benefit from virtual environments to expand their social and professional spheres. Applying the theory of third places to virtual worlds, our conceptual model incorporates practical organizational affordances within three composite dimensions. First, we propose that through their unique, supportive and neutral environments, virtual worlds may reduce the prevalence of social hierarchies, via decreasing the emphasis on predetermined ranks, stereotypes, and cultural or geographic variation. Second, we posit that via encouraging open communication within the form of synchronous and real-time interactions, virtual worlds enable efficient teamwork and collaborative learning. Finally, we emphasize that these friendly, secure, and supportive environments may contribute to the reduction of certain work-related stressors, and in turn promote professional development activities. We conclude by discussing practical implications and future research directions.

Virtual worlds as digital workplaces: Conceptualizing the affordances of virtual worlds to expand the social and professional spheres in organizations

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