Title

INNOVATION IN VIRTUAL WORLDS: SOCIAL STRUCTURE AND DIFFUSION

Abstract

This research-in-progress paper investigates the impact of social structures in virtual worlds (VWs) on the diffusion of innovations within them. Research has illustrated that innovation diffusion takes place within virtual worlds. VWs facilitate the emergence of purposeful communities which support the (often real-world) activities of their members including the development and adoption of innovations. Thus, VWs alter the social structures in which their users are embedded and the manner in which they communicate, both of which are thought to influence the diffusion of technical innovations amongst individuals. Though technical innovation is at the heart of Information Systems (IS) research, empirical research investigating innovation in the networked age is in its infancy. Thus, this paper presents a framework of propositions in relation to the impact of social structures on the diffusion of innovations within VWs and proposes the use of social network analysis to investigate these propositions.

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