Player-founded organizations, or guilds, within massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs) are complex social entities with organizational forms that mirror real-world. These guilds require leaders who possess or can quickly develop a diverse array of skills. Examples of the skills required read like the introductory course of a business management degree - mediating conflict, planning, controlling, motivating. These skills are important - just as with real-world companies, failures on the part of leaders may explain the high degree of guild failures within virtual worlds. Interest into the transferability of leadership skills built in virtual worlds to real world situations has attracted both academic and practitioner interest. IBM, for example, has begun identifying IBM employees who lead in virtual worlds and exploring leadership characteristics and their applicability to management practice.While these initial efforts have been informative, the unit of analysis has invariably been a singular leader, or the guild leader. Within popular MMOGs (i.e., World of Warcraft or Everquest), the game mechanics allow the promotion of regular guild members to officer status. This begs the question, how may potential officers be identified? Drawing from the emergent leadership literature, we discuss a study-in-progress which attempts to identify potential leaders based upon a social network analysis (i.e., centrality measures) on a multi-year database which represents one guild's activities within a MMOG. We propose that members who participate and contribute more to guild activities make more likely officer candidates.
Goh, Samuel and Wasko, Molly, "Where's the Leader? Identifying Leadership Candidates Within Virtual Worlds" (2009). MG 2009 Proceedings. 9.