Tag Archives: Academy of Management

Serious Play… A Title for Paper on Second Life

Here is the abstract Ted and I are working from. I am not sure whether to go for the Organization and Management Theory division or the Organization and Communication Information Systems division of AOM.

Titles?

The Influence of Economic and Social Incentive on the Evolution of Virtual Worlds

OR

Serious Play in Synthetic Worlds: Theorizing the Sustainability of
Second Life

Jordi Comas, Bucknell University

Ted Tschang, Singapore Management University

Abstract

The hype and dashed expectations over Second Life simply highlights the
need for a better understanding of the nature of SW. SL is an important
case because it highlights how the dynamics between individual play and
collective socioeconomics drive the evolution of a SW. Early attempts
to comprehensively understand SW have privileged either a view of SWs as
games or as marketing channels. We attempt to correct this view by
proposing a comprehensive framework for theorizing the evolution and
sustainability of a SW using SL as one example of this process. Our
framework is a “bathtub” model to explain joint processes at individual
and collective levels. The motivations of users to participate are
broadly described as play, although work done on video games and
role-playing offer important types of play. However, due to the
persistence and open-endedness of SL, the motives of users are only part
of the picture. The evolution of social and economic systems (a system
of roles, exchanges, and even institutions) continually alters the world
that playful or role-playing users interact with even as their actions
affect the evolution at a higher level. Once we develop a framework to
identify user motivations and forms of economic and social organization,
we validate it with a series of illustrations. We conclude by
developing a research agenda derived from the framework that will guide
researchers and inform discussions about the keys to success in SWs.

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Filed under digital culture, economic sociology, higher education, Research, Second Life, social theory