Professional Virtual Worlds Supporting Computer-Mediated Communication, Collaboration, and Learning in Geographically Distributed Contexts
Journal article, 2013
Research problem: Although much research exists on virtual worlds, very few studies focus on professional virtual worlds used for working in a global setting. Research questions: (1) How do global managers currently use and experience professional virtual worlds (Virtual Worlds) as a communication media for global work? and (2) How do these Virtual Worlds support global and professional communication in a geographically distributed context? Literature review: We reviewed Virtual World literature in the area of social sciences, education, and games. Little research has been conducted on Virtual Worlds for workgroups. But those studies support the assumption that Virtual Worlds are suitable for global distributed work as a collaboration and communication medium. Methodology: With an explorative and qualitative interview research approach, we conducted 47 semi-structured interviews with virtual world vendors, researchers, and managers using virtual worlds in their work. Data were analyzed based on Grounded Theory Analysis methods. Results and conclusions: The results show four different use cases applied for professional Virtual Worlds: small team meetings, trainings, community building, and conferences. Furthermore, our findings confirm Virtual World literature that states that the professional Virtual World as a communication and collaboration tool supports geographically distributed work as well as visualization and learning in a global context.
global distributed work
computer-mediated communication (CMC)
professional virtual worlds