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Leader-Member Relationships in Virtual World Teams

As researchers today seek to understand how virtual worlds may be effectively leveraged for collaborative purposes, exploring the role of leadership in virtual world teams may help shed light on how to manage synchronous and highly interdependent work activities for better team outcomes. Based upon Leader-Member Exchange (LMX) Theory, this dissertation seeks to understand how leadership affects team member performance and proposes that 1) the relationship between a leader and a team member influences the degree to which a team member is allocated and develops resources and 2) to the extent which a team member receives or develops resources, their performance will be enhanced. Findings from a field survey of 61 members in a large virtual world team (VWT) within the MMORPG Everquest suggest that leader-member relationships matter, having a direct impact on members' allocation and development of resources. However, a mediation test strongly suggests that it is the quantity and the type of resource that impacts performance and not the direct influence of the leader-member relationship. From a theoretical standpoint, opening the "black box" of LMX theory has revealed more precise causal mechanisms by which leader-member relationships impact performance. The influential resources identified include two dimensions of empowerment, access to better work assignments, benevolence-based trust, obligation, and identification. From a practical standpoint, this research provides guidance into what leaders may do to effectively management VWTs. For example, better member performance could be achieved through coaching and avoiding micro-management, providing members with better team assignments, and binding VWT members to each other such that collective interest replaces self-interest. / A Dissertation submitted to the Department of Management in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. / Summer Semester, 2010. / May 17, 2010. / MMOGS, Virtual Worlds, Leadership, Virtual Teams, LMX / Includes bibliographical references. / Molly Wasko, Professor Directing Dissertation; Michael Brady, University Representative; David Paradice, Committee Member; Gerald Ferris, Committee Member; Deborah Armstrong, Committee Member.

Identiferoai:union.ndltd.org:fsu.edu/oai:fsu.digital.flvc.org:fsu_182379
ContributorsGoh, Samuel H. (authoraut), Wasko, Molly (professor directing dissertation), Brady, Michael (university representative), Paradice, David (committee member), Ferris, Gerald (committee member), Armstrong, Deborah (committee member), Department of Management (degree granting department), Florida State University (degree granting institution)
PublisherFlorida State University, Florida State University
Source SetsFlorida State University
LanguageEnglish, English
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeText, text
Format1 online resource, computer, application/pdf
RightsThis Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s). The copyright in theses and dissertations completed at Florida State University is held by the students who author them.

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