Leadership in MMOGs: A Field of Research on Virtual Teams


  • Sofia Mysirlaki
  • Fotini Paraskeva


MMOGs, MMORPGs, leadership, virtual teams, activity theory, connectivism, self-organization, communities of practice


As our need for collaboration constantly grows, new tools have emerged to connect us in social networks, supporting the development of online communities, such as online games and virtual worlds. MMOGs (Massively Multiplayer Online Games) and MMORPGs (Massively Multiplayer Online Role‑Playing Games) are complex systems, in which players are self‑organized and collaborate in guilds; constantly improve to remain competitive, visioning the enemys and guilds reaction. Nevertheless, these are considered to be important leadership skills for the real world, revealing multiple similarities that link the gaming world and the real world. However, despite the significant amount of educational research and the growing interest of the scientific community in MMOGs, there is a lack of empirical research considering the cognitive and social aspects of these games. This paper outlines the theoretical rationale behind a doctoral research project which is currently in progress and examines the leadership skills that can be developed in a self‑organized community of MMOGs. The main questions that this project attempts to address are: What characteristics related to the social nature of MMOGs activate leadership skills? What MMOGs can teach us about the design of successful online social spaces and activities for teaching leadership skills in virtual teams? In order to address these issues, this paper presents a theoretical framework for analyzing the social interactions in multiplayer games, within the context of community of practice, connectivism, self‑organization and activity theory. This framework aims at examining the creation of communities and the development of leadership skills in MMOGs, in order to explore the role of leadership in these virtual teams. The study of the social structures of a group and the leadership skills that can be developed in a MMOG should result to specific design principles that could be used as design methods for developing effective collaborative environments for virtual teams.



1 Jul 2012