آنلاین بازی کنید تا بهتر کار کنید؟بررسی سرایتی یادگیری فعال و رهبری تحول گرا
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|20002||2012||12 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||محاسبه نشده|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Volume 79, Issue 7, September 2012, Pages 1328–1339
In this 1-month, longitudinal study we examined how participating in massively multiplayer online role-playing games affects users’ real-life employment. For 79 employees, we tested spillover effects from gaming to work in relation to active learning and transformational leadership. Furthermore, we investigated the moderating role of game performance in these spillover effects. Results of hierarchical regression analyses showed that active learning spills over from game to work only under conditions of enhanced game performance, while bad performance reduces this effect. Furthermore, results supported the direct spillover of transformational leadership, as well as the boosting effect of high game performance in this spillover effect. These results provide further insights with regard to spillover processes, and suggest that virtual games may be of relevance for the development of new organizational training techniques.
Over the past two decades, information and communication technologies have facilitated significant changes to our business and social environment. The main vehicle for this transformation was the Internet, which was not just—yet—another computer network, but a platform on which many of our activities were to be staged. Gradually, the way we live, work, communicate, learn and play was affected . This process is still on-going today. In fact, now, we have an even more complex landscape, to which various metaverses have been added . Metaverses are usually three-dimensional extensions of the ‘traditional’ electronic space that, among others, host massive multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs). MMORPGs are played over the Internet and involve thousands of players, who are represented via their avatars (i.e. a player's virtual persona in the metaverse). MMORPGs evolve around a theme that defines the goals of the game . In this context, players interact with each other, join groups to achieve common goals, and carry out complex missions. In other words, activities in virtual games have many common qualities with work in real organizations . Ongoing developments in the business world suggest that in future organizations work teams will function globally, decision making will be distributed, and collaboration will occur mainly through digital interaction . These increasingly competitive and faster paced work environments resemble virtual environments such as those of MMORPGs more and more. Therefore, the central question is whether virtual games may offer useful insights for better organizational functioning. Related skepticism can be addressed by considering the growing popularity of MMORPGs. The subscription-based MMORPG market grew by 22% in 2008 and reached consumer spending levels of $1.4 billion in North America and Europe alone, a figure which is projected to reach $2 billion by 2013 . Continuing their exponential growth since the late 90s, in 2008 total MMORPG active subscriptions exceeded 16 million . Contrary to the stereotypical gamer profile (i.e. male, relatively young, and a socially maladapted person), recent surveys  and  suggest that the largest concentration of MMORPGs players is made up of people in their 30s, who are more educated than the general population, they are mainly male (80%), and they spend about 25 hours per week playing. Importantly, about half of them are employed full-time. These are indicative of the real-world reach MMORPGs can have, and their potential influence, particularly on employees’ behavior in real work environments. Driven by the high popularity of MMORPGs among employees, the purpose of this longitudinal study is to examine how active learning and transformational leadership behaviors that are developed and manifested in MMORPGs may affect users’ real employment over the course of time. In addition, we suggest that game performance moderates the degree to which in-game behaviors spill over into work. Using games to develop various behaviors and skills is a long standing research area that is bounded to attract more attention as Internet and related technologies mature further , , , ,  and . To our knowledge, this study is the first to integrate psychological  and  and game  and  theories in a model of spillover from games to work that incorporates the role of performance as a motivator that boosts this spillover. It is worth noting that we study the spillover from games to work from a psychological perspective. Accordingly, with the term spillover we refer to the within-person transfer of characteristics (i.e. affect, values, skills and behaviors) from one domain of an individual's life to another, resulting in similarities between domains ,  and . In this context, psychological spillover refers to the transmission of specific leadership and learning behaviors from one life domain to another, and it is distinct from knowledge spillover, which refers to the knowledge externalities bounded in space, which allow companies operating nearby important (formal and informal) knowledge channels to introduce innovations at a faster rate than firms located elsewhere . Confirming the proposed spillover model empirically advances current knowledge both by corroborating the ecological validity of psychological spillover theories in different contexts, and by better explaining the underlying psychological processes. Evidence for such processes is significant for practice as well, because it suggests that aspects of online games may be used for training purposes aiming at better functioning at work. 1.1. A spillover model from games to work Spillover is a mechanism that links various areas of everyday life in a way that psychological states and their behavior manifestations transfer from one domain to another, within the same person ,  and . Spillover can be negative when it interferes with role adaptation or positive when it promotes role adaptation. According to Edwards and Rothbard , behavioral spillover may be explained by two psychological mechanisms. Firstly, behaviors manifested in one domain may be generalized into knowledge and habits that, in turn, influence behaviors in other domains. Secondly, when situational cues (i.e. role requirements) in two domains are highly similar, spillover can be direct without intervening processes (e.g., via unconscious mimicking). It is important to note that these two mechanisms may function additively in a way that spillover is most likely to take place when both conditions apply, namely, when skills and behaviors have been internalized and situational cues are similar across domains . Most previous studies examined affective spillover from work to family and vice versa (e.g.,  and ), while evidence regarding behavioral spillover is scarce. Ispa et al.  found that parents whose jobs focused on helping people and involved considerable face-to-face contact were more receptive to their children's bids for conversation. Similarly, Rinaldi and Howe  showed that family members (mothers–fathers–siblings) demonstrated agreement on the frequency and types of conflict across different family subsystems (parent–child, marital, siblings). Conflict strategies applied to the parent–child system were linked to conflict strategies applied to both sibling and marital systems. The present study advances theory and research by examining positive behavioral spillover from games to work. The roles and identities assumed in MMORPGs call for behaviors that the user must manifest in order to progress and become successful in the game . Gamers who act as achievers, explorers or socializers exhibit different characteristics that can be related to the real-world behavior, albeit following different strategies. For example, achievers are interested in acting on the virtual world, explorers in interacting with the world, while socializers in interacting with other players. Among these, there are transferable behaviors that can be applied outside the membrane of the game . In this context, the avatars have their own ‘human’ and social capital associated with them , which can be developed further in-game, potentially affecting the user's real-world human and social capital too. To explain the spillover effect from games to work, we focus on Yee and Bailenson's  Proteus effect. Their idea stems from Bem's  self-perception theory, which states that people observe their own behaviors to understand which attitudes caused them. In turn, these attitudes may impact future behavior. Based on this assumption, Yee and Baileson hypothesized and showed that an individual's behavior conforms to their self-representation irrespectively of how others perceive them. This implies that when an individual observes her/his avatar behaving in a certain way in MMORPGs, it is likely that this individual will alter her/his behavior in the real world to be consistent with the behavior in the virtual world . We argue that active learning and transformational leadership behaviors, when manifested in the game, may be transmitted to users’ real work life over time. We focus on these two specific behaviors because they are commonly manifested and relate to better adaptation (in the form of successes) both in MMORPGs and at work ,  and . According to Bartle's  taxonomy, among the most common roles that players assume in the game is that of explorers. That is, players aim to find out as much as they can about the world they enter and how it works (i.e. a typical manifestation of active learning). In a similar vein, players face organizational and strategic challenges like creating clans, recruiting new players, assessing, motivating, rewarding talented team members, setting missions and goals for the future, organizing resources, and analyzing constantly changing and often incomplete data in order to make decisions. This led Reeves and colleagues to describe MMORPGs as “leadership's online labs” . 1.2. Spillover of active learning Active learners engage in behaviors that offer mastery experiences of competence and proficiency, which challenge them without overtaxing their capabilities . Considering that there is no end in MMORPGs, and there are multiple strategies for playing the game, players encounter many different choices and challenges that help them progress through active learning . Thus, MMORPGs offer an environment, where individuals may actively practice learning behaviors which may be difficult or impossible to do in a real-life environment. For instance, a player may repeat the same mission adopting different strategies, applying their previous experiences and knowledge until the task set has been completed successfully. The input–process–output game model of Garris et al.  explains how participation in games initiates active learning behaviors in the game, but also outside of it. Accordingly, the content and the characteristics of online games trigger a cycle that incorporates three elements: user judgments or reactions (e.g., interest), user behaviors (e.g., actively searching for information or persistence with the task) and system feedback. This cycle enhances users’ engagement in the game, which results in specific learning outcomes. The debriefing process that is indebted in the game (i.e., analysis of events that occur in the game, recognition of mistakes and corrective actions) allows learning to occur, and learners to link this knowledge and behavior to the real world . In her theoretical analysis, Dickey  explained how different quests in MMORPGs may activate and advance declarative (i.e. learn facts, data, concepts), procedural (i.e. learn how to perform a task, act and process), strategic (i.e. learn how to apply knowledge and experience) and metacognitive (i.e. reflection during the activity) knowledge. Adopting Dickey's examples, quests that require a player to help another player may enhance declarative knowledge by exercising on teaching or assisting others. Similarly, quests that require players to collect items from different places, manipulate these items and then deliver them may enhance gamers’ procedural knowledge, while quests that require the player to defeat a character provide the opportunity to plan actively. It could be argued that such active learning behaviors can be of use for individuals in their work context, where they have to deal with similar tasks and challenges. Thus, the direct—unintentional—spillover of active learning may be explained by the close similarity between the game and the work situational cues (cf. Ref. ). On the basis of this analysis, we formulate the first hypothesis: Hypothesis 1. Active learning in the game spills over to active learning at work over time. 1.3. Spillover of transformational leadership Yee  has argued that since personal success in MMORPGs requires collaboration with and motivation of other gamers, a potential behavior that may be exercised and learned during the game and, in turn, transmitted to real life is leadership. Indeed, gamers often engage in leadership roles because they have to deal with both administrative (e.g., role assignment), as well as with higher-level strategy issues (e.g., motivating the group, encouraging loyalty and cohesion; ) in MMORPGs. The focus of this study is on transformational leadership since this leadership style has been consistently found to relate positively to followers’ motivation (for a review see Ref. ), which is of importance both for MMORPGs  and work . Transformational leaders transform the norms and values of their followers, and motivate their followers to perform beyond their own expectations by making them more aware of the importance of the task outcomes . According to Dvir et al. , transformational leaders are charismatic, arouse inspirational motivation, provide intellectual stimulation, and show individualized consideration for their followers. Through such behaviors, they exert influence on their subordinates by broadening their goals and by giving them confidence to outperform. Players who act consistently in a transformational manner (e.g., encourage and motivate their game mates, set clear goals and plans for the future) are likely to act in a transformational way also at work. Taking into account that game and work environments are highly similar (cf. Refs.  and ), it is likely that motivating and inspiring others in the game may be transferred at work as a habitual behavior that is expressed under similar situational cues (e.g., when trying to fulfill a mission/goal ). To our knowledge, there is only one previous study on the spillover of leadership from games to work. In the survey conducted by Yee , 10% of the participants reported that they had learned a lot about motivating team members, persuading others and becoming better leaders at work while playing. Nevertheless, in that study direct self-assessment was used to test the spillover effect. Participants rated the degree to which (i.e. not at all, a little, a lot) their experiences in the game helped them in taking on leadership roles in real-life or improved their leadership skills, which raises questions regarding the validity of the findings. Furthermore, Yee's  study was cross-sectional. To provide a more robust test of the spillover of leadership from games to work, we use a longitudinal design to examine the following hypothesis: Hypothesis 2. Transformational leadership in the game spills over to transformational leadership at work over time. 1.4. Game performance as moderator The hypothesized spillover effects are more likely to take place under conditions of enhanced game performance. When specific behaviors co-occur with high performance within one life domain, this may result in positive evaluations of these behaviors that may be generalized across domains. Based on the main assumptions of self-determination theory , we suggest that high levels of game performance may function as motivators that facilitate the transmission of behaviors from game to work. Studies have shown that a basic motive that engages individuals in playing MMORPGs is to satisfy their basic need for achievement . In other words, people play for the intrinsic need to outperform. According to Deci and Ryan , the satisfaction of basic needs (e.g., the need to be competent) intrinsically motivates individuals. Thus, high performance in MMORPGs, by satisfying gamers’ need to be competent and to achieve, keeps them involved and encourages them to pursue persistently behaviors that they exert in the game for the intrinsic pleasure of it. The combination of learning and leadership behaviors in the game with high levels of intrinsically motivated performance makes the transition of these behaviors to other areas of life more plausible. Behaviors in the game are more likely to be imitated in other life domains, under conditions in which these behaviors satisfy gamers’ needs for achievement (i.e. when they perform well). Similarly, the theory of motivational spillover suggests that motivation and outcomes on a given task impact on motivation on a distinct task . High performance in one task transfers to the levels of aspirations of other tasks, while failure on the initial task leads to motivational decline for an unrelated second task. Therefore, the coexistence of active learning and transformational leadership behaviors in the game with high performance strengthens the transmission of these behaviors to the work domain, because people tend to mimic effective behaviors, particularly in contexts where effectiveness is highly valued (e.g., work). Individuals are likely to transmit certain behaviors at work that they manifest in the game, especially when these behaviors are combined with valuable and important results like high performance. Based on this theoretical analysis, we hypothesize: Hypothesis 3. Performance in the game moderates the spillover of active learning, in a way that high performance boosts this spillover effect. Hypothesis 4. Performance in the game moderates the spillover of transformational leadership, in a way that high performance boosts this spillover effect. 1.5. Control variables To rule out potential effects of obsessive involvement in MMORPGs  while testing the study hypotheses, we control for game addiction. Furthermore, we control for extraversion and emotional stability, because these two personality factors seem to be practically meaningful both for active learning , and transformational leadership .
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The purpose of the present longitudinal study was to investigate the spillover of active learning and transformational leadership behaviors from online games to work. Furthermore, the moderating (i.e. boosting) effect of game performance in these positive spillover effects was examined. Results supported the direct spillover of in-game transformational leadership to transformational leadership at work. Furthermore, analyses showed that in-game active learning spilled over to active learning at work, only for the high-performers in MMORPGs. Similarly, the spillover of transformational leadership behavior from game to work was found to be particularly strong for those performing well in the game. The significant amount of full-time employees who are active in MMORPGs , as well as the considerable similarity of activities in MMORPGs and in real work environments  and  underline the importance of the present findings for theory and practice. These results contribute to the spillover literature firstly, by showing that certain positive behaviors spill over from game to work directly, and secondly, by emphasizing the boosting role of enhanced performance in this spillover. 4.1. Direct spillover effects Based on the main assumptions of psychological theories of (work-to-family) spillover ,  and , we proposed a model of behavioral spillover from online games to work. According to Edwards and Rothbard , close similarity between the role requirements across the life domains under study allows spillover to take place directly without the mediation of other psychological factors or processes. By integrating these assumptions and the assumptions of game theorists  and , who emphasize the substantial similarity between online games and real work environments, as well as the constant interaction between roles in games and in real-life, we hypothesized that active learning and transformational leadership behaviors in the game may be transmitted directly to the work domain. Analyses supported the direct spillover of transformational leadership behaviors from games to work. It is interesting to note that this spillover effect was observed only over time (i.e. T1 game transformational leadership did not relate to T1 leadership at work). This result implies that skills gained in the game require time in order to transmit to other life domains. Analyses did not support the direct spillover of active learning. These inconsistent findings may be attributed to differences in the emergence of these two behaviors in games and at work. Despite the similarity between game and work environments, as well as the significance of learning and leadership behaviors in both contexts, it is likely that the emergence of transformational leadership behaviors is equally plausible in the games and at work, while active learning behaviors are relatively more easily practiced in the game than at work. Manifesting transformational leadership behaviors (i.e. motivating others to fulfill common goals) is equally effortful in the game and at work. However, MMORPGs are designed to facilitate active learning (e.g., all information is easily accessible), while active learning at work is often an extra-role behavior that requires additional effort from the side of employees (i.e. in the majority of occupations active learning is not a requirement for fulfilling work goals). Thus, it may be suggested that active learning is more effortful at work than in games, which explains why it is less likely to be transmitted directly. Furthermore, results supporting the moderating role of game performance in the spillover of active learning indicate the significant role of third-variables in this spillover. 4.2. The moderating role of game performance Next to the direct spillover of learning and leadership behaviors from games to work, we considered the boosting effect of game performance in this spillover effect. Based on self-determination theory , as well as on the findings that a main motive for individuals to join MMORPGs is to satisfy their basic need to achieve and to be competent , we suggested that high levels of performance (as an indication of achievement) boost the spillover of active learning and transformational leadership behaviors from games to work. Results of hierarchical regression analyses provided strong support for the moderating role of performance in both spillover effects. In line with expectations, analyses showed that it is especially under conditions of high performance in the game that the spillover of active learning and transformational leadership behaviors takes place. This finding may better explain the non-significant direct spillover effect of active learning from games to work. Support for the moderation of game performance suggests that active learning behaviors are transmitted to work only when they satisfy basic needs and relate to positive outcomes (i.e. enhanced performance in the game). It is also important to discuss the finding that under conditions of bad performance in the game, the chance of transmitting active learning behaviors from game to work is not non-existent, but negative. This finding suggests that if a player is not performing well, she/he will realize that the specific behaviors are not useful and consequently, these will not be transferred to a similar work situation. Namely, individuals avoid spilling over active learning behaviors at work, under conditions that they under-perform in the game. This finding indicates that relating positive behaviors with bad performance may be counteractive for the spillover process. These results clearly advance past knowledge regarding behavioral spillover given that the majority of previous studies have focused on the role of mediator variables (see for example ), and not on moderators that determine the magnitude of the spillover effect. 4.3. Strengths, limitations, and avenues for future research A strong point of this study is its longitudinal character, which allows reaching certain conclusions about the direction of effects. The additional analyses about reciprocity that supported the game-to-work rather than the work-to-game spillover further contribute in this respect. However, it is likely that this spillover effect may be more dynamic than what has been captured by the present study. The spillover from games to work may fluctuate within the same person, from one day to another, depending on the specific game and the tasks undertaken within the study period. Future research (e.g., by means of diary studies and the collection of qualitative data) could closely follow users over time within the game and within their real-world organizational environment and observe the development and spillover of active learning and transformational leadership in action. Such an approach could yield further insights into the actual spillover process. Despite the advantages of the longitudinal design that has been applied, it may still be argued that by relying solely on self-reports the present study captures participants’ estimations of their game and work behaviors rather than true behavioral manifestations. Observations of game behaviors (i.e. transformational leadership, active learning and performance), and other-ratings of work behaviors (i.e. leadership and learning) would have yield better estimations of the behavioral spillover. In the present study, participants were playing different games and were employed in different occupations. Therefore, it was very difficult to set observational criteria that would have the same meaning for all. Furthermore, the study of Lepper  showed a high consistency of self- and other-ratings of behavioral manifestations (i.e. smoking habits and sleep disturbances), while the relationship between well-being and behavioral manifestations was similar for self- and other-ratings. In addition, the meta-analytic study of Viswesvaran, Schmidt, and Ones  showed that both supervisor and peer-ratings of job performance were substantially inflated by halo. These results imply that self-ratings of behavioral manifestations may not be extremely problematic in the present study. On a related note, performance in the game was assessed only once, at T2. Therefore, it was not possible to control for T1 game performance when testing our hypotheses. However, a strong point of the present study is that T2 game performance was measured with reference to the time-period (i.e. month) that elapsed from T1 to T2. Namely, participants assessed their game performance having in mind the month that intervened between the two measurements. Therefore, it is the evaluation of the actual (and not overall) performance that strengthens or weakens the positive spillover from games to work. Depending on the nature of the game, performance could be measured in a number of ways. For example, one could measure the accumulation of personal and group resources or the accomplishments of specific tasks/missions. Future studies could focus on a single type of games to enable direct comparison of performance among participants. Another limitation of the study is that only half of the participants reported having an official leadership status in the game during the period when the study took place. Although leadership status did not have a significant effect on the study variables, one may argue that this is a problematic issue particularly with regard to the findings concerning transformational leadership. However, we argue that leadership behaviors in the game may be manifested by all players, whether they officially have leadership roles or not. A key aspect in MMORPGs is that each player leads his or her own avatar, though when leading others, leadership happens and changes quickly and it can be undertaken by any player (not only official leaders), at any time. In effect, any player may motivate his/her co-players or fight for the cohesion of the team at any point in time, because personal success is strongly dependent on team performance. Additionally, the quest structure of MMORPGs fosters collaborations among players in such a way that they continuously provide instructions, advice and encouragement to each other, irrespective of their leadership status . Therefore, recruiting participants irrespective of their official leadership status in the game should not be considered a major drawback of this study. Nevertheless, it would be interesting if future studies replicate the current findings only for leaders. In addition, the specific attributes and characteristics of the MMORPGs should be taken into consideration in future studies. If it is the case that MMORPGs can be a platform for effectively staging leadership development, then are there any MMORPGs that can better facilitate this process? Similarly, are there MMORPGs that enhance active learning more than others? Due to the restriction in the variation of the MMORPGs reported by the participants, it was impossible to assess such issues in the present study. Nevertheless, future studies could try recruiting more participants, playing a more varied set of MMORPGs with different characteristics, in order to examine which particular characteristics of MMORPGs facilitate active learning and transformational leadership the most. If MMORPGs were to be used in a more formal professional development process, organizational attributes could dictate which MMORPGs to adopt, in order to better align the development of skills with their potential future application. Aligning the MMORPGs' attributes with the organizational conditions can potentially help increase spillover effects. It is important to note that we have measured active learning in general terms, and we did not distinguish between different types of knowledge that may be gained within the game. It would be interesting for future studies to distinguish between different types of learning (e.g., declarative, procedural, strategic, and/or metacognitive ), and test whether certain types of learning are more likely to spill over to work than others. Finally, the present study was focused solely on the role of game performance in moderating the spillover from games to work. Nevertheless, one may consider additional factors that may play the role of the moderator in this relationship. Players’ thinking styles may be such a factor. For instance, it could be argued that the direct, unintentional spillover from games to work may be stronger for those who have an intuitive rather than a rational thinking style . Another factor that may play the role of the moderator is the degree to which the gamer is in flow while playing . Such assumptions may be food for thought for future studies. 4.4. Implications for practice The evidence supporting the spillover of active learning and transformational leadership from games to work is remarkable considering that MMORPGs are not designed to fulfill this purpose. However, this finding indicates that the special characteristics of MMORPGs may be used in order to better design training that aims to develop individuals in occupational contexts. Improving an individual's active learning and transformational leadership skills via MMORPGs may improve organizational effectiveness, when these skills are put into practice within the real-world business environment. However, Garris et al.  found that online games by themselves are not sufficient for learning, although there are certain game characteristics that may be used in an instructional or training context that may enhance active learning. Similarly, Yukl  argues that in most theories of transformational leadership, leadership is viewed as a key determinant of organizational effectiveness, but the causal effects of leader behavior on the organizational processes that ultimately determine effectiveness are seldom described in any detail. If, as Yukl  suggests, an essential leadership function is to influence the organization culture, structure, technology, and management systems, and not just develop the skills that can potentially do so, then transformational leadership skills need to be transferred and practiced in context in the real-world environment, before they can be beneficial to the organization. In other words, just playing ‘games’ to improve one's skills is not enough. This is in line with Dekkers and Donatti , who found a negative relationship between the duration of training through gaming and training effectiveness. In other words, simulation games became less effective the longer the game was used (suggesting that perhaps trainees became bored over time). Still, we suggest that MMORPGs may provide useful insights for the development of modern training techniques in organizations. Developing training techniques (e.g., role-playing games) in virtual environments may enhance the ecological validity of training programs due to the significant increase in realism . An example is the intervention that was developed at the British Open University . The purpose of this intervention was to test whether virtual role-play in Second Life is an effective alternative to real-life role-play for staff development. Three groups were compared in three distinct types of skill practice: scriptwriting, traditional real-life role-play, and role-play in the virtual environment (via participants’ avatars). Analyses revealed that all members of the virtual group showed an increase in their level of confidence in providing and receiving feedback. 4.5. General conclusion The purpose of this study was to examine the potential positive spillover effects of active learning and transformational leadership from online games to work. The findings suggest that playing MMORPGs may indeed have beneficial effects for good functioning at work. Despite the fact that online games are mainly designed to entertain, it is clear that certain of their elements may be used in the development of learning and leadership in organizations. However, such an attempt should not underestimate the controversy regarding certain aspects of the design of MMORPGs, as well as their unwise use.