How to address group dynamics in virtual worlds

Nicolopoulou, Katerina and Kostomaj, Mitja and Campos, Andre (2006) How to address group dynamics in virtual worlds. AI and Society, 20 (3). pp. 351-371.

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Abstract

The study of group dynamics highlights the activity in the group in terms of its performance and communication. The experience of facilitating virtual communities and teams (Eunice and Kimball in (http://www.Tmn.com/~lisa/odn-teams.htm), 1997) suggests that groups go through the same stages either in face-to-face or in online mode. The paper brings together a theoretical framework based on the literature on virtual communities, Gestalt systems and online facilitation in order to address the issue of electronic togetherness, in particular from a group dynamics perspective. The empirical work on which the paper is based is an observation of a group of students in a training set playing a decision-making game. The model of Tuckman (Tuckman in Psychol Bull 63:384–399, 1965; Tuckman and Jensen in Group Organ Stud 2:419–427, 1977) is used as a framework within which to discuss the findings of the case. The paper finishes with concrete recommendations for facilitators of online communities and designers of the electronic spaces where these communities operate