There be Dragons! An Ethnographic Inquiry into the Strategic Practices and Process of World of Warcraft Gaming Groups

Show full item record



Permalink

http://hdl.handle.net/10138/42056
Title: There be Dragons! An Ethnographic Inquiry into the Strategic Practices and Process of World of Warcraft Gaming Groups
Author: Vesa, Mikko
Contributor: Svenska handelshögskolan, institutionen för företagsledning och organisation, företagsledning och organisation
Hanken School of Economics, Department of Management and Organisation, Management and Organisation
Publisher: Svenska handelshögskolan
Date: 2013-11-21
Language: en
Belongs to series: Economics and Society – 264
ISBN: 978-952-232-214-2 (printed)
978-952-232-215-9 (PDF)
ISSN: 0424-7256 (printed)
2242-699X (PDF)
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/42056
Abstract: To search for dragons is not an act of foolishness. Rather, it bespeaks a curious mind open for the discovery of new canvases of organizing and human action. Beyond our boardrooms and office spaces, bureaus and plenary rooms new organizational forms are springing into life. Fuelled by the explosive growth of human capacity in digital technologies, these new organizational forms inhabit virtual worlds created through computer code. In this thesis I open the door on my 39-month ethnographic journey through one such virtual world. Azeroth is the setting for the massive-multiplayer-online (mmo) game World of Warcraft. It is a world abuzz with activity, organizing, strategizing... and dragons. It is also the location of my field work, and a site that management and organization scholars hitherto have been largely unaware of. Hence, this thesis reports on findings in two distinct senses. Firstly, through the ethnographic sense of the joy at discovery of something new and secondly through the interpretive efforts I undertake in the thesis to contribute to management and organization theory through the insights hidden in my empirical material. Underneath every ethnographic endeavour there is a journey of discovery. It is not always visible behind the sophisticated argumentation that exemplifies academic discourse. For conducting journeys of discovery I introduce in this thesis two distinct insights. I introduce the subgenre of virtual ethnography and report what it means in practice to conduct such research in Azeroth. Secondly, I elaborate on the typically overlooked question of how to adapt ethnographic practice in order to contribute to a specific field of research. I do so by examining how ethnographic practice can answer questions posed by the field of strategic management studies. Success in such efforts entails a distinct take on the researcher’s field role and the type of indigenous knowledge pursued. Theoretically, this thesis analyses the strategic practices and processes involved in managing a virtual organization. Drawing on the strategy as practice tradition I identify the core practices required to organize and maintain an organization in virtual space. I use these insights as building blocks to explain how through the utilization of an extreme case, such as organizing in World of Warcraft, we can better identify the internal causes of organizational failure and the importance of fellowship-based core groups in organizing. To follow the constantly unfolding canvas of organizing is one of the primary challenges of management and organization studies in order to retain topicality, and virtual worlds is one of unfolding canvases.
Subject: strategy as practice
virtual ethnography
temporality
world of warcraft


Files in this item

Total number of downloads: Loading...

Files Size Format View
264_978-952-232-215-9.pdf 7.024Mb PDF View/Open

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Show full item record