Network Autocorrelation of Task Performance via Informal Communication Within a Virtual World

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Abstract

Network autocorrelation occurs when individuals receive assistance from others which regulates their own behavior, and it can be used to explain how group members may improve their task performance. This study explored how network autocorrelation, via informal communication within a virtual group, affected an individual's task achievement in the online game World of Warcraft. Informal interactions between guild members during a 4-year period were collected and analyzed to assess how informal interactions with other group members affected an individual's in-game achievement. Findings indicate informal communication from other group members (specifically the experience and helpfulness of the other members) positively predict an individual's task performance, while tenure with the group negatively predict individual achievement. Findings are discussed with respect to network analysis and influence in online groups.

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