Leadership in Spaces and Places

Leadership in Spaces and Places

Edited by Arja Ropo, Perttu Salovaara, Erika Sauer and Donatella De Paoli

By combining new research on leadership and workspaces, Leadership in Spaces and Places argues for a radical reconceptualization of leadership. They argue leadership is not only about leaders themselves, but is also affected by the built environment. With contributions from both scholars and practitioners alike, the authors discuss leadership in six different contexts: • workspaces in change • open-office spaces • virtual workspaces • service spaces • cultural spaces • institutional spaces.

Chapter 6: Virtual spaces as workplaces: working and leading in virtual worlds

Matti Vartiainen

Subjects: business and management, business leadership, organisation studies, social policy and sociology, sociology and sociological theory


This chapter focuses on leading and working practices in virtual worlds. Virtual worlds as digital collaboration environments are explored and studied from the perspective of sociomaterial theory. Virtual worlds considered here are communication and collaboration environments in which multiple actors share the same three-dimensional digital space despite occupying remote physical locations. Leadership in virtual spaces is seen as a relation that is constructed between people, between people and materiality (e.g., local built environment, place, artefacts) and between people and digital representations (e.g., virtual worlds and its visual artefacts), including the characteristics and behaviour of an avatar. The chapter continues by exploring leadership in virtual spaces from three perspectives: affordances of virtual worlds, social relationships and the characteristics of an avatar. Finally, virtual worlds as workplaces are categorized based on the literature.

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