Sustainable virtual world ecosystems

John Campbell, Gordon Fletcher, Anita Greenhill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper outlines an agenda for research that contributes to the development of sustainable virtual world ecosystems. It provides direction for understanding the social aspects of both trust and conflict. Trust is often referred to in research to examine the social interactions observed in virtual communities. It is an important theoretical factor affecting user intention to give and receive information. However, trust is a problematic construct, as it is based on culturally and historically specific assumptions about human association and social organization. Conflict and disagreement are usually viewed as undesirable behaviors in virtual worlds. The management of these behaviors is a difficult task in virtual environments where physical social controls are not available. Consequently, the moderation of participant behavior is seen as a challenge for virtual world creators, particularly as virtual world governance is likely to have a significant influence on member retention rates. A conflict-oriented research agenda provides a useful vehicle for interpreting the simultaneous pressures for both collaboration and competition in virtual worlds. Conflict is an integral structural element of the social interrelations found in both physical and virtual worlds. In this context, both agreement and disagreement are necessary to maintain the intricate social networks necessary for sustainable virtual world ecosystems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-32
Number of pages4
JournalSIGMIS Database
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • conflict
  • governance
  • identity
  • sustainability
  • trust
  • virtual worlds


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