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Decision-Making Supported by Virtual-World Systems Vis-à-Vis Enterprise Systems’ Uncertainty and Equivocality

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Authentic Virtual World Education

Abstract

Business decision-making is based on a combination of explicit and tacit knowledge. Tacit knowledge is difficult to codify, manage and share in the same manner as explicit knowledge. The ability to share tacit knowledge offers great value to an organisation. The growing level of global business activities leads to an increasingly competitive environment with a greater demand for communication of tacit knowledge over distance. This chapter presents a study of the suitability of virtual-worlds for business decision-making over distance involving the exchange of tacit knowledge to support decisions at the tactical and strategic management layers. The avatar, being the primary interaction object in virtual-worlds, forms the basis of a model of the role concept in user-to-user communication. We present a case study showing how the selection of an avatar reflects the user’s role, and how an avatar situates the user in a business environment. Our study shows that virtual-worlds support the mediation of tacit knowledge. This is contrasted with state-of-the-art enterprise business systems commonly used for business transactions based on explicit knowledge exchanged over distance. The avatar is found to fulfil the role of the communicator and the role expectations from real-life situations. Our findings show that virtual-worlds have unique properties in supporting tacit knowledge exchange required for decision-making in a distributed business environment.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    1. 1.

      Hinduism—a manifestation of a deity on earth; Sanskrit—ava = down, below and tara = tread (Apte 1969);

    2. 2.

      An icon or figure representing a particular person in a computer game (Oxford Dictionary, 2014).

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Rudra, A., Jæger, B., Ludvigsen, K. (2018). Decision-Making Supported by Virtual-World Systems Vis-à-Vis Enterprise Systems’ Uncertainty and Equivocality. In: Gregory, S., Wood, D. (eds) Authentic Virtual World Education. Springer, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-10-6382-4_11

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