Multiplayer online video games are an increasingly popular form of entertainment, and many individuals spend a considerable amount of time playing them. One hallmark of these multiplayer games has been the need for collaboration and teamwork for both individual enjoyment and game success. At the same time the needs of a global marketplace have led to the evolution of the geographically separated, but technology linked, distributed team as a critical business function. The elements and functions of these business-oriented distributed teams closely align with the types of groups that often come together to play online video games. A common trait shared by both of these kinds of teams is the role that leadership plays in their success. Given that these games are becoming a pervasive element in our culture, and that they mirror business teams, this study examined the possibility of a link between an individual's performance in multiplayer online video games and that person's leadership style as measured by the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ). The research questions explored in this paper concern the extent to which traditional leadership styles are linked to successful achievement in collaborative online games and whether there are consistent leadership style profiles associated with tiers of game performance rankings. The findings suggest that while there are links between participation in multiplayer online videogames, additional research must be done to tease out the exact nature of those links and to relate them to offline experiences. In addition while the instrumentation and conceptual frameworks that both define and measure online leadership as expressed in these games have yet to be developed, the study suggests there may be value in extending and enhancing existing leadership constructs, concepts and tool sets such as the Sloan Model and the MLQ to derive such measures. The study also provides future researchers with an enhanced understanding of online data collection as well as a sufficient foundation to further examine areas of correlation between leadership and performance in online games toward uncovering a set of empirical measures that create a more accurate picture of the substance of and development pathways for online leadership.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Organizational leadership; Video games -- Social aspects; Video games -- Case studies; Leadership

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Faculty Advisor

McManus, John F.;