Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

An exploration into how live action role-playing game (LARP) participants experience leadership, decision making, and working within a group in non-game social interactions
by Balzac, Stephen R., Ph.D., Capella University, 2016, 205; 10130761
Abstract (Summary)

Roleplaying activities of various sorts are frequently used to train specific skills or to conduct social science studies. The research on the use of roleplays finds that the more realistic the roleplay, the more effective it is as a teaching tool, at least for easily definable behaviors. Activities such as leadership, decision making, and working with a group are all behaviors that are difficult to precisely define but which are also critically important to the ability of a group to accomplish a task. Research on groups finds that groups are more effective when group members are better educated about each of these topics. Viewed from a Dramaturgical perspective, leadership, decision making, and working with a group can be seen as group members filling certain roles and engaging in role appropriate activities in order to accomplish the tasks of the group and manage the impressions group members have of one another. This study employed a qualitative, grounded theory methodology to explore how participants in Live Action Role Playing (LARP) games, a form of immersive, complex, plot-driven roleplay perceive leadership, decision making, and working with a group. A total of 14 participants provided rich, detailed responses to an open-ended questionnaire that explored their perceptions of each of the three topics being investigated, and also explored how they perceived LARP as influencing those perceptions. Based on the results of the study, a theory was developed connecting LARP participation to an enhanced ability to understand leadership, decision making, and working with a group.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Roberts, Rosanne
Commitee: Doogan, Michael, Welch, Deborah
School: Capella University
Department: Social and Behavioral Sciences
School Location: United States -- Minnesota
Source: DAI-B 78/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Social psychology
Keywords: Decision making, LARP, Leadership, Play, Roleplaying
Publication Number: 10130761
ISBN: 9781339885872
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