The larger, the fitter, the better: clans' evolution, social capital and effectiveness

Yiqi Li, Nathan Bartley, Jingyi Sun, Dmitri Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Purpose: Team social capital (TSC) has been attracting increasing research attention aiming to explore team effectiveness through within- and cross-team resource conduits. This study bridges two disconnected theories – TSC and evolutionary theory – to examine gaming clans and analyzes mechanisms of the clans' TSC building from an evolutionary perspective. Design/methodology/approach: This research draws longitudinal data from a sample of gaming teams (N = 1,267) from anonymized player data from the game World of Tanks spanning 32 months. The authors explored teams' evolutionary patterns using hidden Markov models and applied longitudinal multilevel modeling to test hypotheses. Findings: The results showed that teams of different sizes and levels of evolutionary fitness vary in team closure and bridging social capital. The authors also found that larger teams are more effective than smaller ones. The positive association between team-bridging social capital and effectiveness is more substantial for smaller teams. Originality/value: This research advances the theoretical development of TSC by including the constructs of teams' evolutionary status when analyzing strategic social capital building. Adding to existing literature studying the outcome of TSC, this research also found a moderating effect of team size between TSC and effectiveness. Finally, this study also contributes to a longitudinal view of TSC and found significant evolutionary patterns of teams' membership, TSC, and effectiveness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1053-1078
Number of pages26
JournalInternet Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 17 2023


  • Effectiveness
  • Evolution
  • Fitness
  • Gaming clans
  • Social networks
  • team social capital

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics and Econometrics


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