Paradigm shifts in business and management towards a metaverse based (3DWeb) economic model


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In the recent decade and perhaps more, management and organizational experts have focused increased attention on the links between digitalization and digital transformation (Liu et al., 2011; Liu et al., 2022; Scuotto et al., 2022; Shen et al., 2021; Caputo et al., 2019) along with big data analytics (Ardito et al., 2019; Singh & Del Giudice, 2019).Ultimately, digital transformation is a digital adoption cycle that highlights the industrial need to engage and interact in business using digital means, domains, and tools. The acceleration of technology provided the platforms where we are now able to interact, socialize, create and collaborate in the two-dimensional online world.  

The special issue aims to enhance the management decision literature in the context of the digital transformation. Especially, it calls for a deep investigation on the metaverse context that is influencing several industries. In fact, the digital transformation is a digital adoption cycle that highlights the industrial need to engage and interact in business using digital means, domains, and tools. Second, new insights are going to be offered on the acceleration of technology where new platforms have emerged. In turn, companies are now able to interact, socialize, create and collaborate in the two-dimensional online world. 

Third, the special issue seeks to address general business community queries on whether such technological synergy allows businesses to transition from traditional forms of business processes to new innovative mechanisms and also where the initial engagement of digital technologies was used as a tool to upgrade existing business programmes. Matt et al. (2015) highlights digital transformation strategies have certain elements in common that can be distilled down to four main dimensions; the use of digital technologies; changes in value creation; structural changes and financial aspects. These four main dimensions determine the change in the complexity and new competencies required to develop new thinking, strategic orientation to support management decision making, starting with the decision to adopt perpetual change through digital technologies first. 

Digital technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR) , augmented reality (AR) , blockchain, Internet of Things (IoTs), Internet of Vehicle (IoV) technology (Pan et al., 2020; Sestino et al. 2020; Schiopu et al., 2021; Yavuz et al., 2021) have revolutionized business in the traditional sense and allowed it to expand by providing a solution and solving time and spatial problems and thus creating prospects for synchronicity and collaboration.  

Using Augmented Reality technology, the Metaverse is a virtual world experienced by users in the first person (Zhu et al., 2022; Hirsch, 2022). The term was coined by science fiction writer Neal Stephenson in his 1992 novel "Snow Crash." (McFarlane, 2022; Zhu et al., 2022; Belk et al., 2022; Hirsch, 2022; Arpaci et al., 2022; Huggett, 2020). As the Internet has expanded and social media apps have proliferated, virtual worlds have become increasingly popular (Arpaci et al., 2022; Huggett, 2020). Artificial intelligence (AI) advancements have led to people shifting their lives to virtual settings (Dwivedi et al., 2022). It is an interactive, immersive, and collaborative virtual environment shared across online audiences (Needleman, 2021). Individuals interact on digital platforms through customised characters to perform, play, and socialize in the Metaverse (Duan et al., 2021). While Metaverse is described as a newly discovered technological product, it is actually a transformation process that illustrates how people can utilize technology and integrate it into their lives (Lee, 2021). In virtual reality, users are less conscious of their bodies, which may alter their perception of time (Duan et al., 2021; Arpaci et al., 2022). A virtual universe and the notion of creating a second existence raise social and psychological challenges, but they are viewed as the world's new reality and even a digital explosion (MacCallum & Parsons, 2019). Metaverse technology is a huge risk for organizations but becoming involved and a contender for management is a huge opportunity (Kang, 2021).   

The metaverse is often referred to as Web 3.0 (Cook et al. 2020), changing the way we interact with the digital world (Austin 2021). Due to its complexity, there is no clear consensus on how to define or describe this concept (Smart, Cascio, and Paffendorf 2007). According to the metaverse (Zhu et al., 2022; Belk et al., 2022; Hirsch, 2022), avatars (or embodied selves), synchronization, being three-dimensional (or virtual), interoperability, and interactive, immersive, and social experiences. In the metaverse, people interact synchronously using avatars in interoperable persistent virtual environments (Zhu, 2022; Belk, 2022). Changes in definition may occur as the metaverse evolves.  

Technology enthusiasts can see metaverse as an opportunity (Dwivedi et al., 2022). The adoption of new technology is always associated with a variety of risks (Shankar et al., 2021). The linked nature of the Metaverse raises privacy concerns (Dwivedi et al., 2022). Data and personal information can simply be stolen by targeting non-accessible systems (Dwivedi et al., 2022; Indarta et al., 2022). People may be hesitant to use the Metaverse extensively as a result (Kim, 2021; Dwivedi et al., 2022; Indarta et al., 2022). Furthermore, very little research has been conducted on the Metaverse. The metaverse trend is gaining traction among leading tech companies. Platforms and content providers such as Roblox and Zepeto are part of the metaverse ecosystem, along with feature providers e.g., avatar technology.   

Due to firms' increased adoption and adaptation of metaverse, artificial intelligence, and blockchain technologies, e-marketplace competition has also been disrupted (Dwivedi et al., 2022; Indarta et al., 2022). COVID-19 is also associated with fluxes (Zaman et al., 2022; Tan & Salo, 2021; Polas et al., 2022). Others, however, have either copied business models or lost the bus in innovating their models (Kim, 2021; Dwivedi et al., 2022). As a strategic asset, AI can also benefit small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs). According to the study, adopting BT means accepting and using AI to provide services such as manufacturing, order reservation, and payment. Most businesses worldwide are small and medium-sized enterprises (Tan & Salo, 2021; Polas et al., 2022). In general, SMEs lack knowledge about how to adopt AI and BT. A challenging business environment has forced SMEs to compete against established and emerging competitors, as well as to meet rising consumer expectations (Polas et al., 2022). Only a few empirical studies have examined BT adoption behavior and the sustainability of business, particularly for SMEs (Dwivedi et al., 2022; Zaman et al., 2022; Austin 2021).  

They also allow for intelligent automation and virtualization to build a symbiotic interaction between the physical and digital domains, resulting in what is now known as the "digital twins" business model (Golovina et al, 2020). Interestingly, the latter was an effort indicating industry's intention, interest, and need to converge the potential of all the aforementioned technologies in a bio-digital construct that will combine both living and inanimate material onto a digital landscape that will allow all the new and novel technologies to integrate seamlessly. This technological seamless integration will allow managers of the future to develop new ways in shaping, strategizing and developing decision making process. The nature of management decision making is changing as for example real time big data, are now enhancing decision making process by allowing managers to make prescriptive decisions. The introduction of AI allows decision making process to evolve from prescriptive analysis to predictive analysis. This is just one example in how technology alters the way a business may now formulate and rationalise decisions that will be augmented by technology.   

That construct more recently was termed as the “metaverse”. The Metaverse, which was previously imagined in fictional literature (Stephenson, 1992), is now envisioned as a globally accessible and collectively used multidimensional (3D) virtual space and computing infrastructure created by the convergence of virtually enhanced physical reality and physically persistent virtual space. Having gained from traditional gaming development, elements like gamification, virtualization and simulation are only some new modes of engagement. Various extrapolations on technical, social, legal, economic, and other features and considerations have been attempted to anticipate the growth and success of Metaverse-related developments (Metaverse Roadmap, 2007: Foresight). Recently, 'progress indicators' such as social indicators (e.g., digital rights management policies, patent laws), business indicators (e.g., business models), or technological indicators (e.g., wearable technologies) have been defined in this context, which may help to evaluate the achieved progress (Metaverse Roadmap, 2007: Progress Indicators). Instead of seeing the Metaverse as a goal in and of itself, we want to see it as a vehicle for changes in cyber-physical development on several levels. In this spirit, first steps have been undertaken to provide interoperability or accessibility across existing virtual worlds (IEEE, 2015; ISO/IEC, 2015). 

Park and Kim (2022) identify the different components of the Metaverse as the combination of technologies and derived new areas of social interaction, value exchange, entrepreneurship, communications and management activity. According to the authors, these components are, “virtual landscapes and domains shaping the 3Web (VR/AR/XR), “embodied” and “multimodal” “interaction” (persona modelling, avatars, avatar fashion, digital object ownership), monetisation of 3DWeb interaction and digital landscape and object value (cryptocurrency/NFTs/Tokenisation) and the list continues to grows more as new areas of commercial activities are revealed in the metaverse. Areas of application of the metaverse include simulation and training, (gamification and strategy development, future of work and operation management, Marketing and Digital communications, Social Interation & Digital community building Education, Research and Ethics (Blackshear et al. 2021; Truong et al. 2021; Siyaev and Jo, 2021). Given the very limited business & management research and constraint understanding of the metaverse as an enterprise ecosystem, business model, marketing strategy, we see the need and opportunity for bettering our understanding of how the metaverse fits in the digital transformation spectrum, and how this virtualization of business in a 3D world may offer for industries of the future to grow sustainably. There seems to be a need to see beyond the shine and novelty of new technologies and explore the anthropological & cultural repercussions, the socioeconomic opportunities, and threats as well the ethical exploration and debate we need to engage in engaging to the metaverse, a 3D spatial data creating world of consumer behaviours and interactions. We intend to stimulate research towards that end and welcome, empirical, theoretical but also methodological papers that can contribute to better understanding of the future of business and society in the metaverse and its relationship with digital transformation. 

There seems to be a convergence of all these technological advances merging into a metaverse called Web 3.0 (Zhu et al., 2022; Belk et al., 2022; Hirsch, 2022). It is important to note that there are multiple definitions, concepts, and platforms that claim to be real (Caulfield 2021). In spite of the fact that the metaverse will not replace the Internet as a whole, people will view it as an integral part of their digital lives in the future (Smart, Cascio, and Paffendorf, 2007). In the future, advertising will certainly play a significant role in society, as Zuckerberg predicted (Associated Press, 2021). The ability to understand how businesses are evolving their offerings in the metaverse is vital as the space continues to develop. Both theoretically and practically, this area has been largely underexplored (Zhu et al., 2022; Belk et al., 2022; Hirsch, 2022). It is not known whether metaverse theories have been tested in the metaverse space (Belk et al., 2022; Hirsch, 2022).  

The proposed SI aims to understand the transition and transformation of businesses by using both indicative and deductive research methods. This special issue focuses on both the conceptual and empirical studies of decision-making and the path a company may take as part of their digital transformation journey, aiming to participate in a metaverse-based future of business. 


List of topic areas

The issue of metaverse for business as an evolutionary step of Digital Enterprise Transformation is vast and seems to be under-explored both experimentally and philosophically. We invite articles that aim to investigate this new phenomenon from viewpoints and research streams other than those often seen in the industrial marketing literature. We think that by doing so, we might encourage transdisciplinary research. In this line, we have suggested two research directions entitled as follows:

Theme 1: Evolving management strategy in a post-digital era:  The shift in decision making towards a metaverse based (3DWeb) economic model 

This topic encourages research on:  

  • Financial Decision making and Cryptocurrencies  
  • Shaping B2B and B2C management strategies and decision making using 3DWeb digital communications  
  • Shaping monetisation of 3DWeb digital content and NFTs 
  • Developing the Social metaverse (3D Web) : Market impact and influences toward management thinking. 
  • Shift in management approaches in Entertainment, Events and Leisure in the Metaverse.  
  • Digital Avatars: User identity, notions of digital property rights, digital security, and avatars and their combined impact to digital communities. 
  • Artificially Intelligent Decision Making: Who Asks the questions and who decides  
  • Digital Transformation & The Future of Work  
  • Spatial Data, Ethics, Ownership. 
  • Digital Entrepreneurship, Social Enterprise and Digital community Building, social Enterprise and Business Modelling for the Metaverse  


Theme 2: Changing paradigms of business and management in the metaverse 

This topic encourages research on:  

  • Theoretical advancements in metaverse 
  • Bright and dark side of metaverse in business applications 
  • Metaverse and shared/platform economy 
  • Technological advancements in metaverse 
  • Metaverse v/s Metaworse - Case specific and sector specific analysis 
  • Metaverse and digital twins  
  • Humanizing metaverse using problematizing; theorizing and contextualizing research 
  • Measuring and enhancing business value of metaverse 
  • Consumer psychology and engagement in the world of metaverse 
  • Responsible and explainable metaverse 
  • Equality, Diversity, Inclusion and Stakeholder Management in Metaverse 
  • Economies of Scale of Metaverse in Businesses 

Areas of Coverage: 

  • Entrepreneurship and Social Enterprise 
  • Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability 
  • Business Policy and Strategic Management 
  • International Management and Organizations 
  • Organizational Behavior and HRM 
  • Operations Management and Logistics Research 
  • Controversial Issues in Management and Organizations 
  • Turnaround, Corporate Entrepreneurship, and Innovation 
  • Legal Issues, Business Ethics, and Firm Governance 
  • Managerial Accounting and Firm Financial Affairs 
  • Non-traditional Research and Creative Methodologies 
  • Managerial Marketing Research  

This Special Issue aims to publish papers that work on theory advancements or theory development using empirical studies, case-based approach, experimental research methods, etc. We do not encourage bibliometric based analysis, however reviews like umbrella review; scoping review; meta ethnographic reviews would be given consideration.   


Special Issue Guest Editors: 

Theme 1 Guest Editors 

Manlio Del Giudice,  
Link Campus University, Italy
[email protected] 

Theo Tzanidis, 
University of the West of Scotland, UK
[email protected] 

Veronica Scuotto, 
University of Napoli Federico II, Italy
[email protected] 

K. Mathiyazhagan  
Thiagarajar School of Management, Madurai - 625005, Tamilnadu, India 

Matthew Frew  
University of the West of Scotland, UK
[email protected] 


Theme 2 Guest Editors 

Abhishek Behl 
Management Development Institute, Gurgaon, India 
[email protected] 

Justin Zhang 
University of North Florida, USA
[email protected]


Submission Information  

Submissions are made using ScholarOne Manuscripts. Registration and access are available by clicking the button below.

Submit your paper here!

When submitting please choose the special issue: “Paradigms shift of business and management towards a metaverse based (3DWeb) economic model ” as the article type from the drop-down menu. Additionally, please specify which theme you choose in the cover letter.
Author guidelines must be strictly followed.
Submitted articles must not have been previously published, nor should they be under consideration for publication anywhere else, while under review for this journal.    
Interested authors are welcome to discuss their research ideas in the form of an extended abstract by contacting the guest editors. The abstract should be written with Emerald's style in mind. The idea of proposing an abstract is to share preliminary feedback with the interested authors. For any questions, interested authors can contact the corresponding guest editor: Veronica Scuotto ([email protected]) (Theme 1) and Abhishek Behl ([email protected]) (Theme 2) 


Key Deadlines 

Submissions Open: 1 August 2023 
Submission Due Date: 1 November 2023 



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