The Live Action Role-Playing Game the Masquerade as an Organizational Culture: an Ethnographic Study of the Game's Organizational Symbolism

Date of Graduation

Summer 1998


Master of Arts in Communication



Committee Chair

Randy Dillon


This study is an ethnography of The Masquerade LARP game's organizational culture. Role-playing games in general and live action role-playing in particular have escaped the attention of organizational communication researchers. Believing that The Masquerade game is an excellent context for organizational communication research due to the crucial role of communication between players, the researcher analyzed this entity from the lens of an organizational culture approach by focusing on the game's organizational symbolism. The present study was conducted as an ethnographic method of research through the researcher's observation and participation in the game under investigation. Complementary qualitative data were collected in interviews and an e-mail questionnaire. Data indicated that in addition to using organizational argot, metaphor, and stories in their game's organizational culture, players of The Masquerade utilized the device of metonymy as a symbolic form indicating ways in which they communicate their characters' experiences in the game. Additional inquiry into the nature of metaphor and metonymy, and their functions within the game's culture, demonstrated the multiple functioning of these devices in The Masquerade organizational symbolism.

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© Margarita V Sevcik