AI and Society 21 (1-2):184-199 (2006)

The emergence of the virtual network enterprise represents a dynamic response to the crisis of the vertical bureaucracy type of business organisation. However, its key performance criteria—interconnectedness and consistency—pose tremendous challenges as the completion of the distributed tasks of the network must be integrated across the barriers of missing face-to-face clues and cultural differences. The social integration of the virtual network involves the creation of identities of the participating nodes, the building of trust between them, and the sharing of tacit and explicit knowledge among them. The conventional organisation already doing well in these areas seems to have an edge when going virtual. The paper argues that the whole question of management and control must be reconsidered due to the particular circumstances in the ‘Network Society’. The paper outlines a suggestion for an exploratory, socio-technical research approach combining the dimensions of context, subject and action with the twin objectives of contributing to the enhancement of collaborative capabilities in virtual teams as well as improving the insights into the nature of virtual work.
Keywords Virtual enterprise  Trust  Identity  Knowledge sharing  Scope of control
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Reprint years 2007
DOI 10.1007/s00146-005-0029-y
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