Pub. date: 2007 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952651 | Print ISBN: 9781412924702 | Online ISBN: 9781412952651| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Virtual organizations are composed of employees spread across different locations who perform different jobs and may also have different cultural identities. These dispersed and diverse employees are joined together by communication technologies such as the telephone, fax, e-mail, Internet, and instant messaging. Some employees of virtual organizations may work alone, functioning essentially as telecommuters. Others, however, may work clustered together in traditional offices. In either case, the virtual organization is spread out over multiple geographic locations. There are two important characteristics of virtual organizations: (a) They depend on teams, and (b) they have a very fluid structure. Virtual organizations use teams to conduct most of their work. This means that employees must depend on each other to complete their work. Additionally, teams form and disperse frequently and easily. Thus, the organizational structure changes often as teams reorganize to meet the organization's needs. Although the concept of a virtual organization in ...