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The environment:
Working in the Virtual Environment

This lecture will briefly describe the problems posed by the business environment in which modern organizations operate. This is environment is characterized as one in which organizations are subject to the twin pressures of (a) globalization and (b) high rates of organizational and technological change. It will then move on to consider some technological and organizational solutions to these problems.

The notion of working in the 'virtual environment' is one that can be found in many places and is used to denote new organizational forms such as Virtual Teams, Teleworking and Communities of Practice that attempt to address the changed social, economic and technological environments in which such organizations now operate.

These 'virtual' arrangements consist of an organizational structure that relies on multiparty co-operative relationships between people across structural, temporal and geographic boundaries. Workers and organizational units are linked by dense networks of flexible computer based communications that allow them to co-ordinate their activities and combine their skills and resources flexibly in order to achieve common goals.


Key text




The environment in which organizations operate

The Virtual Organization

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