Going Virtual

Going Virtual

Evangelia Baralou (University of Sterling, Scotland) and Jill Shepherd (Simon Fraser University, Canada)
Copyright: © 2005 |Pages: 6
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-561-0.ch051
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Abstract

Virtuality is a socially constructed reality mediated by electronic media (Morse, 1998). Characterized by the dimension of time-space distantiation (Giddens, 1991), virtuality has an impact on the nature and dynamics of knowledge creation (Thompson, 1995). The relentless advancement of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in terms both of new technology and the convergence of technology (e.g., multimedia) is making virtual networking the norm rather than the exception. Socially, virtual communities are more dispersed, have different power dynamics, are less hierarchical, tend to be shaped around special interests, and are open to multiple interpretations, when compared to face-to-face equivalents. To successfully manage virtual communities these differences need firstly to be understood, secondly the understanding related to varying organizational aims and thirdly, the contextualised understanding needs to be translated into appropriate managerial implications.

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