Governing E-Collaboration in E-Lance Networks
Robert Hooker (Florida State University, USA), Carmen Lewis (Florida State University, USA), Hugh Smith (Florida State University, USA), Molly Wasko (Florida State University, USA), James Worrell (Florida State University, USA) and Tom Yoon (Florida State University, USA)
Copyright: © 2008
In this article, we focus on the role of brokers as the essential facilitators of e-collaboration. E-lance brokers are Web-based and serve as online clearinghouses for information about customers and their projects, as well as suppliers of services seeking work, allowing knowledge work to be traded like a commodity. Brokers bring together those seeking services and those who can provide those services to meet the particular needs of the customer. The study of the different ecollaboration tools used by e-lance brokers provides important insights into how loosely coupled, autonomous agents exchange services through e-lance forms of organization. Examining the different e-collaboration mechanisms and how these mechanisms translate into successful transactions, is essential for understanding the future of knowledge work. Since knowledge-based work can be codified and shared electronically, such as software development, consulting, translation, and accounting, e-collaboration tools enabled through ICTs present viable alternatives to traditional models of organizing.
Key Terms in this Chapter
E-Lance Economy: New economy where knowledge work is largely accomplished through fluid, temporary networks where individual e-lancers band together to exploit specific business opportunities.
Social Controls: Informal mechanisms to encourage self-governance and self-control, such as concerns about reputation, imposing collective sanctions, and restricting access to certain types of exchanges.
Human Asset Specificity: The knowledge assets individuals possess in the form of specific skills or expertise regarding a particular area of interest for the firm.
Network Governance: A form of governance based on social controls, rather than bureaucratic structures and/or formal contractual relationships.
E-Lancers: Freelance employees integrating their efforts through networked information and communication technologies.
Demand Uncertainty: The lack of a predictable level of demand for services.
Task Complexity: The need for specialized inputs and processes, resulting either from an increased scope of activities, number of unique functions that need integration, the complexity of the products or services being created, or the number of different markets being served.
E-Lance Broker: Brings together those seeking services and those who can provide those services to meet the particular needs of the customer through e-collaboration tools.