Modeling of virtual organization (VO) can be a useful method of making sense of a plethora of organizations that are proclaimed to be “virtual,” “virtualized,” or to exhibit “virtualness.” Since the advent of these notions (Byrne, 1993; Davidow & Malone, 1992; Mowshowitz, 1994), an enormous proliferation of VOs has followed in theory and practice across academic disciplines and industries. Being “virtual” had almost become a fashion embraced by corporations and other businesses, groups of organizations engaged in cooperation/collaboration or trading, libraries, schools, government organizations, non-government organizations, churches, museums, and so on. The implication of these developments is that it has become difficult to reach an agreement on what VO is beyond the customary agreement at a lexical level. Lexically, the virtual character refers to a potentiality and effect that divert from the actual appearance of a virtual thing (Webster, 1988). Thus, a VO is an effect of interaction of what in fact are different organizations or constituents of organizations (groups and individuals). Introduced by inventors of VO, this axiom has remained undisputed to date.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Interoperability: Synchronizing of operations with VO partners.
ISSAAC: A general ontological model of VO that can be used for identifying and assessing virtual designs and capability.
Cybernization: An organization’s functioning in the space that is created by information systems and electronic information flows.
Special Product: Non-standard characteristics of the goods or services delivered by individual members or jointly.
Virtualness, Virtualization: A manifestation of VO characteristics.
Switching: An organization’s or individual’s alternating of their membership in different VOs.
Aggregation: Electronic networking with other organizations and individuals to form a VO.
Anchoring: Support that cybernization has in the management, structural, process, cultural, political, and strategic aspects of an organization.
Virtual Organization: A switchable interorganizational electronic network that delivers special products. Also, a member of this network that exhibits ISSAAC dimensions (is virtualized).