Networked and virtual organizations (NVO’s) represent a new organizational paradigm, but no effective management solution exists. NVOs are supposed to be dynamically reconfigurable and more effective to manage than traditional organizations, even though the roles embedded within their structures disappear when a project is done. No matter how short-lived, a key opportunity afforded by an NVO is to extract its performance data for better control and also to measure its cultural and technological integration. To capture the essence of such a metric, we review traditional organizations. Whether a real or virtual organization, the central problem remains the lack of a theory of dynamic interdependence generated by social situations as when forming a dyad between two humans alters the cognitions and actions of both. Introduced to solve this central problem, the quantum mathematical model of dynamic social interdependence has recently gained credibility in the field and from a pilot study in the laboratory. Our ultimate aim is to develop a real-time metric to control and optimize NVO performance.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Quantum: In a social context, a series of discrete, nonlinear changes from the dynamic interdependence between action and observation occurring inside of social-psychological barriers expressed in humans as emotions. Quantum mathematics combines static information (observation) and dynamic information (action).
Organization: An aggregation of agents dedicated to a project that cannot be solved by isolated agents. Roles for organizational agents form its structure based on prior decisions. An organization as the traditional sum of its agent preferences has been largely discredited. Alternatively, an organization is a relatively low energy configuration that makes decisions in a dynamic interdependent environment to defend its territory and expand its influence among other organizations. During decisions, negation among two or more agents serves as nonlinear drivers across the landscape of potential solutions until a consensus is found among its neutral agents (e.g., potential clients).
Dynamic Interdependence: An effect that changes over time as two or more agents interact. Agents perceive change as continuous although it acts discretely; for example, eye saccades and blinks in humans mostly occur too quickly to disrupt the awareness of interaction continuity. Dynamic interdependence affects uncertainty in two bi-sided factors (i.e., in an organization, plans and execution, or resources and time), causing a loss of information when any one factor is measured; for example, when Agent-1 is asked to self-report on its status, it shifts to a self-observation mode, losing action information.
Measurement Paradox: Rational decision making may be a fiction, but measuring organizations produces only classical information, creating a paradox. A metric must be able to resolve this paradox. Example: As the entropy of a new decision is reduced to a strong consensus (?K low), the more likely there will be sufficient resources (?R high) to enact the decision (?v high) in the shortest time (?t low).
Agent: An organism (e.g., human), artificial agent (robot), or computational virtual object capable of interacting socially with other agents to solve problems that cannot be addressed in isolation (e.g., manufacturing).
Networked and Virtual Organizations (NVOs): A new organizational paradigm of dynamic, reconfigurable, networked, and virtual structures that affords an opportunity to extract metadata about their degree of internal integration and technology penetration.