While single-domain and application-specific “organized networks” are known and have been in use throughout history, the concept of virtual organizations (VO) as such is very young (Camarinha-Matos, Banahan, & Sousa, 2004). In addition, virtual organizations encompass a wide range of typologies in structure, topology, and time span, as well as life cycle coverage (Karvonen, Salkari, & Ollus, 2005). Even though specific categories of VOs are more and more understood (i.e. supply chains, extended enterprises and other types of networks) and systematically supported by dedicated methods and tools, the “management” of their activities in terms of fostering the coordinated target achievement is still in its beginnings. Hence the management of generic VOs is even less systematically researched, which in itself constitutes a major challenge. It is important to note that VO management is about the management of business processes going over and across the VO members, it is not about the management of the constituent members themselves. VO management denotes the organization, allocation, and coordination of resources and their activities, as well as their interorganizational dependencies, to achieve the objectives of the VO within the required time, cost, and quality frame (ECOLEAD, 2005).
Key Terms in this Chapter
VO Management Methods: Something that a VO manager uses in order to achieve the VO objectives. VO management methods are enablers for the VO manager to reach the objectives in a controlled fashion. Examples are motivation, punishment, dishonoring, rewarding, replanning schedule, resource allocation and responsibilities, authorization, trust building, openness, training, guidance, templates, communication, and team building.
VO Management Control Loop: Involves the steps plan, measure, and act: plan is to define the required and expected VO behavior; observe and measure means information collection, calculate, comparison, and identification of deviations and trends; and act is to decide on action based on observations.
Virtual Organizations Breeding Environment (VBE): Represents an association or pool of organizations and their related supporting institutions that have both the potential and the will to cooperate with each other through the establishment of a “base” long-term cooperation agreement and interoperable infrastructure.
Performance Measurement in a Virtual Organisation (VOPM): Provides quantitative and qualitative data about the state of the virtual organization. By doing this, it essentially contributes to the success of the VO, which depends on well-founded management decisions and clear orientation for the people involved.
Virtual Organization (VO): “A VO is a temporary consortium of partners from different organisations established to fulfil a value-adding task, for example a product or service, to a customer” (Kürümlüoglu et al., 2005).
Project: Management: The discipline of defining and achieving targets while optimizing the use of resources (time, money, people, materials, energy, space, etc.) over the course of a project (a set of activities of finite duration). In contrast to ongoing, functional work, a project is “a temporary endeavour undertaken to create a unique product or service” (Wikipedia).
VO Management: Denotes the organization, allocation, and coordination of resources and their activities, as well as their interorganizational dependencies, to achieve the objectives of the VO within the required time, cost, and quality frame (ECOLEAD D32.1).