Encyclopedia of Networked and Virtual Organizations (3 Volumes)

Encyclopedia of Networked and Virtual Organizations (3 Volumes)

Goran D. Putnik (University of Minho, Portugal) and Maria Manuela Cruz-Cunha (Polytechnic Institute of Cavado and Ave, Portugal)
Release Date: March, 2008|Copyright: © 2008 |Pages: 2048
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-885-7
ISBN13: 9781599048857|ISBN10: 159904885X|EISBN13: 9781599048864
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Description & Coverage

The virtual enterprise as a new organizational paradigm has three fundamental features: dynamics of network reconfiguration, virtuality, and external entities as environments for enabling or supporting the virtual enterprise integration as well as reconfiguration dynamics. The field of knowledge on this topic is highly fragmented due to the in existence of a transfer of knowledge between regions, developers, and researchers.

The Encyclopedia of Networked and Virtual Organizations documents 249 of the most relevant contributions authored by over 400 of the world's leading experts to the introduction of networked, dynamic, agile, and virtual organizational models; definitions; taxonomies; opportunities; and reference models and architectures. These volumes pool the existing works, approaches, solutions, and needs of the virtual enterprise research community to create a repository of the main developments regarding the virtual organization, compiling definitions, characteristics, comparisons, advantages, practices, enabling technologies, and best practices.


The many academic areas covered in this publication include, but are not limited to:

  • Advanced design and management systems
  • Agile organizational models
  • Best practices of virtual organizations
  • Business Process Improvement
  • Dynamics of network reconfiguration
  • E-collaborations in virtual organizations
  • E-Commerce
  • Future trends of virtual and networked organizations
  • Information technology management
  • Information technology support for e-learning
  • Knowledge Management
  • Knowledge Transfer
  • Networked and virtual organizations in education
  • Networked and virtual organizations in healthcare
  • Requirements for virtual enterprise integration
  • Strategic e-collaboration
  • Supply chain management in a virtual enterprise
  • Virtual enterprise integration
  • Virtual organization architecture
  • Virtual organization foundations and processes
Reviews and Testimonials

The encyclopedia widens horizons for researchers interested in this emerging field, presenting the state-of-the-art background and developments.

– Goran D. Putnik, University of Minho, Portugal

Putnik and Cunha present a three-volume encyclopedia on networked and virtual organizations, which have 'three fundamental features: dynamics of network reconfiguration, virtuality, and external entities as environments for enabling or supporting the virtual enterprise integration as well as reconfiguration dynamics'.

– Book News Inc. (2008)

Each article includes a formal introduction and conclusion as well as a list of references and a glossary of key terms.

– American Reference Books Annual (2008)

This three-volume set on networked and virtual organizations offers a multifaced and high-level examination of a very contemporary topic. The articles focus on information and communication technology concepts.

– American Reference Books Annual, Vol. 40 (2009)
Table of Contents
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Editor Biographies
Goran D. Putnik received his Dipl. Eng., M.Sci. and Dr.Sci. from the Belgrade University, both M.Sci. and Dr.Sci. in the domain of Intelligent Manufacturing Systems. He is currently Associate Professor, at Department of Production and Systems Engineering, University of Minho (Portugal) and teaches, or has taught, a number of subjects in the area of CIM, IMS, Concurrent Engineering, Design Theory, and Virtual Enterprises on undergraduate and post-graduate studies. He served as the Director of the Centre for Production Systems Engineering (CESP) and as the Director of the Master Course on CIM, at the University of Minho. Dr. Putnik’s scientific and engineering interests are manufacturing systems and enterprises design and control theory and implementation, design theory and design engineering, formal theory of production systems and enterprises, and distributed, agile and virtual enterprises. He regularly publishes articles and presents papers on conferences. In last years his special attention is on the topic of Virtual Enterprises for which he organized a research group and a number of research projects and has been also an invited speaker by international research groups.
Maria Manuela Cruz-Cunha is currently an Associate Professor in the School of Technology at the Polytechnic Institute of Cavado and Ave, Portugal. She holds a Dipl. Eng. in the field of Systems and Informatics Engineering, an M.Sci. in the field of Computer Integrated Manufacturing and a Dr.Sci in the field of Production Systems Engineering. She teaches subjects related to Information Systems, Information Technologies and Organizational Models to undergraduate and post-graduate studies. She supervises several PhD projects in the domain of Virtual Enterprises and Information Systems and Technologies. She regularly publishes in international peer-reviewed journals and participates in international scientific conferences. She serves as a member of Editorial Boards and as an Associate Editor for several International Journals and for several Scientific Committees of International Conferences. She has authored and edited several books and her work appears in more than 100 papers published in journals, book chapters and conference proceedings. She is the co-founder and co-chair of several international conferences: CENTERIS – Conference on ENTERprise Information Systems, ViNOrg - International Conference on Virtual and Networked Organizations: Emergent Technologies and Tools and SeGAH – IEEE International Conference on Serious Games and Applications for Health.
Editorial Review Board
Peter Bernus
Griffith University, Australia

Luis M. Camarinha-Matos
Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal

Subhasish Dasgupta
The George Washington University, USA

Janet Efstathiou
University of Oxford, UK

Eldaw E. Eldukhri
Cardiff University, UK

Ricardo Gonçalves
Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal

Bernard Grabot
l'Ecole Nationale d'Ingénieurs de Tarbes, France

Eric den Hartigh
Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands

Harinder S. Jagdev
University of Manchester, UK

Stanislav Karapetrovic
University of Alberta, Canada

Bernhard Katzy
University of Leiden, Germany

Bill Lawless
Paine College, USA

Nada Lavrac
Jozef Stefan Institute, Slovenia

Vladimir Marik
Czech Technical University in Prague, Czech Republic

Abbe Mowshowitz
The City College of New York, USA

Shimon Y. Nof
Purdue University, USA

Eugenio Oliveira
Universidade do Porto, Portugal

Nicolaos Protogeros
University of Macedonia, Greece

Vinesh Raja
University of Warwick, UK

Thomas Saaty
University of Pittsburgh, USA

Weiming Shen
The University of Western Ontario, Canada

Antonio Lucas Soares
Universidade do Porto, Portugal

Bob Travica
University of Manitoba, Canada

Ljubo Vlacic
Griffith University, Australia

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About the subject: Networked and Virtual Organizations

Our global society is growing in complexity virtually on the daily base and in all social dimensions. This is happening to the companies, businesses and economies, culture and education, political and social organizations on virtually all levels, regions within one state, state itself, inter-states and inter-state groups, as well as to individuals and group of individuals, and any other subset of our society. One of the manifestations of this process, the “daily” growing in complexity, is that the “old” or “traditional” approaches do not have sufficient capacity to deal with and that, consequently, new organization models are sought (virtually on the daily base too) for virtually all aspects or domains of organizations, across human (social) and technical, formal and informal organizations.

From the other hand, knowledge and physical resources required to deal with the emerging problems (e.g. associated to the development and production of most of today’s products, or capacity to produce an impact on a citizen service quality) often exceed what a single unit, firm or individual, is able to accomplish. From this fact had emerged the perception that networking is a promising tool, or mechanism. Additionally, the indispensable use of ICT (Information and Communication Technologies), especially the use of the Internet, brings the notion of “virtuality”.

And this is exactly the subject of this Encyclopedia: Networked and Virtual Organizations, as a tool, or mechanism, or paradigm, that combines (or, responds to the needs for) networking together with the emerging feature of “virtuality” through the use of ICT and the Internet as the characterizing and indispensable technology, for dealing partially, or totally, with the phenomena of today’s world of “daily” growing complexity, spanning virtually over all social dimensions.

Accordingly, the Encyclopedia’s contributing authors address a range of Networked and Virtual Organizations (NVO) different issues, as:

    Concepts, definitions, models and modelling, Processes
    Networks as Communities
    Reference Models
    Legal aspects
    Human & social aspects
    Economic aspects
    Meta-enterprise models
    Supporting environments & infrastructures
    Integration & Interoperability
    Knowledge Management
    Strategic management
    Technologies, Methodologies, Tools
    Information systems
    Performance measures
    NVO semiotics
    R&D projects and supporting programmes, case studies
    Education on VO

and others.

What is the State-of-the-Art?

Currently this field of knowledge is assisting to an explosion of the R&D effort, which is undergoing at an incredible growing rate. The conscientiousness of the new organizational paradigm is currently at such level that it is almost assumed, by a large community, to be a leading organizational model of the future. However, this field of knowledge is highly fragmented. As a consequence, many researches and developers are not aware of the actual state-of-the-art or even of activities undertaken in academic, industrial, regional and business environment. There is also misinterpretation between several concepts such as virtual reality, virtual teams, e-commerce, etc., due to the mentioned fragmentation of knowledge and to the inexistence of transfer of knowledge between regions, developers, researchers. There is also misinterpretation among concepts and definitions originating from different research and development groups or centres due to the mentioned fragmentation of knowledge and to the inexistence of transfer of knowledge between regions, developers, researchers AND USERS.

As an example, there is no still a consensus on Virtual Enterprise (VE) definition. It is still an open question whether (VE) has necessarily the form of dynamically reconfigurable networked structures or not, necessarily collaborative or not, necessarily “virtual” or not, and, further, what is, or better, what are, the interpretations of “virtual”.

In literature there may be found several designations of organizational forms classified as VE, and further as Virtual Organizations, as the Extended Enterprise, the Agile/Virtual Enterprise, the OPIM (One Product Integrated Manufacturing), the Smart Organization, Value Nets, Concurrent Enterprise, the Supply Chain, the BM_Virtual Enterprise, etc., each with its characterising nuances, to mention only some – all of them aiming at providing a definition which would be accepted consensually by the community.

However, unfortunately or not, this has not happened yet. There is so far no unified definition of these concepts and a variety of definitions and a broad terminology to this range of concepts exists in the literature, sharing similarities and sometimes overlapping, and yet few of them have been rigorously systematised. But, at least two are for sure: (1) all VE models have in common ICT as a prerequisite and facilitator, or even the core; (2) All these Virtual Enterprise models belong to the Networked and Virtual Organizations concept, in a much or less broader sense.

Because of these reasons, the high level of fragmentation and low level of knowledge transfer in the area, as well as because of the existing volume of work, diversity of approaches and solutions and needs, this field of knowledge, the knowledge of Networked and Virtual Organizations, is presently in a state to justify the need of an encyclopedia.

Objectives of the Encyclopedia

Two main strategic objectives, or meta-objectives, of the Encyclopedia of Networked and Virtual Organizations, are:

  • to overcome this fragmentation of knowledge, contributing to a more qualitative development of the concept.
  • to incentive and to support future trends for development. On the more specific (object) objectives of the encyclopedia are:
  • to document the emerging paradigm of the networked, virtual, dynamic and agile organizations and enterprises.
  • to clarify of this new and emerging paradigm
  • to document the most relevant contributions, from theory to applications in business, education, health, non-for profit organizations, etc.
  • to document advantages, opportunities and future trends for this organizational model,
  • to constitute a comprehensive state-of-the-art documentation,
  • to create, and to serve as, a repository of the up-to date main developments and characterizations and definitions of the approaches around the subject,
  • to serve as a manual for implementations and development.
  • to serve as support for higher education courses in business, management, IT technologies, industrial engineering, economy, etc

    regarding the networked and virtual organizations in broad sense: definitions, characteristics, comparisons, advantages, reference models and architectures, supporting environments, practices, enabling technologies, best practices.

    The Encyclopedia is expected to incentive and guide technology solution developers, from academe, research institutions and industry, giving them a broader perspective of Networked and Virtual Organizations requirements and raising their awareness on which technology and how technology can serve the needs of an expanding organizational model and on potential that users should be able to exploit. The Encyclopedia widens horizons for researchers interested in this emerging field, presenting the state-of-the-art background and developments.

    In other words, the Encyclopedia provides guidance and helps the awareness, pro-activeness and agility of users, ranging (users) from enterprise managers, including top level managers, to the common citizens, for strategic and dynamic alignment with society requirements and opportunities, on the Networked and Virtual Organizations development and implementations as well as on the evolution of their actual organizations towards Networked and Virtual Organizations.

    The editors are expecting also, that the Encyclopedia will contribute for diffusion of Networked and Virtual Organizations concept in other parts of the world, not only in the most developed countries.

    And, the third meta-objective:

    To prepare the grounds for the future new (2nd ?) generation of the networked and virtual organizations, that will be widely implemented and accepted in our global society becoming the future organization base and becoming a “common place”.

    In other words, maybe, the question is: will the networked and virtual organizations change our global society? (is it, maybe, the most important ?)

    Target readership - users

    The encyclopedia is targeted for an academic audience – teachers, researchers and students, mainly of post-graduated studies, and for professionals – managers, technology solutions developers and enterprise managers (including top level managers), and other, especially users, willing to get knowledge and incentives around the concept.

    The scholarly value of the encyclopedia

    In terms of scholarly value and contribution to the literature in the discipline, the encyclopedia represents a very good

    • overview and discussion of the emerging paradigm, with IT as an underlying technology, presenting contributions by internationally renowned experts,
    • support to research,
    • support to teaching/ul>

      The presentations include, both, compilations of older results as well as completely new and original contributions, not submitted for publication or published elsewhere, which mean that the encyclopedia addresses the area of Networked and Virtual Organizations diachronically and synchronically.

      A number of research themes, problems to be addressed in the future research, examples of analysis of applications, as well as a number of projects from their management point of view are presented, covering all levels of a semiotic framework, i.e. the Social, Pragmatics, Semantics, Syntactic, Empirics, and Physical World levels, for research, development and applications of the Networked and Virtual Organizations concept.

      The Encyclopedia, can be an excellent support to teaching and to research planning, helping and supporting teachers of several graduate and postgraduate courses, from Management to Information Technology, and in particular the emerging new courses on Networked and Virtual Organizations concept itself, providing a basis for understanding a content and area for further study, research and solutions development.

      In this way, the encyclopedia represents a unique presentation of results and interpretations of the area to the widest public, and the unique opportunity for readers to find in one place all proposals, approaches and solutions by a large number of internationally renowned scholars and practitioners, in order to creatively and competitively apply them and to improve.

      Organization of the Encyclopedia

      The Encyclopedia of Networked and Virtual Organizations provides a compendium of terms, definitions and explanations of concepts, processes, acronyms and information. It consists of articles explaining concepts, definitions, models, applications, articles about research/ development/ implementation projects, write-ups or descriptions of applications, in-depth description of key terms and concepts related to networked and virtual organizations.

        The Encyclopedia’s structure follows the IGI Global organization template for encyclopedias, with minor changes. The structure is as follows (see the Table of Contents):

      • List of Authors and Reviewers –complete list of 417 authors of articles and write-ups, and other contributors, together with their affiliation, from 45 countries all over the world,is presented,
      • Articles – 250 explanation articles, including at the end of each article a list of, in medium, 6-8 terms and definitions,
      • Index of Terms and Definitions – that point to more than one thousand terms and definitions associated with each article, and

      At the end, the editors will be grateful to the readers for any constructive critics, proposals for future developments and indication of errors, conceptual, omissions or in typing.