From Virtual Organization to E-Business: Transformational Structuration

From Virtual Organization to E-Business: Transformational Structuration

James J. Lee (Seattle University, USA), Bandula Jayatilaka (State University of New York at Binghamton, USA), Ben B. Kim (Seattle University, USA), Ted E. Lee (University of Memphis, USA), Pairin Katerattanakul (Western Michigan University, USA) and Soongoo Hong (Dong-A University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-462-8.ch010
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Abstract

This article shows how the technical hype of 1990s has been transformed into the e-business organizations at the beginning of the 21st century. The authors took an interpretive stance in this study, grounded theory, and investigated the ontology of virtual organization by the metaphorical analysis. The metaphorical analysis adopted in this study provides the analytical power to conceptualize the social structure of virtual organization in the context of structuration theory with the process of grounded theory. As the e-business structuration indicates in this study, virtualization, the metaphor of virtual organization is interpreted as flexible domination, where the rational relationships in power distribution with other e-business characterized temporal (virtual) bond with low switching costs.
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Virtual Organization Structures

After Lakoff and Johnson (1980) established the academic foundation of metaphors, scholars have used them in business literature. As discussed in his latest publication, Lackoff (2001) declared that even mathematics originated from metaphors of our consciousness. As we accepted theorems and axioms in geometry as a given without any reservations (Reichenbach, 1958), our languages in academic world fundamentally started from our concepts and these concepts are produced, reproduced, and transformed (Giddens, 1984) by our scholarly processes from insight, analogy, isomorphism, and finally to scientific model (Beer, 1984). The problem lies in how we use the metaphors to analyze and interpret the phenomenon a researcher wants to investigate. In organizational studies, metaphors have been used continuously (Palmer, 1996; Gibson et al., 2001; Pentland, 1995; Gioia et al., 1984; Garud et al., 1993; Lennie, 1999) after Morgan (2006) ignited the modern use of metaphors. There have been arguments on how to use metaphors in organization study and some even claimed the inappropriate use of metaphors in the field (Tinker, 1986; Bourgeois et al., 1983).

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