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Virtual organisations: new lamps for old

David Walters (Macquarie University, Ryde, New South Wales, Australia)

Management Decision

ISSN: 0025-1747

Publication date: 1 August 2000


The literature contains an ongoing debate concerning virtual or boundaryless organisations. This article suggests that virtual/boundaryless organisations are a logical continuation of the development of industrial organisation. We can see three important recurrent management characteristics demonstrating continuity throughout the period reaching from the Industrial Revolution through to the virtual organisation. These are knowledge management, technology management and relationship management. Furthermore, there can also be seen an important issue for management concerning market competitiveness; this is the necessity of identifying and managing the interfaces between these management areas. The article reviews the development of industrial organisation and proposes a model, which offers a basis for evaluating the design of virtual organisations, and attempts to answer the question: is the virtual organisation a “new lamp”?



Walters, D. (2000), "Virtual organisations: new lamps for old", Management Decision, Vol. 38 No. 6, pp. 420-436.




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