Virtual Organizations B.E.T. on People to Succeed! Human Factors in Virtual Organizations: Boundary-less Communication, Environment, and Trust

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Authors: F. Soto

Publication Year: 2011


Journal: Journal of Strategic Leadership

Volume: 3

Issue: 1

Categories: Digital Transformation, Virtual Organizations


Twenty-first century business is in the midst of a social and economic revolution, shifting from rigid to permeable structures and processes and creating something new—the boundary-less organization. Handy asserts that large parts of organizations are now made up of ad hoc mini organizations, projects collated for a particular time and purpose, drawing their participants from both inside and outside the parent organization. These entities exist “as activities not as buildings; their only visible sign is an E-mail address!” The term virtual tends to be used in reference to things that are not real but are primarily carried out in an electronic medium. On the other hand, boundaries, environment, and trust are very real human factors that emerge in the virtual environment and need to be addressed to achieve organizational success. The three primary objectives of this paper include: (a) to provide a broad inclusive rather than a rigid definition of virtual organizations by examining various uses and context of the word virtual, (b) to address three essential human factors (e.g., boundary-less communication, environment, and trust) that emerge from the interpretations of other researchers in conjunction with virtual organizations, and (c) provide leaders of virtual organizations with suggestions for addressing key human factors. These humanfactors are organized using the acrostics B.E.T. which illustrate B for boundary-less communications, E for environment, and T for trust. Each objective is addressed in this paper and helps to delineate the scope upon which the rest of this paper can be built.