Control, virtual or reality?
This paper is concerned with an emerging trend in business today: the materialisation of the virtual organisation, and analyses practices and possible solutions to the problems experienced in relation to control in such an environment, with particular reference to the banking (call centre) sector and teleworking.
Control; Technology; Virtual organisation; Empowerment.
The business environment is in constant flux and transformation, and in recent years the globalisation movement has been a significant factor shaping the structures of organisations in all industries, however, neo-institutional theory is unable to explain clearly, the processes of such organisational change (Powell, 1991), although, the evolution of technology is accredited as being a critical enabler, as Blackler (1994 p. 129) identifies,
'networking technologies in general are especially important; they are associated with a globalisation of the world's economy'.
Due to these technological advances, an organisation is no longer epitomised by merely bricks and mortar, nor are they constrained by geographical, or time boundaries, progressively, organisations are adopting a more resource based view of the firm therefore, as Walters (2000) identifies, it is increasingly important that an organisation develops an 'integrated and co-ordinated' approach in relation to knowledge, technology and relationship management.
Consequently, it becomes more feasible that the term 'organisation' is merely a label we attach to a fluid, social configuration (adapted from Chia 1995, cited in Rollinson et al p. 10), as organisations make the transition to virtuality.
The concept of the virtual organisation has become more appealing in recent years due to the current economic climate, for example, since the deregulation of the banking sector, traditional banks such as Barclays and Lloyds, have faced increasing rivalry from non-traditional competitors such as internet banks (e.g. smile) and supermarkets (e.g. Sainsbury's), which, surprisingly, they have been unable to compete with in...