Communications technology is shifting the basic architecture of organizations from hierarchies to networks. Organizations are becoming flatter, increasing the need for peer communication. There are also emerging "virtual" organizations, "temporary network[s] of independent companies ... linked by information technology to share skills, costs, and access to one another's markets" (Byrne et al., 1993). Today, that linking technology is often the Internet, Compuserve or a similar network. For example, one of the authors is currently working with an organization of consultants which is seeking to replace its outdated "F-style" communication (fone, fax and fly) with a much cheaper and more effective Internet-based system. This organization has no headquarters and makes extensive use of ad hoc task forces to address specific issues. This paper describes a project which attempts to offer MBA students realistic exposure to work in a such a virtual organization as a pedagogical exercise. Two MIS classes at widely separated universities were each divided into teams. Each team was assigned to study a local organization. Then, based on the type of organization being studied, teams were paired (one from each university) and asked to exchange results over the Internet and come to some joint conclusions. This type of project also provides potential research opportunities. The length and format are more realistic than typical lab studies, while offering better control and subject availability than field research
Dobing, Brian and Parsons, Jeffrey, "Using The Internet To Simulate Virtual Organizations In MBA Curricula" (1995). AMCIS 1995 Proceedings. 191.