Virtual Communities and Collaborations


Organizational research shows how mismatches between organizational design characteristics and contingency factors lead to lower performance. This research explores knowledge as a structural contingency factor in virtual organizations. Employing a computational organization model to generate theory driven experiments, the performance effects of different types of knowledge (i.e., tacit and explicit) interacting with organizational coordination mechanisms (e.g., direct supervision and mutual adjustment) in complex environments where multiple organizations rapidly develop reciprocal interdependencies is explored. Should managers understand how performance is affected by the interaction of knowledge types available and various coordination mechanisms? This research shows that a mutual adjustment coordination mechanism is most fit when teams are made up of people with a high level of tacit knowledge. There are interesting interaction effects across the different performance variables; hence, managers in virtual organizations faced with reciprocal interdependencies should apprise themselves of the knowledge types associated with interacting boundary spanning teams.