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Journal of Information Systems Education

Abstract

Emerging telecommunications technology is enabling individuals or organizations to jointly create “virtual organizations.” These organizations can exploit opportunities that require a variety of resources or skills not possessed by any individual member. While most MBA programs discuss the growing importance of new organizational forms, our study shows that simulating virtual organizations not only gives students a chance to experience this environment first-hand but can also create new learning opportunities. Students taking introductory MIS classes at two widely separated MBA programs were divided into teams. Each team was assigned to a local organization and asked to examine their process for approving new information system projects. The organizations were selected in pairs, e.g., two electric utility companies, so that each team in one class had a corresponding team studying a similar organization in the other. By comparing their results, both students and participating organizations received a broader perspective of the issue than would have occurred through a purely local study. Overall student reaction was positive, although more so at “East” University than “West.” While technical problems created some early frustrations for West students, there appears to be considerable potential for enhancing virtual links across MBA programs. We offer suggestions for faculty considering incorporating this type of project in the MBA curriculum.

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