A resource-based view on the management of virtual web organisations
For about two decades academics and practitioners have been dealing with the emerging organisational paradigm of Virtual Organisations. From a inter-organisational perspective virtual organisations are temporary configurations of independent and dispersed companies facilitated by modern information and communication technologies. One particular form of these inter-organisational virtual organisations is the virtual web organisation. The organisational concept of virtual web organisations' encompasses three interrelated organisational elements, namely the virtual web platform, virtual web management and virtual corporations. The virtual web platform is a stable company network of pre-qualified independent partner firms that have generally agreed to co-operate in virtual corporations. The virtual web platform establishes a cooperative environment and prepares the conditions for the formation and operation of dynamic virtual corporations. The management of virtual web organisations facilitates the co-operative management of the virtual web platfom and facilitates the formation and operation of virtual corporations. Based on a literature review of virtual web organisations the researcher identified a need for a better understanding of how virtual web organisations are managed. Thus, this research work aims to investigate virtual web management organisations in order to reach a better understanding that contributes to academic knowledge in the field of inter-organisational virtual organisations as well as to assist practitioners with the management of virtual web organisations. From an interpretative philosophical standpoint the researcher developed a research design that addresses the need for more knowledge about virtual web management organisations. In order to view virtual web management organisations from the inside the researcher made use of resource-based theory and developed a resource-based analytical framework. A qualitative approach was adopted and five interview-based case studies were conducted as well as one participant observation case study. Based on individual within-case analysis the researcher conducted a number of cross-case analyses. Then, the research findings were compared with and discussed in the light of existing literature and knowledge in order to improve the validity of research findings of this research work. The research findings are summarised and presented in form of a resource-based framework of virtual web management organisations. The final resource-based framework of virtual web management organisations presents all sub-competencies commonly employed by virtual web management organisations in order to perform the task of initiating and maintaining virtual web platforms, and the formation of dynamic virtual corporations. Moreover, the resource-based framework of virtual web management organisations describes the content of each sub-competence; it explains the reason and purpose of the identified common sub-competencies; it describes the temporary employment and the interrelation between them; and it provides an overview of resources and capabilities underpinning each sub-competence separately.