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A Complexity Science - Based Management Framework for Virtual Organisations


  • Nicolette Papastefanou

    () (Department of Public Relations and Business Communication, Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, South Africa)

  • SE Arnoldi-van der Walt

    (Department of Public Relations and Business Communication, Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, South Africa)


The virtual organisation challenges traditional management assumptions because a new means of coordinating globally dispersed employees is needed. To understand the collective activities of a workforce separated by space and time, this paper describes a complexity science-based management framework for virtual organisations. Specific focus is on a South African virtual organisation as a complex adaptive system. A single, embedded case study strategy was followed, and multiple data sources used to generate theory. In this paper, results are reported that clarify the management of an organisation where technology replaces conventional face-to-face contexts for socialisation and assimilation. The paper shows how managers create a virtual context for sharing meaning and interaction through synergy, empowerment, participation and an accountable, committed workforce.

Suggested Citation

  • Nicolette Papastefanou & SE Arnoldi-van der Walt, 2009. "A Complexity Science - Based Management Framework for Virtual Organisations," Interdisciplinary Management Research, Josip Juraj Strossmayer University of Osijek, Faculty of Economics, Croatia, vol. 5, pages 319-327.
  • Handle: RePEc:osi:journl:v:5:y:2009:p:319-327

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Isabelle Huault & V. Perret & S. Charreire-Petit, 2007. "Management," Post-Print halshs-00337676, HAL.
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    More about this item


    virtual organisation; management; complexity science;

    JEL classification:

    • D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J53 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Labor-Management Relations; Industrial Jurisprudence


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