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Business trust within virtual organisations

Research output: Working paper

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Abstract

The development of Grid computing technologies has stimulated additional interest in the concept of the virtual organization, with the promise of 'always available' processing power seeming to offer sufficient processing power to overcome any technical obstacles to transparent global inter-organizational working. However, whilst the academic literature has given much attention to the theory of virtual organization there have been few viable real-life examples. This paper reports on research undertaken in the UK Chemicals industry where the technical design of Grid middleware was supported by an interpretive investigation of the 'fit' between the needs of industry and the forms of interorganisational working that the middleware was intended to support. The research suggests that this discrepancy between interest in, and implementation of, virtual organizations may arise from a misunderstanding of the role trust plays in existing business practices and the consequent requirements for supporting trust in a virtual organization. Business relationships emerge to be deeply rooted in personal contact and popular and elusive views of looking at virtual organizing need to be reconsidered in favor of a more context-bounded approach.