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Changes in Organizational Practice      


As companies migrate their business processes to the Internet, they will experiment with a range of new ways of organizing work. Already, initiatives such as virtual work, geographically-dispersed teams, and electronic collaboration have emerged as important new ways of conducting business. Such initiatives fundamentally alter where, when, how, and with whom work is carried out.

Most observers expect that companies beginning to take advantage of the new opportunities created by Internet and attempting to deal with the competitive challenges associated with operating via the Internet will increase their use of information technology to distribute and restructure work, to facilitate new forms of electronic communication over time and space, and to increase the pace and rhythm of organizational processes. These changes may result in conflict between traditional and new ways of organizing, between traditional and newly established groups, and spur the need for accelerated learning and communication among groups. Our research team is focusing on the impact of the use of information technology in three domains:

  • changes in work practices
  • changes in communication practices
  • changes in temporal practices.

Research Sites and Methodology

For our research we plan to do in-depth observations of a division, group, team, or project for a sustained length of time. We are in the process of assembling a group of companies, or divisions of companies, that are actively migrating their business processes to the Internet so as to identify and understand the consequent changes in work, communication, and temporal practices, and to examine the results of those changes for both the organization design and capabilities, as well as its performance over time. Because of the nature of this research, the researchers working on this sub-project are particularly interested in sites that are in the greater Boston area but are also looking at sites in other locales.

Sub-project Investigators

Wanda Orlikowski
JoAnne Yates


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