What virtual collaboration can learn from the film industry

In an excellent paper (PDF), The Virtual Organisation – Technical or Social Innovation? Lessons from the Film Industry, Lucas Introna, Hope Moore and Mike Cushman from the London School of Economics explore the parallels and the lessons we can learn in trying to form effective virtual enterprises, virtual organisations, virtual teams and virtual networks.

They suggest that:

"the film production process is characterised by flexible adaptation to changing production conditions, similar to the virtual enterprise .... and illustrates the balance of flexibility and hierarchy which is required between contracted individuals who are involved in collaborative, creative, short-term contracts."

The authors conclude that we can gain a lot of insight into how to make effective virtual collaboration by studying the film production process particularly in its use of:

  1. Roles, power and lightweight contracts

  2. Reputation, norms and moral sanctions

  3. Common Language (Filmspeak)

  4. Networks of trusted partners

These are all critical success factors for building successful virtually network teams.

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