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Title: Information flow in virtual organisations
Authors: Alhalalat, Saleh I.
Keywords: Information flow
Information mapping
ICTs
Virtual organisation
Teleworking
Information Audit Model
Issue Date: 2005
Publisher: © Saleh Ismail Alhalalat
Abstract: The main aim of the study is to investigate the flows of information and the impact and added value of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) on the integration of information flows. This concept is related to the optimal design of organisational (and other) systems that allow the right decision to be made by the right person at the right time in an appropriate location. Clearly, information that is often distributed needs to come together in an efficient way to allow the best use of resources to maximize the information value. The virtual organisation (VO) is a new style of working that allows completion of tasks across time and location. The use of ICTs is viewed as a facilitator of these tasks and their application provides good examples to extend their use. The most common types of VOs are home offices, teleworking centres, mobile offices and `hotelling'. Teleworkers still face several problems, such as managing their work, lack of appropriate communications to complete their work efficiently, and isolation. This study applied an information-driven approach to investigate the current problems in the teleworking environment, and solutions are proposed to improve the flow of information in the VOs. The data required were collected by questionnaire survey, semi-structured interviews, and document analysis. Members of the Telework Association (TCA) in the UK were invited to take part in this survey, and 153 out of 800 respondents came from this source. From subsequent analysis of the data collected, there is indeed an issue with the use and integration of information flows in VOs. An in depth study of six individual cases revealed a lack of information sharing, poor understanding of information needs, and low rates of access to online information. Soft solutions can be achieved through understanding information needs, developing information policy, and training. Hard solutions can be achieved through using online information, using workflow software, upgrading the speed of Internet connection, using information sharing systems, and arranging more open access to information. Some indicators of future research can be mentioned, particularly in conducting the second generation of information audit in teleworking practice, to study knowledge management (KM) practices in teleworking, to develop information policies to enhance teleworking practices, to focus on the information needs of teleworkers, to evaluate the impact of software applications (such as workflow software), to implement information sharing systems, and to study the impact of training on information retrieval and use.
Description: A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.
URI: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/7757
Appears in Collections:PhD Theses (Information Science)

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