Virtual Organisation to Virtual Product: Cultural and Structual Challenges Online
Faculty of Business and Public Management
School of Business
This paper looks at the online newspaper industry and the organisational changes that have been necessitated by economic downturn and structural evolution. It explains how online newspapers were created as virtual organisations (VO) by publishers to protect profitable franchises and in the early stages of the technology boom were replicas of their traditional newspaper counterparts. It describes two VO structures that have applied during the online newspaper life cycle and de-structuring that has taken place as a result of economic pressures. This has resulted in convergence of publishing cultures with online and traditional disciplines working in a multi-skilling environment on two different products with similar content delivered through physical and electronic means. A model of the new working entity is provided. The paper concludes by raising cultural organisational issues relevant to a clash of journalistic disciplines.