Virtual Enterprises are an emerging model for the organization of innovative enterprises. They are characterized by brief relationships and geographical dispersion of members. E-collaboration tools play a critical role in the integration of such organizational systems. In particular these tools support both cooperation and coordination. Cooperation has been defined as the problem of aligning goals among the members of an organization. Coordination, instead, includes those processes through which actors which share a common goal align their actions. Traditional organizations typically face these problems through slow and complex processes based on face to face interactions. Virtual enterprises, instead, have to develop techniques to rapidly integrate members which interact mainly through electronic channels. This paper discusses how e-collaboration tools can support cooperation and coordination in a virtual enterprise. The evolution of their role during a virtual enterprise life is described. Special attention is paid to the interaction between technological and organizational factors.
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