Virtual Enterprises

Somewhere between conceptions of the firm as proprietary, hierarchical production mechanism and the firm as distributed, commons- and peer-based institution lies an emerging class of virtual firms that mix and match sensibilities: some peer-based, some hierarchical; some commons-based, some proprietary.  My hunch is that these sorts of organisms are going to be the most interesting “class” of firms to watch over the next few years, as technology and related systems allow enterprises to fulfill the promise of a de-materialized market.  Coase taught us to look for transactions and information costs.  What happens when those decline to nearly zero?  What else should we look for? Continue reading