New ways to manage change and to compete in a rapidly changing business world are emerging under the concept of the agile enterprise. Agile organizations can be almost any size or type, but what distinguishes them from their lumbering traditional business counterparts is the ability to read and to react quickly. They can also be virtual, meaning they can reconfigure themselves quickly and temporarily in response to a challenge, which gives them agility, but then dissolve or transmute themselves into something else. Goranson explains how they do this and how your own organization can do it too. With fascinating case studies and a unique metric, Goranson provides answers. The result is essential reading for management at almost any level within every type of organization. Now that serious management tools are beginning to appear, the agile virtual enterprise is longer just a theoretical possibility-it's real. In fact, although they were never actually described that way, virtual organizations can be found throughout history, from the whaling companies of the 19th century through the film studios of the 20th. Goranson describes many of these businesses and gives us an understanding of how they evolved and why they worked. Of special interest is his metric. It requires technical background to be understood and applied, yet it digs deeply into the philosophy of strategic management as well as its practicalities. Goranson also reports for the first time on the large scale research sponsored by the U.S. military to advance the state of the art in management science and to create the tools that eventually made the agile virtual enterprise what it is today.
H. T. GORANSON is senior scientist for Sirius-Beta, a research firm in Virginia Beach, Virginia./e He has been engaged in cognitive models and representation for collaboration, and has served as principle investigator-technical monitor for major projects sponsored by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.