Building Community in the Virtual Workplace
Jennifer L. Carpenter
"Work is a profoundly social activity. The design problem of cyberspace has thus become how to develop information systems that support work socially."
-- Prof. David Hakken, SUNY Institute of Technology
The Internet is more versatile than any other interactive medium available to us today. It enables us to communicate with friends or with total strangers, with individuals or with large groups, using our real names or remaining totally anonymous. The Internet is not simply a medium, like the telephone or mail system it is also a place, a virtual community where people meet, engage in discourse, become friends, fall in love, and develop all of the relationships that are developed in physical communities.
Yet, the very characteristics that make the Internet community unique physical distance and the potential for anonymity are the greatest obstacles to its success. Peter Kollock of UCLAs Center for the Study of Online Community explains, "The key challenges the Internet community will face in the near future are not simply technological, but also sociological: the challenges of social interaction and social organization. This is not to diminish the difficulties of creating new technologies, but rather to emphasize that even these tasks will pale beside the problems of facilitating and encouraging successful online interaction and online communities." 1
Nowhere are the social challenges of the Internet so pronounced as in the virtual workplace. More and more companies today rely on telecommuting to reduce overhead costs, increase productivity, and improve employee morale. 2 While technology and communications companies such as AT&T, Pacific Bell, Hewlett Packard, IBM and Cisco Systems have allowed telecommuting for years, financial services firms like Merrill Lynch and Arthur Anderson and retail companies like Levi Strauss, Pepsi Co., and Sears & Roebuck have recently instituted telecommuter-friendly policies as well. 3 Under such policies, the number of telecommuters nationwide has more than doubled this decade, from 4 million people in 1990 to well over 8 million people today. 4
Yet, despite the fact that more and more companies are allowing their employees to work from home, the popularity of telecommuting has leveled off. More than 40 percent of companies have adopted some sort of telecommuting policy in recent years, but the number of telecommuters still has never risen above 7 to 10 percent of the working population. 5 Surely, this is not due to a slowdown in technological advances that make telecommuting possible. So why has this plateau occurred?
There are several reasons. First of all, many jobs are not conducive to remote work. A large portion of the workforce is comprised of service, retail, and other positions that necessarily require physical presence. Second, many employees continue to work in an office simply because they have always worked in an office and are "path dependant." The average age of telecommuters is relatively low, suggesting that young workers with less established routines are more likely to work from outside of the office. 6
But perhaps the most important reason why the number of telecommuters has leveled off the reason that I will explore in this essay is that most employees dont think that telecommuting can deliver the same social satisfaction that working in a "real" office does. While the substantive work may be the same, employees are hesitant to give up the daily interaction with co-workers and supervisors that makes a job enjoyable. Researchers at the School of Business at Indiana University found that,
Despite technological feasibility and cost-effectiveness.... home and mobile telecommuting were neither psychologically nor socially attractive to employees.... Home telecommuters especially reported difficulties with the home-work boundaries and with social isolation. 7
By why do potential telecommuters fear isolation? If people can make friends and fall in love over the Internet, why cant telecommuters forge and maintain meaningful social relationships with their supervisors and co-workers through their companies intranets?
Companies blindly accept the notion that the Internet can never serve as a successful platform for human interaction; as a result, corporate support systems for telecommuting employees tend to focus on maximizing "real space" interaction for remote workers. 8 Some companies do this by requiring telecommuting employees to work in the office one or more days per week; 9 others ask employees to work out of satellite offices nearer to their homes; 10 and still others participate in "hotelling" arrangements where telecommuters from several companies who live in one geographic area share a part-time workspace that is available whenever they need the resources social or otherwise of a physical office space. 11 Yet, these programs all seek to minimize telecommuter isolation by putting remote workers back in the office. Is this really a solution?
Instead of declaring telecommuting a social failure, companies should focus on using Internet technology to make telecommuting a socially viable work arrangement. Social isolation is not, as some believe, a natural function of on-line work. Rather, telecommuters experience isolation because companies continue to use the Internet as a medium for one-to-one or one-to-many communication, rather than as a place where telecommuters can work, talk with friends and mentors, and feel connected to the social and cultural fabric of the company. In creating such a virtual place for their employees, companies will soon realize that the "old rules" do not apply in the on-line world.
In this paper, I will argue that the primary reason that the telecommuting movement has lost energy in recent years is that companies have not been able to successfully change their business strategies to accommodate the very different social needs of the remote worker. Specifically, companies continue to manage telecommuters in the same way that they manage employees located in their physical offices with an emphasis on "real space" interaction so that todays telecommuters merely experience a distant, detached version of traditional office relationships. This bias towards physical interaction is evident in three aspects of the employment relationship:
If telecommuting is to flourish, these social barriers must come down. Companies must develop on-line chat-rooms and "virtual water coolers" so that telecommuters can engage in the types of casual discourse that usually take place in the office lunchroom. They must establish virtual project teams so that telecommuters can engage in collaborative work instead of being relegated to the social isolation of individual work. Finally, they must train their managers to effectively supervise employees on-line, and to recognize and reward telecommuters for their contributions.
Facilitating Social Interaction: The Virtual Water Cooler
Perhaps the biggest factor detracting from the popularity of telecommuting is the idea that on-line interaction cannot effectively replace face-to-face contact. Employees and managers alike doubt that they will be able to build the same types of interpersonal connections via Internet that they do in person. This issue is particularly important today, when many people feel a diminished sense of "community belonging" in their own cities, largely because traditional social institutions like town meetings and churches no longer serve as active social environments. People now shop on-line and over the phone, call or e-mail friends instead of visiting, and work long hours away from their homes. The workplace often replaces the town or village as the only real "community" in which people regularly participate. The growing importance of alternative communities, such as workplace and on-line communities, is evidence of "the hunger for community that has followed the disintegration of traditional communities around the world." 12 Surely, as the workplace has assumed such primary social importance, telecommuting will not succeed unless it can replicate these social benefits if it is to succeed.
Despite abundant evidence of successful social interaction within on-line communities, 13 many employees still believe that the Internet cannot replicate these social benefits. The popularity of on-line communities, however, suggests that these fears are largely unwarranted. In fact, on-line communities can be extremely successful and socially satisfying to their members when they exhibit "the requisite elements for successful community," such as "identity persistence, a sophisticated set of rituals...., a record[ed] history of the community, a coherent sense of space, [and] casual interaction caused by the fact that one must walk most places." 14 Some of these elements occur naturally in telecommuting relationships, such as identity persistence (people typically use only their real names) and a recorded history of the community (communications may be recorded as part of teams project files). But the other elements dont develop naturally. They must be consciously constructed by the company if they are to exist at all. Technologically speaking, it is quite easy for companies to establish on-line rituals, meeting spaces, and vehicles for casual interaction among employees.
So why dont these successful on-line communities exist for telecommuters? Because companies fail to create them. 1997 Telecommute America Survey shows that only 29% of telecommuters contact co-workers when they feel isolated; the majority of telecommuters rely on other communities to combat social isolation they do errands or walk the dog to see their neighbors, call or visit family members, e-mail friends, or chat on-line. 15 The fact that many remote workers e-mail or chat on-line suggests that they do derive social satisfaction from on-line communities they simply dont find those on-line communities within their own companies. If telecommuters have to look outside their own company for the basic social interaction that typically accompanies any job, then it is no wonder that telecommuting is perceived as lonely and socially unappealing.
A successful telecommuting program must provide an on-line social network for telecommuters within the company. As Kollock suggests, this network should include both a defined on-line space in which telecommuters can "hang out" and a means for employees to interact casually. Yet, many doubt that such as transformation is possible. Mark Kirsner asks, "Can corporate sites plug into this desire to share information and transform their pages from static brochures to destinations? In short, can they become places where people voluntarily spend their time?" 16
The answer is yes. Companies with successful telecommuting programs have identified several concrete ways to accomplish the goal of creating an active on-line "community" for their telecommuting workers.
Company-sponsored programs like these, which create lively social venues for telecommuting workers, can turn remote work into a socially satisfying professional lifestyle. Yet, critics note that employees may be hesitant to communicate freely on a company-monitored network, and may reject the structure of a company-endorsed community. Indeed, research indicates that social interaction on the Internet is typically hindered not helped by company involvement; "communities on the Net typically form independent of any corporate sponsorship or influence." 22 Thus, since co-worker collegiality is hampered when "big brother" is watching, a companys on-line social venues should offer some way for telecommuters to communicate privately with other employees. Chatrooms and "virtual water coolers" should be left unmonitored by senior employees, and should enable participants to break off into more private, unmonitored conversations. Companies should establish clear policies stating that social interaction between employees will not be recorded or examined by senior management. On-line communities "work best when the monitoring is carried out by the community members themselves rather than by an external authority," 23 so companies should encourage self-governance among telecommuting employees. Alternatively, John Challenger suggests that social programs for telecommuters can escape the stigma of management-sponsored social events if they are developed through a separate office, that of the "director of socialization, who will be responsible for helping workers connect with each other." 24
Clearly, social interaction is an important component of all work arrangements. Companies with telecommuting programs must recognize this and use the technology of the Internet to combat the social isolation experienced by their remote workers. If all companies make a conscious effort to create a fixed "space" that provides social opportunities for telecommuters, telecommuting can be socially satisfying for employees, and more successful in general.
Collaborative Work: Creating Virtual Teams
Companies must also maximize social benefits from telecommuting by enabling telecommuters to work in teams with colleagues. Employees derive social benefits from many different types of office interaction not just from purely social conversations in the lunchroom or around the water cooler, but also from team-based work projects which enable them to communicate with co-workers throughout the lifespan of a project. Work-related social interaction offers employees the opportunity to observe a wide variety of professional styles, make contacts with people who might advance their careers, and bond with co-workers over mutual professional experiences and interests. These work-related social opportunities are important aspects of the social experience of working, and all too often, they bypass telecommuters completely.
Companies have increasingly satisfied the social and professional needs of their "real space" employees by adopting a team-centered approach to project management, in which "the team unites to complete a task, then disperses when it is finished;" this work model benefits employers and employees alike by generating high-quality work, while at the same time enabling co-workers to develop strong interpersonal bonds. 25 Yet, even as office-based workers are enjoying the social benefits of "team meetings," telecommuters are simultaneously relegated to the isolation of solitary work in a distant locale. Remote workers are typically given individual assignments to complete from home; if they need to work on team assignments, they must come into the office and meet with co-workers. 26 Even when telecommuters are assigned to office-based teams, the work is often highly individualized. A telecommuter will be given small, discreet assignment to complete alone and bring back to the team; when the task is completed sometimes before it is even done the employee is moved to a new team and given another solitary assignment. 27 This system of "farming out" individual assignments to telecommuters is inconsistent with the current real space trend of organizing employees into project teams, but it is not new. David Hakken likens this system of individual, home-based work to the "piece work" that dominated most fields of manufacture before the advent of mass production. He calls it a "neo-feudal labor process." 28 It is a system which puts telecommuters into physically distant "real spaces" without providing them with an alternative, virtual social space. Yet, there is no reason why todays home-based work should include only solitary, individual assignments. The technology of the Internet makes it possible for telecommuters to engage in interactive, team-based work from virtually any location. Until companies finally alter their work assignment processes so as to avail telecommuters of the social benefits of team-based work, telecommuting cannot be considered a true success.
The establishment of virtual project teams may be one of the easiest ways to build an on-line community within a company, because it promotes ongoing interaction among telecommuters. As discussed earlier, on-line communities are most successful when their members meet regularly in a "virtual space," recognize one anothers identities and personalities, and have some record of how other members have behaved in the past. These elements make members of the community "accountable for their actions," because they know one another personally, and can react accordingly. 29 It seems that there is no better way for telecommuters to experience such ongoing relationships than in virtual project teams, where they work regularly with other telecommuting employees towards a common professional goal.
Researchers at Harvard Business School, led by Professor Dorothy Leonard, conducted a very helpful case study about the benefits and drawbacks of organizing telecommuters into on-line project teams. They studied "virtual teams" at American Management Systems, an international consulting firm with seven thousand employees around the world. While most employees are based in one of the companys 47 offices, many work from remote locations, either at home or from a client headquarters. Indeed, the researchers found that the most successful virtual teams placed a heavy emphasis on interpersonal relationships and group psychology. At AMS, "virtual teams" were able to build lasting, socially satisfying relationships among telecommuting employees. But these relationships did not evolve naturally, as they do on "real space" teams. 30 On-line managers took an active role in directing the social development of their project teams, organizing scheduled social events and beginning each new project with a "kick-off party" so that team members could get acquainted. Professor Leonard explains:
"Communication technologies can aid in maintaining a team dynamic, but significant thought should be given to how those technologies are managed. There is a temptation to think that technologies such as fax, e-mail, and voice mail can substitute for high-touch management. As this case suggests, successful managers cannot rely on technology alone, but must use it to pay enormous attention to the individual needs of team members." 31
Leonard also found that "virtual teams" of telecommuters were as beneficial for companies as they are for the telecommuters themselves. Today, the increasingly global market for business and for professional talent is forcing many companies to "coordinate development activities across geographic boundaries." As companies do more and more business with foreign companies and foreign employees, virtual teams are becoming a corporate necessity. 32 Furthermore, because the on-line project teams had access to a wide range of technologies, they were often more efficient in their communications and decision-making than "real space" teams. Depending on the complexity of the task, virtual teams opted for different technologies. For simple information exchanges, they used "lean" technologies like e-mail. For brainstorming or conflict resolution, they would choose a "richer" technology like videoconferencing. Because team members were constantly aware of the resources they were devoting to each task, they developed a refined sense of how to communicate and conduct business efficiently as a team. 33 And the blend of "rich" and "lean" technologies together create a string sense of space in which telecommuters can conduct such communications.
Surely, work-related interaction with colleagues constitutes an important part of the social experience of being employed. By sharing a common sense of purpose, members of a "virtual team" can simultaneously forge interpersonal relationships with co-workers and develop a sense of the companys core values. While telecommuters like all employees may continue to do a significant portion of "individual" work, active participation on a project team will enable them to see where their own contributions "fit.... with[in] the drive and direction of the company," 34 and to enjoy more of the social benefits usually associated with office-based work.
Managing the Virtual Workforce
Inflexibility on the part of managers is one of the greatest institutional barriers to the success of telecommuting in most companies. Supervisors oppose telecommuting initiatives because they fear that they will lose control of their telecommuting employees and lose the ability to monitor company time and resources. "Telecommuting is a power and control issue, not a money issue. Management still perceives it as a risk a risk theyre scared to take." 35 At the same time, employees are afraid to make the jump to telecommuting because they fear that physically absence from the office will negatively impact their relationships with supervisors and, in turn, their prospects for promotion. Sociologists observe that "the workplace is still designed to value and reward commitment to the office and being there to prove your worth. The authoritarian, surveillance-type concept of management really hasnt changed that much." 36
Companies are rigidly institutional, and arent very receptive to change. Yet, telecommuting will not succeed until employers begin to recognize the differences between on-line and "real space" interaction and change their management strategies to accommodate these differences. When employer-employee relationships move on-line, there is often a shift in the power structure. Formerly hierarchical (or "vertical") relationships become much more "horizontal." 37 The use of e-mail encourages more direct communications between junior and senior employees, making once-formal associations more congenial. The Internet breaks down institutional barriers, enabling employees to send messages to their managers without making an appointment or going through a secretary. As a result, employees acquire nearly as much communicative power in the "virtual workplace" as their own managers. The medium naturally fosters individualism. 38
For many managers, the shift from a hierarchical to a "horizontal" management structure signals a potential problem: managers worry that horizontal relationships will make it more difficult to build consensus and make employees follow orders. Indeed, "unique features of cyberspace make effective conflict management both more important and more difficult." 39 Because virtual community members often come from diverse geographic, personal, and professional backgrounds, they bring to the table a wide variety of goals and cultural norms; as a result, managers fear that building consensus will be challenging.
Yet, sociologists studying on-line communities have found that just the opposite is true. Virtual communities are far more successful when all members are equally involved in decision-making and self-monitoring. On-line communities are typically unreceptive to authority figures who try to manage "from the top down;" by contrast, virtual communities tend to be highly cooperative when members create and enforce their own rules. 40 The reason for hostility towards on-line authority figures often stems from the fact that the virtual communities are self-evolving; members put a great deal of work and initiative into developing the community, and they (understandably) wish to be full participants in the world they helped to create. Ultimately, then, a "communitys ability to adapt and thrive as an open, goal-directed system depends on member awareness of the program, human resource availability and administration willingness to share power." 41
Certainly, not all managers will find it easy to transition into this new, more "horizontal" employer-employee relationship. For this reason, it is essential that companies realize the limitations of their own senior personnel. "The biggest reason people havent left the office is because they have employers who arent willing to trust them to work from home." 42 Unless companies carefully select open-minded, telework-friendly managers to supervise telecommuting employees, remote work programs are destined to fail.
Once a company has chosen the right managers to administer a telecommuting program, there are several things that they can to successfully supervise the companys on-line employees and/or virtual teams:
While this list is certainly not exhaustive, it should serve as a good starting point for companies to begin teaching their managers to effectively supervise employees on-line.
As commerce, entertainment, and information resources all shift onto the Internet, peoples lives also move on-line and people, in turn, spend less time interacting within their physical communities. Perhaps to fill the void left by this withdrawal, "something akin to community seems to be re-emerging in the workplace." 48 The social interactions that take place in the workplace are more important today than ever before. Thus, if we ever hope to shift a significant portion of our workforce into on-line work, we must respect the importance of social workplace relationships. The best way for companies to do this is by recognizing that Internet technology is not merely a communication device; it is also a very real space, replete with possibilities for social interation.
Critics of telecommuting believe that Internet communication will never truly replace face-to-face contact, and to some degree, theyre right. The touch of a keyboard will never take the place of a strong handshake, a hug, or body language. But many of the social benefits of face-to-face interaction can easily be replicated in cyberspace if employers simply learn to utilize Internet technology to their advantage. Companies must adapt their business strategies to create opportunities for casual social interaction among employees, to establish interactive work opportunities for employees (including "virtual teams"), and to develop better on-line supervision and mentoring relationships. Critics of telecommuting should also recognize that on-line employment has the potential to eradicate some very significant drawbacks of face-to-face contact in the workplace. The remote worker is judged and promoted based on his or her work product, not on physical attributes. If more business interactions were conducted on-line, age and race discrimination would be less pervasive. Disabled employees would have easier access to the "virtual workplace" than the physical office. Virtual workers would accommodate the 24-hour nature of the global economy better, and would not waste time and resources commuting to and from the office every day. Not only can telecommuting replicate the most important social benefits of office work, it can also eliminate some of the significant shortcomings of face-to-face interaction.
Telecommuting has long been praised for its non-social advantages, like increased worker productivity and improved work/life balance. By altering business strategies and communication methods to maximize the social benefits of the Internet's "virtual space," companies and employees alike can benefit from telecommuting.
1. Peter Kollock, Address, Design Principles for Online Communities. Harvard Conference on the Internet and Society. (1996). (Visited November 16, 1998), <http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/soc/faculty/kollock/papers/design.htm>.
2. Michael D. DeVito, Blueprint for Office 2000: the Adventure Continues. Managing Office Technology. (December, 1996) p. 16.
3. Anne Tergesen, Making Stay-at-Homes Feel Welcome. Business Week. (October 12, 1998), p. 155.
4. Offices Dont Always Aid Telecommuters, Orlando Sentinel. (May 20, 1998) p. E4.
5. Jon Turner, Will Telecommuting get off the Ground? The Cincinnati Enquirer. (July 19, 1998), p. B05.
6. Smart Valley, Inc., 1997 Telecommuting Survey. Telecommute America, California Style. (October-November, 1997). (Visited November 18, 1998) <http://svi.org/telework/survey.html>.
7. Nava Pliskin, Explaining the Paradox of Telecommuting. Business Horizons. (March 13, 1998), p. 73.
8. John A. Challenger, There is No Future for the Workplace. The Futurist. (October, 1998) p. 16.
9. Carla Lazzareschi, Telecommuters Still Feel Pull of Office. Los Angeles Times. (September 13, 1997), p. D1. See also, Anne Tergesen, Making Stay-at-Homes Feel Welcome. Business Week. (October 12, 1998), p. 155.
10. Susan J. Wells, For Stay-at-Home Workers, Speed Bumps on the Telecommute. New York Times. (August 17, 1997), sec. 3, p. 1.
11. Gil Gordon, Survey Measures Virtual Office Effects on Work, Home Life. Telecommuting Review: the Gordon Report. (April, 1995), p. 12.
12. Jan Fernback and Brad Thompson, Virtual Communities: Abort, Retry, Failure? Annual Convention of the International Communication Association, Albequerque, NM. (May, 1995). (Visited November 18, 1998) <http://www.well.com/user/hlr/text/Vccivil.html>.
13. Researchers note that the same rituals and rites of passage that mark physical communities can be found on-line as well. Death, illness, sex, therapy and other intensely personal issues are addressed in on-line communities. Caroline Ferguson argues, We are social creatures and we long for contact; I dont think that it matters that contact is via phone, Net, or face-to-face if it promotes and reinforces understanding, action, and human connections. See Jan Fernback and Brad Thompson, Virtual Communities: Abort, Retry, Failure? Annual Convention of the International Communication Association, Albequerque, NM. (May, 1995). (Visited November 18, 1998) <http://www.well.com/user/hlr/text/Vccivil.html>.
14. Peter Kollock, Address, Design Principles for Online Communities. Harvard Conference on the Internet and Society. (1996). (Visited November 16, 1998), <http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/soc/faculty/kollock/papers/design.htm>.
15. Smart Valley, Inc., 1997 Telecommuting Survey. Telecommute America, California Style. (October-November, 1997). (Visited November 18, 1998) <http://svi.org/telework/survey.html>.
16. Mark Kirsner, Community Theater. CIO Magazine. (December 1, 1997). (Visited November 16, 1998) <http://cio.com/archive/webbusiness/120197_main.html>.
17. Anne Tergesen, Making Stay-at-Homes Feel Welcome. Business Week. (October 12, 1998), p. 155.
18. Alan Fowler, How to Benefit from Teleworking. People Management. (March 7, 1996), p. 34.
19. Anne Tergesen, Making Stay-at-Homes Feel Welcome. Business Week. (October 12, 1998), p. 155.
20. Telephone interview with Grant Summers, Human Resources Manager at Cisco. (November 30, 1998).
21. Anne Tergesen, Making Stay-at-Homes Feel Welcome. Business Week. (October 12, 1998), p. 155.
22. Mark Kirsner, Community Theater. CIO Magazine. (December 1, 1997). (Visited November 16, 1998) <http://cio.com/archive/webbusiness/120197_main.html>.
23. Peter Kollock, Address, Design Principles for Online Communities. Harvard Conference on the Internet and Society. (1996). (Visited November 16, 1998) <http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/soc/faculty/kollock/papers/design.html>.
24. John A. Challenger, There is No Future for the Workplace. The Futurist. (October, 1998) p. 16.
25. Michael D. DeVito, Blueprint for Office 2000: the Adventure Continues. Managing Office Technology. (December, 1996), p. 16.
26. The 1997 Telecommute America Survey indicated that, while telecommuters completed most work tasks in the office, the three primary tasks that they completed at their telecommuting locations were writing, analysis and word processing, three distinctly individual tasks. See Smart Valley, Inc., 1997 Telecommuting Survey. Telecommute America, California Style. (October-November, 1997). (Visited November 18, 1998) <http://svi.org/telework/survey.html>.
27. Michael D. DeVito, Blueprint for the Office 2000: the Adventure Continues. Managing Office Technology. (December, 1996), p. 16.
28. David Hakken, Does Virtual Work Mean Virtual(ly No) Community? Panel: Cyberspace Economics: New Opportunities and Challenges. (Visited November 23, 1998) <http://www.scn.org/ip/cpsr/diac/cyberecon.htm>.
29. Peter Kollock, Address, Design Principles for Online Communities. Harvard Conference on the Internet and Society. (1996). (Visited November 16, 1998) <http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/soc/faculty/kollock/papers/design.html>.
30. Dorothy Leonard et. al., Virtual Teams: Using Communications Technology to Manage Geographically Dispersed Development Groups, in Sense & Respond: Capturing Value in the Network Era, Stephen P. Bradley and Richard L. Nolan, eds. (Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 1998), p. 293.
31. Id., p. 296.
32. Id., p. 285.
33. Id., p. 292.
34. Michael D. DeVito, Blueprint for the Office 2000: the Adventure Continues. Managing Office Technology. (December, 1996), p. 16.
35. Susan J. Wells, For Stay-at-Home Workers, Speed Bumps on the Telecommute. New York Times. (August 17, 1997), sec. 3, p. 1.
36. Id., p. 1.
37. Bruce Murray, How Can New Interactive Communication Technology Enhance Harmonious and Functional Communities at all Scales Worldwide? Report for the Exploratory Aspen Workshop. (February, 1995). (Visited November 16, 1998) <http://www.cco.caltech.edu/~rich/aspen.html>.
38. Jan Fernback and Brad Thompson, Virtual Communities: Abort, Retry, Failure? Annual Convention of the International Communication Association, Albequerque, NM. (May, 1995). (Visited November 18, 1998) <http://www.well.com/user/hlr/text/Vccivil.html>.
39. Anna Du Val Smith, Problems of Conflict Management in Virtual Communities. (September, 1995). (Visited November 16, 1998) <http://netscan.sscnet.ucla.edu/csoc/cinc/>.
40. Peter Kollock, Address, Design Principles for Online Communities. Harvard Conference on the Internet and Society. (1996). (Visited November 16, 1998) <http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/soc/faculty/kollock/papers/design.html>.
42. Shelley Donald Coolidge, Tele-Work Still a Slow Commute. The Christian Science Monitor. (October 14, 1997), p. 1.
43. Anne Tergesen, Making Stay-at-Homes Feel Welcome. Business Week. (October 12, 1998), p. 155.
44. Dorothy Leonard et. al., Virtual Teams: Using Communications Technology to Manage Geographically Dispersed Development Groups, in Sense & Respond: Capturing Value in the Network Era, Stephen P. Bradley and Richard L. Nolan, eds. (Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 1998), p. 294.
45. Carla Lazzareschi, Telecommuters Still Feel the Pull of the Office. Los Angeles Times. (September 13, 1997), p. D1.
46. Leonard et. al., pp. 291, 294-5.
47. Michael D. DeVito, Blueprint for Office 2000: the Adventure Continues. Managing Office Technology. (December, 1996), p. 16.
48. Jan Fernback and Brad Thompson, Virtual Communities: Abort, Retry, Failure? Annual Convention of the International Communication Association, Albequerque, NM. (May, 1995). (Visited November 18, 1998) <http://www.well.com/user/hlr/text/Vccivil.html>.