Document Detail

The dawn of the e-lance economy.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  10185429     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Will the large industrial corporation dominate the twenty-first century as it did the twentieth? Maybe not. Drawing on their research at MIT's Initiative on Inventing the Organizations of the 21st Century, Thomas Malone and Robert Laubacher postulate a world in which business is not controlled through a stable chain of management in a large, permanent company. Rather, it is carried out autonomously by independent contractors connected through personal computers and electronic networks. These electronically connected free-lancers-e-lancers-would join together into fluid and temporary networks to produce and sell goods and services. When the job is done--after a day, a month, a year--the network would dissolve and its members would again become independent agents. Far from being a wild hypothesis, the e-lance economy is, in many ways, already upon us. We see it in the rise of outsourcing and telecommuting, in the increasing importance within corporations of ad-hoc project teams, and in the evolution of the Internet. Most of the necessary building blocks of this type of business organization--efficient networks, data interchange standards, groupware, electronic currency, venture capital micromarkets--are either in place or under development. What is lagging behind is our imagination. But, the authors contend, it is important to consider sooner rather than later the profound implications of how such an e-lance economy might work. They examine the opportunities, and the problems, that may arise and anticipate how the role of managers may change fundamentally--or possibly even disappear altogether.
T W Malone; R J Laubacher
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Harvard business review     Volume:  76     ISSN:  0017-8012     ISO Abbreviation:  Harv Bus Rev     Publication Date:    1998 Sep-Oct
Date Detail:
Created Date:  1998-11-18     Completed Date:  1998-11-18     Revised Date:  2000-12-18    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  9875796     Medline TA:  Harv Bus Rev     Country:  UNITED STATES    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  144-52, 189     Citation Subset:  H    
Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Sloan School of Management, Cambridge, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Contract Services
Cooperative Behavior*
Decision Making, Organizational*
Economic Competition
Efficiency, Organizational
Group Processes
Internet / trends*
Organizational Culture
Organizational Innovation*
Programming Languages
United States

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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