2001 volume 33(4) pages 699 – 716
doi:10.1068/a33161

Cite as:
Li F, Whalley J, Williams H, 2001, "Between physical and electronic spaces: the implications for organisations in the networked economy" Environment and Planning A 33(4) 699 – 716

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Between physical and electronic spaces: the implications for organisations in the networked economy

Feng Li, Jason Whalley, Howard Williams

Received 13 September 2000; in revised form 9 January 2001

Abstract. With the rapid development of computing and telecommunications infrastructure, a new electronic space has emerged which coexists, and sometimes intertwines, with the physical space and place of our world. This has greatly increased the complexity and flexibility of the new space economy for organisations and individuals, and increasingly we have to live in 'two spaces'. Since the late 1980s researchers have successfully dismissed the misconception about the 'death of distance' in the information economy. However, the dissemination of this progress has been slow and fragmented. Utopian views about the 'end of geography' remain very influential in current business thinking and in research on information systems and organisational innovations. Numerous failed business applications of information systems have resulted from a lack of geographical considerations. This situation has been significantly exacerbated in the last few years by the rapid developments of the Internet and new applications based on it, such as e-commerce and e-business. Researchers have a duty not only to understand the new geography of the information economy, but also to inform the public about the key features of the 'two spaces' that all organisations and individuals have to live in. In this paper, some case studies and emerging business phenomena are used to illustrate the importance of introducing a geographical dimension into research on information systems and organisational innovations. Several new themes for further research are also highlighted.

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