Using the case of Olivetti, this chapter puts forward a model of platform: a chameleon-like organization conceived as a laboratory for rapid restructuring. The platform is far from being a new, distinct organizational structure, where one can recognize a fresh configuration of authority and communication lines. Rather, it is a virtual and collective cognitive scheme, expressed through actions of recombination that governs, and is supported by, the practices of a community: a pool of human resources, described in the Olivetti case as the old boys' network at the top management level. The platform achieves flexibility by putting together structures that have a high potential for action in response to chaotic events (shih), rather than maximizing efficiency around stable tasks and technologies.
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