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The article I choose to research for this assignment is the “Challenges in the Management of Virtual Organizations” produced by VTT Technical Research Center of Finland Ltd. It is a non-profit organization that handles economic concerns and employment issues. The main emphasis of the articles centered around cost-effectiveness and savings that virtual organizations provide over their traditional counterparts, more specifically time and quality that are compounded globally. It further emphasizes convergence to increase flexibility, customer relationships and mitigating actions to reduce risk. Both the aforementioned are not achieved without diligence, thus, organizations must place emphasis on collective achievement in a shared vision, and information sharing between all internal stakeholders and departments.
The article stipulates that in order for a virtual organization to run efficiently, the performance attained must be dependent on collaboration (Karvonen, Jansson, Salkari, & Ollus, 2006). Further dialogue annotated the need for management to define a methodology on addressing collaborative efforts but failed in the application of addressing convergence through communication; an essential cornerstone of any organization, virtual or not. As Morgan, Paucar & Wright (2014) stipulate, communication is a fundamental aspect of any organization, but is even more imperative within virtual organizations, without communication the global market structure would not be possible; compounded in the virtual landscape. Communication is not just limited to internal stakeholders, but how they communicate with external stakeholders and clients. Convergence and team building has been noted as one of the most important factors establishing group cohesion, allowing for more effective communication between departments (Morgan, Paucar & Wright, 2014).
Internal communication is a key component of an organizations culture and ensures stakeholders understand the company’s goals and objectives and where necessary to provide direction and to ensure efficiency and working collaboration. Genuine, honest and open two-way dialogue with employees and clients should be a fundamental aspect of any communications policy. External and internal communications are a key element of achieving excellence and managing risk. Specially, relating to communication of a virtual organization, since multiple stakeholders will be engaged as the audience, its incumbent to address each stakeholders needs and concerns, and give relevant information and metrics. “To calculate risk is one thing, to communicate it is another” (Gigerenzer, 2015). Effectively, the most well layout out and formulated plan will not gain traction with the audience if it is not effectively communicated
Recognizing constraints, an organization can be more effective if personnel are informed and engaged: when personnel understand the same values, work policies and procedures in the same way, and are focused on delivering the same vision, then the organizational culture will promote much more effective use of resources and more engaged personnel (Nahavandi & Denhardt, 2014).
Hoch & Kozlowski (2014) described leadership in virtual organizations should be intended to guide personnel and their behaviors toward a fixed and shared goal. The article transposes that performance is dependent on the direct performance from collaboration, the challenge lies in management of the virtual organization is to get all stakeholders towards the vision of the organization (Karvonen, Jansson, Salkari, & Ollus, 2006). Having clear values with a top down emphasis on a Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct that’s disseminated to the lowest common denominator keeps the roadmap to the vision and mission statement clear. This is enabled by have a strong fundamental leadership base. Although management is distinguished by facilitating day to day operations concerning many tasks within the organization function, a leader cultivates relationships within the organization focusing on mentorship, establishing inter-personal relationships and effectively allowing for a more cohesive work environment that is essential for virtual organizations. (Paine, 2014)
White (2014) defines a team as the collection of individuals who are interdependent in their collective work, share the burden of responsibility for results, self-identify themselves and their peers as a social entity within a larger collective system, and foster relationships with internal stakeholders of the organization. In specific terms, a virtual team is identified multiple team members contribute all or a portion of their work from various geographical locations, time zones, or could find themselves working through cultural barriers (White, 2014).
The article addresses that there is a need for increases to knowledge sharing but doesn’t denote a framework for application; talking point should include the use of SharePoint as a data hub. Within the ‘hub’ multiple layers of information sharing can be applied between departments to where projects or ideas can be shared and stored. The previous applied a level of difficulty in how teams share information and how accessible it is to key stakeholders. A virtual organization should require a ‘share point’ or ‘shared drive’, this eliminates the need for erroneous email sharing but centralizes key information that can be accessible by anyone at any time (ZOFI). This is crucial as defined earlier, virtual teams work with geographical boundaries and time zone differential that make email sharing archaic and seemingly slow in the current virtual world.
Understand and collectiveness within the virtual organization is necessary to ensure the success of the organization. The challenges for the managers are centered around convergence of all internal stakeholders, their ability to communicate effectively, and how information is shared and retrieved. It is evident that in the article summarized shows a common theme of active management techniques and the intrinsic nature they bring to the success of a virtual organization through multiple applications along the supply chain. Management is the key bind to ensure applications of strategies are met to ensure that information is not siloed and that all members within teams are communicating effectively to reach the collective goal. Buy-in from internal stakeholders be holistic to achieve the vision, and to empower and motivate subordinate staff.
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