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E-collaborations and virtual organization

Coordinating and collaboration between team members is crucial in managing virtual teams. Michelle W. L. Fong in her book “E-collaborations and virtual organizations” (2004) emphasized that “the creation of more collaborative relationships among individuals or organizations, and e-collaboration tools are a key element in supporting such organizational transformations, especially systems that facilitate coordination and communication, decision making and the sharing of knowledge, skills and resources. ” The communication technologies enabled by the web has helped immensely in bridging the physical distance between people across the globe.

Virtual teams across different time zones and physical boundaries can be linked effectively through the use of these technologies. There are two common kinds of communication technologies that are used in virtual setups – synchronous and asynchronous that can be used effectively to communicate, exchange, and form ideas and information on a specific issues. These tools have facilitated extensive collaboration and communication protocols and include email, chat, video conferencing, web conferencing, newsgroup, blogs, forums, virtual meeting rooms, and message boards.

The role of advancing technology in virtual setups is felt in reducing virtual spaces and bridging the gap between individuals. Knowledge management solutions are adopted by organizations to facilitate information sharing and increasing transparency between teams

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and management. Various types of tools and technologies are being used by enterprises in the application of knowledge management solutions. However, applying knowledge management is not enough – the integrated approach of human resource department and the IT department is essential in implementing a successful knowledge-sharing strategy.

Many organizations use Internet and Intranet networking channels to share information and data. “Increasing take-up of a ‘knowledge web’ so that it is first port of call can be achieved through training and incentives” (Holbeche, 2005). The intranet medium may be very effective in the process of knowledge sharing but at times it may take some time to update the latest information on the system. Many multinational corporations like Dell, IBM, and Sun Microsystems are running global enterprises that serve customers across various countries and regions.

Employees in these organizations placed across geographical boundaries are provided with Intranet to share information and keep their distant team members in constant loop. Technology does play a significant role in bridging the gap between team members in a virtual setting. However, only technology is not enough. An effective team should have a shared team objective, knowledge of what to do, equipment to do it, ability to do it, and desire to do it (Brown et al. , 2007). A team lacking in any of these areas will eventually fail.

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