Virtual Working and Teams
Virtualization is a concept that is widely used today by most organizations trying to cope up with the challenges of globalization and increased competition. Virtual organizations heavily rely on technology as an important factor for effective communication. Virtual organizations also operate through virtual teams that are usually dispersed across the operational environments composed of many people from across different locations; all working towards the fulfillment of the same organizational objective.
Knowledge management is the effective handling of information that virtual teams need for the fulfillment of their purpose. It is especially useful for virtual organizations because it’s through the sharing of information that virtual teams can be able to function effectively. Knowledge management in virtual organizations involves the use of ICT as a core tool.
Virtual Working and Teams
Virtual organizations are those that transcend their operations across borders. This concept is widely used today by most organizations trying to cope up with the challenges of globalization and increased competition. It is now a business reality that companies have to undertake to be in line with the business landscape. Virtual organizations heavily rely on technology as an important factor for effective communication.
The kind of technology needed doesn’t have to be complex; just a simple computer and probably access to internet would yield the desired results. However, other technological devices like a phone and fax would come in handy for virtual organizations. Virtual organizations also operate through virtual teams that are usually dispersed across the operational environments. Managing these teams is probably one of the biggest challenges that virtual organizations face.
Virtual team members are actually those people who use communication devices to work effectively for the virtual organization. Virtual teams come as a result of companies going global and outsourcing various services out of their organization. As a result, the virtual team is composed of many people from across different locations; could even be different countries. This wide diversity of team members across different geographical regions brings with it new challenges for virtual organizations including culture and language diversity.
The biggest problem associated with virtual teams is trust. Organizations should improve on the sharing of information across virtual teams to remove any elements of mistrust. Cultural and language diversity should be approached with tolerance from managers. This will go a long way in ensuring every team member feels comfortable and accommodated. Regular communication should be observed by virtual managers and motivation of members should be upheld to ensure targets are attained, and on time.
Knowledge management is useful for virtual organizations because since it’s through the sharing of information that virtual teams can be able to function effectively. Knowledge is literally the subject of exchange among teams, in a literal sense. Knowledge management is then the effective handling of information virtual teams need for the fulfillment of their purpose. In a non virtual environment, knowledge management was typically used for managerial decision making but for virtual organizations, it’s of more use to the virtual teams.
When companies expand their operations, the need for knowledge management becomes more significant. The data the company deals with then becomes quite huge including information regarding operation, finances, human resource, manufacturing among others; depending on the nature of operations of the company. Such huge volumes of data are very difficult to handle in a humanly way. Considering the wide geographical coverage this information needs to be shared it then bring the need for systems to handle such kind of data.
Knowledge management in virtual organizations involves the use of ICT as a core tool. Computers are used to store data and also send the same via Emails and other electronic devices such as fax. Data might also be transferred through an area network where all team members can access the information with ease. This might however require management to set up an ICT department to overlook data management. This would be an additional organizational restructuring to do. The ICT manager would be generally responsible for the activities under the ICT department answerable to the overall manager. This action would then change the management structure by adding a new portfolio to the overall management. The ICT manager would be of equal acting capacity as any other manager such as Sales manager, finance manager or production manager depending on how the organization is structured.