Virtual Collaboration Techniques the Differences Between Virtual Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Virtual Collaboration Techniques

The differences between virtual organizations and the traditional brick and mortar ones

The Antecedents for a successful virtual collaboration

The advantages of virtual collaboration

Disadvantages of virtual collaboration

Virtual collaboration is indicated by Chen, Volt and Lin (77) to involve the processes of collaboration between team members who are involved in working towards the achievement of a common goal, in a classroom or a workplace setting. Virtual collaboration, they noted also refers to the employment of digital technologies that are engaged to enable individuals and organizations in the planning, designing, development, management, research on various products and services in a collaborative fashion using innovative e-commerce and general IT applications.

The concept of virtual collaboration is extensively used in organizations that have virtual teams and especially in the arena of product development in companies that are geographically dispersed (Baxendale and Mellor 96). Another application of virtual; collaboration is in virtual learning/long distance learning (Richard 197; Lisa and Wallace 345;Joiner 197). Employees are noted to be resorting to non-traditional alternatives to work and educational settings.

Virtual collaboration techniques

Virtual teams

A virtual team is defined by Hellriegal and Slocum (229) as a group of individuals who collaborate via certain information technologies on a single or more projects but while located in different geographical locations. It is important for concise, clear as well as mutually acceptable goals to exist in a virtual team setting. The ability to carry out an effective communication is noted as the main glue that holds a given team together. The lack of clear as well as continuous communication as well as a clear mutual set of goals and guidelines is noted as one of the factors that leads to failure of virtual teams.

Qureshi and Zigurs (85) noted that successful virtualization in the corporate environment does not depend on the level of technological sophistication but rather on how the tools are used. These are some of the paradoxes of virtual collaboration.

Virtual Learning

The contemporary economic environment which is marked with a high unemployment rate has forced several workers to seek further education. The process of seeking more education has meant that many go back to school in order to earn their degrees, take technical as well as other forms of classes that wouod enable them in their career advancements. Traditionally, it has been indicated, the process of going back to school has been very difficult for non-conforming students. This is mainly attributed to issues of scheduling since the classes would end up disrupting their scheduled work or family life. There could also be issues that are related to the lack of schooling options as a result of unfavorable geographic location.

The advent of online education via distance learning services has made it possible for this category of people to return to school in order to earn their degrees or take other clas4es aimed at advancing their skills. Most companies have also been noted to resort to e-learning in order to deliver employee training to their workforce, communicate with them as well as present seminars on new products.

Virtual meetings

Web conferencing is one way of conducting virtual meetings. Data conferencing on the other hand is a form of web conferencing in which the participants are involved in the simultaneous sharing of information as well as programs that reside on the PCS through application sharing, file transfer, white boarding as well as chatting. Companies can employ PowerPoint in conducting online meetings.

The differences between virtual organizations and the traditional brick and mortar ones

The transformation of an organization from the traditional one to the virtual one involves the changing of several components (Peter and Manz 118). The traditional organizations bear structures that are hierarchical, centralized as well as formal in their design. The activities of the firm are also carried out by the firm itself (Lipnack and Stamps 16). In contrast, virtual organizations have virtual structures that are flat, highly decentralized as well as informal. The organization also joins forces so as to adapt to the latest and new processes as well as innovations in a quick fashion (O'Leary et al. 55).

It is also worthy noting that within a traditional structure, all of the information is synchronous and are also bounded by the firm. Homogeneity is also maintained among the groups as well as individuals who work under the influence of a common wall…

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