Virtual Organizations as Sociotechnical Systems: Exploring How Organization Scientists and Virtual Organization Leaders Can Collaborate
23 Pages Posted: 21 Jan 2013 Last revised: 22 Jan 2013
Date Written: January 20, 2013
This report describes the results of a workshop held in Cleveland, Ohio in May of 2012 that brought organization scientists together with Virtual Organization (VO) leaders to address the challenges facing managers of VOs, identify key insights from research on VOs, and determine whether it is possible to build a sustainable community among organization scientists and VO leaders. Both organization scientists and VO leaders were enthusiastic about collaborating, but there were challenges.
One challenge is the difficulty of achieving collaboration when VO leaders want simple, clear, and validated answers to their problems; while the complex and highly contextual findings from organization science could fill volumes. Another involves misalignment of goals - VO leaders wanting actionable insights into the issues important to their organizations, and organization scientists wanting to understand how organizations work in specific situations and in general.
Five possible relationships between organization scientists and VO leaders were identified:
- Engineering (organization scientists provide formulaic "cookbook");
- Research (VO leaders provide research setting in which organization scientists work);
- Education (organization scientists teach a custom curriculum for VO leaders);
- Consultative (organization scientists study specific issues for VO leaders); and
- Collaborative Research (joint research that addresses VO leader needs and that is academically publishable).
Going forward there are four themes that require attention:
- evidence-based management: (translate general findings to local contexts);
- benchmarking and best practice (documenting what works in different contexts);
- embedded researchers (finding the appropriate organization scientists to study issues of concern to VO leaders); and
- executive education (developing a specialized curriculum for VO leaders).
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