Over the last five decades, while business contexts were evolving from national to international to transnational and now to global, workplace environments were shifting from “control-oriented” hierarchies to interactive teams to social networking ecologies.
Such shifts in perspectives, accompanied by innovations in digital-based information and communication systems, have led to dramatic changes in business models, supply chain management, and marketplace dynamics. All of these developments are radically changing management approaches, how organizational operations are conducted, and the way that workforce processes are envisioned and facilitated.
Emerging interactive workplace dynamics are characterized by fluid collaborative approaches to knowledge generation, problem solving and decision making. Highly structured directive managerial methods are not viable in agile, constantly evolving organizations that have to quickly respond to market shifts. Nor are co-located teams in organizations that need to be distributed world-wide to take advantage of the best talent and to function in a competitive, cost efficient manner.
As explored in A Workplace Without Borders, it is now the era of the organization as world-wide distributed network where professionals are global managers who, among other things, facilitate teams that are culturally diverse, operate in a non-co-located manner, and employ a variety of communication processes and technological tools to function in a collaborative and innovative manner.
The successful contemporary business enterprise is a strategic network of organizations spread throughout many sectors of the world, and it engages its diverse global workforce talent in empowering ways.
One reason that organizational systems and work environments thrive and are innovative in such businesses is because their leadership understands and draws upon differing cultural world views, leadership perspectives, and work styles, as well as actively fosters knowledge sharing as an organizational value.
Today’s companies must consciously create cosmopolitan cultures, engaging cross-cultural leadership styles and participatory operational processes that draw upon the collective intelligence of the entire network. Further, they must design and implement as part of the organization’s operational fabric “human-centric tech-based collaboration platforms” that establish “high presence work relationships” that build trust among their workforce members.
Cutting-edge professionals create value for their organizations by being culturally sensitive, innovative managers who effectively lead and collaborate in international work environments and foster productive virtual teams by establishing dynamic communication systems and interactive knowledge generating networks through a sociotechnical use of workplace technology and social media.
This blog article begins a series of posts examining the nature, dynamics and challenges of collaboratively managing a global workforce, of being a team member in a distributed organization and of envisioning and deploying information, communication and collaboration systems that align with workplace needs and the people who are performing the tasks.
With an organizational systems perspective and sustainable principles as a foundation, future blogs will explore a number of areas, including:
- As cross-cultural managers, how can professionals establish and maintain effective globally distributed organizational cultures, management practices, and collaborative workplace systems? To achieve these organizational qualities, how can cultural sensitivity and global interdependence, diverse human resources and collaboration processes, human-centric technology and information systems, strategic knowledge management and innovative decision making, and organizational integrity and civic responsibility be utilized as inter-related organizational analytical lenses and systems design principles?
As innovative problem solving professionals, how can global managers develop their own innovative approaches to organizational operations and addressing current and future issues and challenges, as well as fostering “out-of-the-box thinking” and problem solving among their dispersed teams?
- As collaborative managers, what are the core collaborative management qualities and skills needed to lead culturally diverse global virtual teams where members:
- Build supportive work relationships, communication systems, and team processes,
- Dialogue to share knowledge and generate new approaches,
- Draw upon each member’s varied strengths to innovatively problem solve and make decisions,
- Take responsibility for team success, as well as own tasks, and
- Celebrate accomplishments as a team?
- As virtual networking facilitators, how can mangers creatively deploy organizational technology and social media to create dynamic organizational communication systems, productive social networks, employee work relationship-centric telework environments, and knowledge sharing processes in globally distributed organizations?
- As socially responsive leaders, how can professionals lead globally distributed organizations with professional integrity, conduct organizational operations in a transparent and sustainable manner, and foster the mutual benefit of all stakeholders?
- To the continued conversation about collaboratively managing in a globally distributed network organization.